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MAC Basketball Review: The Road Less Travailed

Other scintillating games in MAC basketball today that were not BG-OHIO:

BUFFALO 66, KENT STATE 65 — Call it an upset if you must on a neutral court, but UB at home seemed proper to win this one. Coupled with the OHIO loss, the top two teams have already fallen in MAC play, so this is suddenly wide open.

Twas close for the duration of the game, but KSU was unable to get any points in the last four minutes, save for a Michael Porrini 3-pointer in the final seconds when it was still too late for a comeback.

Huge game for Javon McCrea: 25 points on 16 shots, including several baskets down the stretch to seal the win. Mitchell Watt added 10 points, eight rebounds and four blocks. Titus Robinson had an EXTREMELY efficient 14 points on six shots. Zach Filzen hardly had to do a damn thing for this — he only had three shots, four points and three assists.

Reigning MAC POY Justin Greene led the Golden Flashes with 16 points but fouled out right around the time they started sputtering on offense. Mark Henniger is no Greene — and he fouled out too. Porrini scored 13 points but KSU was outrebounded 36-25 and was a meager 8-for-14 at the free throw line.

Other than Filzen there's a lack of offensive production from the UB guards but they did seem to shut down Kent State when they needed a stop. Since they have yet to demand points from them I guess this is fine for now.

AKRON 65, MIAMI 60 — Here's your lone road victory of the day*, and why not let it be UA? They picked a correct time in the season to be forceful, and despite a narrow four-point Miami lead at halftime they were able to match MU's shots all game. Oddly enough Nikola Cvetinovic experienced cooldown game on the heels of being named MAC East Player of the Week, finishing with just six points in 25 minutes of play. But Quincy Diggs picked up the slack. Diggs had 16 points to lead the Zips and Brian Walsh added 13. Jeez, even Zeke Marshall only had two points (to go with three blocks).

MIami's Julian Mavunga again stole the show statistically with a 23-point, 14-rebound game. Freshman Brian Sullivan continued his torrid production as of recent with 14 more points. But it was Akron's smart offense which only turned it over six times that made it very difficult for the RedHawks to get any sort of run going, even when they were hot.

* - Asterisk and you'll see why.

BALL STATE 78, WESTERN MICHIGAN 69 — The Cardinals jumped out to a seven-point lead at halftime and from there it only got worse. 20 points from Jarrod Jones and eight rebounds was exactly what they needed. Randy Davis also had a bit of a shooting spurt, going for 16 points and five assists. Each of them went 6-for-6 from the line and this team seemed to echo what Phil was hoping to see from them: a bit of eliteness. The score wasn't a blowout but they never seemed in danger of losing that lead.

WMU is a little battered right now. Demetrius Ward didn't have a great shooting night but kept chuckin' it up until he got 16 points, along with six boards and seven assists. Matt Stainbrook punched in with 14 points of his own but guys like Flenard Whitfield were rather invisible, logging only 12 minutes for six points.

Those Broncos are now 1-9 away from home.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN 85, TOLEDO 69 — Is CMU finally hitting their stride? Or are the Rockets starting to regress back to a W-L record that we expected of them? Perhaps a bit of both, especially regarding CMU's offense/Toledo's defense. The Chips had a dynamite 63.0 eFG% on the day, connecting on 3-pointers at an 8-for-17 rate, half of the makes via Austin McBroom, who finished with 16 points. Trey Zeigler added 19 points and Derek Jackson netted 14. But more than the top scorers, their entire eight-man rotation tonight played solid top to bottom.

As for Toledo, Rian Pearson had a nice night on their offensive side to the tune of 20 points and five assists. He also had eight rebounds. Curtis Dennis, a real X-factor for UT down the stretch, finished with 19 points.

EASTERN MICHIGAN 47, NORTHERN ILLINOIS 40 — So remember when I asterisked Akron as the lone road win? Because this game happened in DeKalb, and EMU scored more points than NIU, but not many more, and not many total, but especially this was against Northern Illinois.

This game comes eight days after EMU lost a game 42-37, so if you're scoring at home, that's 84 points for, 82 points against in their last two games. Darrell Lampley almost singlehandedly got this win thanks to 16 points and 9-of-10 from the free throw line, accounting for more makes than NIU had attempts (5-for-7). Tim Toler had 11 points for NIU in the loss.

Next games (all times 7 p.m.):

Tuesday, January 10
Ball State (1-0) at Toledo (0-1)

Wednesday, January 11
Akron (1-0) at BGSU (1-0)
Buffalo (1-0) at Ohio (0-1)
CMU (1-0) at EMU (1-0)
Miami (0-1) at Kent State (0-1)
NIU (0-1) at WMU (0-1)

Northern Illinois at Western Michigan 7:00