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MAC Basketball: OHIO Vaults Into Second Place, Eastern Michigan Continues To Defy Reason

Notes from a night of some statement games in the MAC:

Final - 2.22.2012 1 2 Total
Ohio Bobcats (22-6, 9-4) 37 51 88
Buffalo Bulls (16-9, 9-4) 32 45 77

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And just like that, the Bobcats drove themselves right back into double-bye discussion. OHIO took the season series against the Bulls, and it didn't even feel very close on the rematch. The No. 2 seed now belongs to the Bobcats until they declare they don't want it anymore. Crucial battles on offensive rebounding and turnover margins, but at least Javon McCrea didn't get in foul trouble!

Walter Offutt went ballistic on threes, hitting 5-of-7 and leading the game with 23 points and seven rebounds. DJ Cooper added 20 points, eight assists and four steals. Nick Kellogg didn't have a great night on threes but still scraped together 15 points.

For the Bulls, Mitchell Watt rose with 19 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. McCrea ground for 15 points and three blocks, and Titus Robinson had 14. They are not out of the woods yet, nor are they lost amongst the mighty sequoias. A first-round bye still seems likely.

Final - 2.22.2012 1 2 Total
Northern Illinois Huskies (3-23, 2-11) 22 23 45
Eastern Michigan Eagles (12-16, 7-6) 22 26 48

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I don't even know what to say anymore, but I'll keep typing hoping I collide into the correct words. The first half went as predicted: ugly, sluggish and tight. And then the worst team in the MAC opens the second half with a 17-4 run. EMU doesn't know how to normally go on scoring runs, but seven minutes later it was a tie game. And then the Huskies reverted to freshmen methods, turning it over on key possessions down the stretch. Darrell Lampley netted 21 points overall, 13 in the second half, and shot 9-for-11 on free throws. This team is in first place. THIS TEAM IS IN FIRST PLACE. What a division.

NIU had 10 points each from Abdel Nader and Tony Nixon, and while the Huskies combined to outrebound EMU 36-23, that's about all I can say.

Final - 2.22.2012 1 2 Total
Bowling Green Falcons (14-13, 7-6) 36 32 68
Akron Zips (20-8, 12-1) 43 36 79

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The top team shakes off the jibblies from a loss at Oral Roberts and continues their systematic march toward a wonderful MAC regular season title. BGSU hung around for a while but other than limiting their turnovers to a meager seven, UA had this one all the way. A large day for Zeke Marshall wound up as 16 points and seven rebounds. Four others hit the 10-point mark, once again demonstrating their balance and depth, certainly more so than their team last year.

BG's A'uston Calhoun had a good statistical night with 18 points and seven rebounds, while Dee Brown hit the 1,000-point mark for his career after an 11-point night.

Final - 2.22.2012 1 2 Total
Central Michigan Chippewas (8-19, 3-10) 36 31 67
Toledo Rockets (14-14, 5-8) 37 35 72

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Mind if I say something outrageous? The Rockets are playing better than anybody in the MAC West team. Right now, this very minute, I'm convinced they're actually the best team in the division. There's not a lot of competition to prove otherwise and while their depth remains a question mark, they do have a triplet of scorers and Juice Brown, the best freshman out there, proved that rather strongly: 29 points on 11 shots. Curtis Dennis knocked down some treys to finish with 18 and Rian Pearson poured in 11 more.

Even Trey Zeigler's wonderful night be damned, CMU had no answer for Brown. Zeigler added 33 points, not only a career high but his second 30-point night of his career (the other one was last year also against Toledo). For good measure Zeigler added nine rebounds and three steals. Derek Jackson scored 12 points and the Chips forced 17 turnovers, but UT won the game at the free throw line, getting there often and making three-quarters of them. The sadness in Mount Pleasant mounts.

Final - 2.22.2012 1 2 Total
Ball St. Cardinals (13-13, 4-9) 35 26 61
Western Michigan Broncos (12-16, 6-7) 35 43 78

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Your typical "we didn't do nothin' but shoot well" night for the Broncos resulted in a blowout. Their 69.1 eFG% was augmented by a 13-for-21 night at threes. Demetrius Ward was right at the center of the perimeter sniping with a 6-for-9 night, adding up to 20 points. Nate Hutcheson and Flenard Whitfield each went efficient for 15 apiece.

Nothing really sparkling on the BSU box score: Chris Bond led with 14 points but Jarrod Jones had a miserable 6-point, 2-for-9 shooting night, even though he did nab nine rebounds. They can't all be Southern Illinois.