This week’s action saw Akron take a two game lead on the field, and Ohio bounce back after losing last year’s MAC Player of the Year, Antonio Campbell, to injury. Northern Illinois and Eastern Michigan are now tied atop the wild West. How wild is the West, you ask? Only 2 games separate the leaders from the bottom dwellers.
These 5 players stood out this week, with varying levels of team success.
Marcus Keene, Central Michigan Chippewas
Did anyone predict this Youngstown State transfer would have the season he is having? Oh, I am sure some people thought he was going to have a great year, and many people thought he was going to have a good year, but leading the nation in scoring, almost 6 full points ahead of second place? Doubtful. He is hovering just below the 30 points per game line. No division 1 player has finished above that line since Charles Jones out of Long Island in the 1996-97 season.
This week, Keene helped his average by scoring a whooping 79 points over the two games, including 50 in the win over Miami. He shot 18 for 32 from beyond the arc for a blistering 56% on the week. Keene also added 11 assists.
Jimmy Hall, Kent State Golden Flashes
Hall scored 24 and grabbed 16 boards in the loss to Buffalo, Kent State’s 4th loss in a row. He hit 9 of his 13 attempts in that game. Kent State got a much needed win against a good Toledo squad on Saturday. Hall scored 27 on 12 of 20 shooting, and grabbed 5 rebounds and dished 3 assists.
For the season, the senior out of Brooklyn is averaging 18.1 points and 10.6 rebounds. That puts him 5th in the MAC in scoring, and 2nd in rebounding.
Jaaron Simmons, Ohio University Bobcats
Bobcats great Antonio Campbell’s senior season was cut short by a broken foot. After a 15 point loss to Akron, they faced a Northern Illinois squad that was 4-1 in the MAC. More than ever, they needed Simmons to step up, and he did. The 6’1 junior out of Dayton had 24 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists in the win.
In the loss to Akron, he had 19 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists. On the season, he is 5th in the nation, averaging 6.9 assists per contest.
Nick Perkins, Buffalo Bulls
After losing 3 of their first 4 MAC contests, the Bulls were reeling. This week they rattled off 2 much needed wins, and the sophomore out of Ypsilanti was a big reason why.
Perkins scored 21 and grabbed 10 boards in the win against Western Michigan. It was his first double double since before Christmas. In the win at Kent State, he scored 17 and grabbed 6 rebounds. With these kind of performances out of the 6’8, 260 pound Perkins, the Bulls will yet again contend for the MAC tournament championship.
Michael Weathers, Miami RedHawks
I was hesitant to put Weathers on this list for two reasons. One, Miami lost both games. Two, he combined for 10 turnovers in those two losses. I decided to give him a pass because it was better than the 11 he had in the loss to Akron, and he is only a freshman.
Oh, and he is a kick ass player that makes a lot of those turnovers because he is playing hard. In the loss to Central Michigan, he had 24 points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block and 2 steals. He added 18 points and 6 assists in the loss to Northern Illinois. The kid is a true stat sheet stuffer, and will be fun to watch as long as he in Oxford.
It’s safe to say it’s not Miami’s year. Of course we said the same thing when the football team was 0-6, and basketball is a completely different animal with how they structure their end of the season tournaments.