It was tough to come up with the list this week because a lot of players had a great game, and a bad one. The prime example is Blake Hamilton out of Buffalo. His game against Akron might be the best game of the season by anyone. 33 points on 13-16 shooting against the best team. Unfortunately, the game before he had 5 points, 4 turnovers and 5 fouls, in a 1 point loss to Miami.
As for the guys that made the cut, it’s a list of usual suspects. Mr. Keene has failed to score 20 points only once this MAC season, so it’s likely he will be on the list more often than not. With the way he has been playing, it’s possible he will be on every one of the lists. Jimmy Hall is also playing at a high level consistently, so I suspect he also will be on the list more often than not.
Franko House hasn’t been putting up huge numbers, but he is a big reason why Ball State is tied for the lead in the wild West.
Kwan Cheatham Jr. has gone nuts since Akron got into league play, but it’s still Isaiah Johnson’s team. I get the feeling we will see both of them on the list once or twice this season. Kwan gets the nod this week.
Jaaron Simmons had to pick up the slack when Antonio Campbell went down with an injury, and he did.
Now you know the 5 players on the list, let’s look at how they got there.
Junior, Central Michigan Chippewas
Keene dropped 28 points in a home win against Bowling Green on Tuesday. That’s slightly below his season average. Let that sink in. There might come a time when I leave him off the list because he only managed to average 25 over 2 games. It’s the Peyton Manning effect. His numbers are so ridiculous, that you expect great things from Keene every game this season.
He didn’t disappoint against Kent State on Saturday, scoring 41 points, grabbing 10 rebounds and dishing 4 assists. He hit 3 three pointers and a lay up in overtime, helping to secure the win.
Kwan Cheatham Jr.
Senior, Akron Zips
Cheatham has scored in double digits in every game but one in league play, but I don’t think anyone was prepared for the onslaught he provided this week.
In the first game, he scored 20 and grabbed 11 rebounds in an easy win against Western Michigan.
Where he really set himself apart was the battle against Buffalo on Saturday, dropping 31 and grabbing 7 rebounds. His 7 treys were a big reason why Akron was able to pull out the one point win.
On the week, Cheatham hit 60% of his shoots, including a blistering 10 of 19 from beyond the arc.
Senior, Kent State Golden Flashes
The Brooklyn native hit 66% of his shots on the way to 46 points and 25 rebounds over the two games.
In the overtime thriller against Central Michigan, he scored 28, grabbed 12 rebounds and dished 4 assists.
On the season, he has had 12 double doubles in 21 games, and was a single rebound away 6 other times.
Senior, Ball State Cardinals
House does a lot of the little things that don’t show up on a stat sheet, but he did a pretty good job of putting up stats this week.
He had 18 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists against Western Michigan. Against Eastern Michigan in a huge divisional win, he scored 17, grabbed 9 boards, dished 3 assists and blocked 3 shots.
His partner in crime, Tayler Persons, also had a good week and just barely missed the list. Don’t feel too bad for the sophomore, he will have plenty of chances to make the list, and I am sure he will.
Junior, Ohio University Bobcats
Simmons didn’t shoot the ball particularly well but had 17 points and 10 assists in the home loss to Toledo. Against a depleted Bowling Green team, he had 23 points, 4 rebounds and 5 assists.
I almost left Simmons off the list, but then I realized I was being way too picky. The Bobcats are missing a player of the year candidate, and I need to reevaluate how I view this team. Simmons has been thrust into a different role, and has performed admirably.
Even though the Bobcats lost at home to Toledo, they probably weren’t in the game without the play of Simmons. Yes Bowling Green was without 4 starters, but Simmons still scored 23 against division one scholarship players(mostly).