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MAC Basketball Review: The East Flexes, Yet Again

MAC divisional play began with a small free sample with two games:

AKRON 70, BALL STATE 58 — We haven't done a power rankings lately but I have to say UA is at the top right now. It's easy to say that because they're 5-1 and standing alone atop the MAC standings. But a 12-point win at Ball State? That's even more impressive. And yet it's only their third most impressive road victory: Mississippi State and Marshall were both road victories by double digits.

Both teams matched each other jab-for-jab ... until I fired up the ol' ESPN3 machine and suddenly Akron landed a gut punch, hitting a three and then starting an incredible breakaway layup off an Alex Abreu steal/pass. And then it was over.

And the efficiency! Quincy Diggs had 16 points on seven shots, as did Brian Walsh, and the aforementioned Abreu had 12 points and seven assists. And this is why they're so strong: so many points from people not named Zeke or Nikola.

Jarrod Jones did all he could for Ball State, leading the way with 25 points and nine rebounds. Despite the loss Jones again had the performance of the night. But unfortunately UA shot 9-for-18 from three and that was just too much. BSU tumbles to 4-2. But they're still on pace to win the MAC West because...

BUFFALO 65, EASTERN MICHIGAN 47 — And this is what happens when an also-ran masquerading as a 4-1 team steps out of the MAC West. EMU played their typical close first-half game, "exploding" for 23 points and only down by one to the Bulls, who you knew would eventually pour it on. And then a 41-24 half happened. Fin.

Javon McCrea scored 17 and Mitchell Watt finished with 14 points (alone with nine rebounds and two blocks). Both had 10 points in the second half. And Zach Filzen returned to shooting treys, going 5-for-10 from behind the arc to finish with 16 points. EMU shot a cold 36.2 eFG% on the game and again failed to reach 50 points. Can't win 'em all with 41, I suppose. But DaShonte Riley had an interesting line: four points, eight rebounds, seven blocks.

So EMU slides back to 4-2 while UB improves to that mark.

Wednesday's games (all at 7 p.m.)

CMU (2-3) at BGSU (2-3)
NIU (1-4) at Kent State (2-3)
Toledo (1-4) at Miami (1-4)
WMU (3-2) at OHIO (3-2)