MAC teams are finishing up their pre-conference schedules against cupcakes. Certainly most of the games will be blowouts. That’s why I didn’t bother to write a preview for the week. None of the games interested me until the MAC season starts. That is until the games are played. You knew there would be at least one that was interesting.
Eastern Michigan Eagles 98, Long Beach State 49ers 72
The alarm didn’t go off for Eastern Michigan until the midway through the first half. The 49ers were leading 19-17. EMU then went on a huge run, going into the locker room with a 20 point lead.
The game was never in doubt after that.
Ray Lee lead all scorers with 20, going 9-11 from the charity stripe. Jordan Nobles had a good all around game, scoring 15, grabbing 8 rebounds and dishing 6 assists. He was also credited with 3 blocks.
3 Long Beach State players scored 14 each, Gabe Levin, Evan Payne and Loren Jackson.
Eastern Michigan shot 53.7% from the floor, and went 33-39 from the line. They out rebounded the 49ers, 35-27.
Eastern Michigan opens MAC play on Tuesday against CMU.
Ball State Cardinals 73, North Florida Ospreys 68
The game was going according to plan. Ball State took a 23 point lead into the half. The key word, was.
Jeremie Tyler scored 12 of the 46 first half points for the Cardinals off the bench. It looked like the bench would see a lot of action in the second half.
Dallas Moore, a 6’1 senior from St. Petersburg, Florida, had other ideas. He showed great heart in leading the Osprey second half charge that made this the most exciting MAC basketball game of the evening.
Moore hit a couple of free throws at the 4:15 mark to pull the Ospreys within three.
Francis Kiapway responded with a 3, and then Tayler Persons had a tip-in on the next possession to put Ball State up, 67-60. Back on schedule?
North Florida wasn’t going quietly into the night. Chris Davenport and Garrett Sams hit threes, to put the score at 69-66.
Sean Sellers missed a free throw, and Dallas Moore, who showed heart all night, drove into the lane to make it a one point game.
Kiapway answered with his second huge three, and after a Franko House rebound, missed free throw and rebound off his miss, the game was over.
Moore led all scorers with 29, and added 7 rebounds and 4 assists in the losing effort. Sams added 15, and Davenport scored 14 off the bench for the Ospreys.
Persons led the Cardinals with 16 and had 7 rebounds. Kiapway added 10 off the bench. The Cardinals bench scored 32 of the 73 points.
Ball State opens MAC play Tuesday at Kent.
Western Michigan Broncos 80, Alabama A&M Bulldogs 50
Western Michigan is starting to find their rhythm as they approach MAC play. A close loss to Washington and a competitive game against UCLA should have been followed up by a blowout against winless Alabama A&M, and it was.
The only semi interesting part of this game was the point guard match-up. Rakiya Battle for A&M was able to take it too Thomas Wilder at times, but Wilder ended up winning the battle and the war.
WMU looked good to start the first half, then got sloppy. They missed a few good shots against the zone, and then started to get lazy or befuddled or both.
A&M was able to battle back, but eventually WMU took a 36-22 to lead at the half.
WMU came out of the locker room aggressive. They took some shots on offense that weren’t exactly perfect looks, but they dropped, so they were good shots. They also attacked the offensive glass, which every team should do against a zone every time.
That aggressive play put the game away, and allowed me to watch the Ball State game, which was exciting. Thank you, Broncos.
Tucker Haymond continued his great play since his homecoming against Washington, even providing an in your face dunk. One of his teammates had to pull his jersey over his mouth to suppress the laughter. The dunk wasn’t very impressive, but an A&M player tried to time a block after Haymond’s open court steal and failed, miserably.
Along with one of the best/worst dunks I have ever seen, Haymond finished with 11 points, 8 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. Wilder put on a clinic, scoring 19, including 4 of 5 from beyond the arc. He also added 5 boards and 4 dimes.
Battle was one of the few bright spots for the Bulldogs, scoring 17.
WMU dominated the glass, 45-24, with every starter grabbing at least 5 boards. That’s some nice effort against an inferior opponent.
WMU opens MAC play on Tuesday in Athens against the Bobcats.
Miami Redhawks 89, Olivet College Comets 69
This was mostly a snooze fest. Olivet hung around into the second half, but I never really got the impression they had a chance. In the back of my mind, I kept thinking, “Michael Weathers isn’t going to lose to Olivet. He’ll will them to victory if it’s close.”
It wasn’t. Miami won the rebounding battle, 48-37. They had 18 assists to 11. They shot 45% compared to 37% from the Comets. There wasn’t an individual effort or performance that decided the game, it was just a superior team beating an inferior team.
Eric Ewing scored 29 for the Comets, and Aaron Washington added 16 off the bench.
Logan McLane had 17 points and 10 boards for the Redhawks. Michael Weathers added 16 and 8 assists. His brother, Marcus, scored 11 and grabbed 9 boards.
Miami hosts Northern Illinois on Tuesday to open MAC play.