It was an exciting day of basketball for #MACtion. I could blabber here about the big picture, but instead I will get to the individual games.
Ball State 79 Coppin State 77.
Ball State and Coppin State met at the MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vegas for a slugfest in the Main Event “Middleweight” division Monday night and came away with a majority win.
The win didn’t come without a bit of drama, however.
After Sean Sellers hit a three for BSU 38 seconds in for the first points of the game and the game was tied at 5 with just over five minutes played, Ball State would take a 40-29 lead into the half.
CSU slowly fought their way back into the game, and was gifted a chance for a comeback when Franko House fouled out with a little over 10 minutes left.
Things got interesting after that.
Ball State was able to maintain a lead for most of the game until Keith Shivers gave CSU their first lead of the game with :43 seconds left, a gut punch that forced a mad scramble in the last round. Taylor Persons answered with an old fashioned three-point play, and gave us our final score.
Keith Shivers led all scorers with 26 for Coppin State, and he added 9 rebounds.
Taylor Persons led BSU with 19 points, and added 10 assists. Trey Moses added 16 rebounds for the Cardinals.
I’ll be honest, I thought the Cardinals were toast. They showed a lot of heart. Even when they missed free throws at the end while trying to ice the game, they never threw in the towel.
South Dakota 80, Kent State 77
John Harbeck did a nice recap of this exciting game, and you can find it here.
Bowling Green 78 Murray State 77
If you like fast-paced, back-and-forth basketball affairs, you may want to find a replay of this game.
Dylan Frye, the freshman from Florida who hit his first field goal just the day before, scored 9 points and was a perfect 3-3 from the field, and 2-2 from beyond the arc, in the first half.
Zack Denny scored 17 points, Wes Alcigare had 13 points, while Demajeo Wiggins had 13 points and 9 rebounds for the Falcons.
Jonathan Stark scored a game-high 28 points and contributed five assists and a rebound for Murray State.
Bowling Green held the lead for most of the second half after coming out of halftime with a 41-34 lead. If you are a Falcons fan, I am going to need you to sit down before I give you the next little nugget. Ready? Demajeo Wiggins helped keep that lead because of his play from the line. He finished the game 9 of 10 from the charity stripe.
I have been watching basketball of all levels for 30+ years, and I have never seen what I am seeing with Wiggins this season. I have witnessed Shaq make 20 out of 22 for a game, only to fall back to his bricking ways. I think it’s going to stick with Wiggins. Not only are the free throws dropping, they look like they should.
Back to the game, Bryce Jones hit a three pointer with 1:13 left to give Murray State the lead. It seemed the team effort on the Falcon’s side was not going to be enough.
Then senior guard Zack Denny hit a three, and life was good again. There were some errors on BGSU’s side as they tried to close out the win, but it didn’t cost them the game.
A win is a win, and something to be celebrated. I am not going to pick it apart. The Falcons are a work in progress, and I am impressed with how they are progressing.
Central Michigan 88, Pepperdine 77
Marcus Keene led the game with 36 points and Braylon Rayson chipped in 20 points for the Central Michigan Chippewas in an 88-77 evaporation of the Pepperdine Waves in the Lone Star Showcase in Austin, Texas.
It was a back-and-forth affair in the first half, as both teams were feeling each other out on offense. At no point in the first half did either team lead by more than four points, as CMU took a scant three-point lead going into the locker room for halftime.
That all changed in the second half, as CMU would go on a 21-6 run in the first seven minutes of play, never looking back after a Josh Kozinski 3-pointer with 18:34 to go in the game.
Kozinski contributed 9 points in that 21-point run and finished with 15 for the Chippewas, going 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. David DiLeo was the next clsoest scorer, with scoring 9 points a team-leading five rebounds. CMU finished a remarkable 44.8 percent three-point mark, one of their best marks on the young season.
For Pepperdine, Lamond Murray Jr. led the team with 25 points while Jeremy Major got 16 points and 4 assists. Chris Reyes contributed 14 points and led the Waves with 8 rebounds.
Pepperdine outshot CMU, making 51.6 percent of their shots to CMU’s 48.4, but CMU ran away with three-point percentage, as Pepperdine mustered only 31.6 percent in that statistic. Despite outrebounding CMU 35-27, Pepperdine turned the ball over 20 times to CMU’s 10.
Tomorrow, CMU will play St. Bonaventure, while Pepperdine will play Arkansas-Little Rock.