This past holiday week, the #MACsketball slate gave us fans of the hardwood plenty to be thankful of across both the mens and woman's side of the conference.
Here are some of this weeks highlights.
1. WBK: Kent State beats #19 UCLA, while Buffalo beats Syracuse.
Kent State women’s basketball team improved to 4-0 on the young season in a big way with an upset victory of the nation’s #19th ranked team, the UCLA Bruins of the PAC 12. Kent State won 75-69 in the Gulf Coast Showcase. The Flashes used a 12-0 run late in the fourth quarter to seal the victory. They were led by Lindsey Thall with 20 points, and had 17 points from Katie Shumate as five Golden Flash players were in double-digits.
The Buffalo Bulls knocked off in-state rival Syracuse, 88-79. Dyaisha Fair had 34 points while Summer Hemphill went for 28 points and ten rebounds. Combined, Fair and Hemphill had 62 of Buffalo’s points in the victory. Unfortunately, it was Buffalo’s only victory in “The Battle for Atlantis” as they lost to both South Carolina and Oklahoma.
Also in woman’s basketball, Eastern Michigan made SportsCenter’s top-10 list Saturday…after allowing Delaware’s Jasmine Dickey to go for 48 points in the Blue Hens 87-72 victory.
2. CMU MBB gets blown out on national TV by top-ranked Gonzaga
The Central Michigan Chippewas couldn’t continue the magic from its buzzer beating victory at Eastern Illinois— and even if they could have, that might not have been enough, as CMU took on the consensus national number one in Gonzaga.
Last year’s national runner-up had no problem dispatching the Chippewas in Las Vegas, 107-54. Led by the nation’s number one recruit Chet Holmgren, who had 19 points, Gonzaga led the whole game and shot over 56 percent. All-American candidate Drew Timme dropped 11 on the Chippewas.
Harrison Henderson led Central with 11 points in the defeat.
Central would wrap up the week with a 76-69 loss to Bellarmine, as the rebuilding Chips fell to 1-4 in head coach Tony Barbee’s first season.
3. Toledo Wins Baha Mar Tournament
Any week in which you can win a trophy is a good week— and for the Toledo Rockets, it was a good week, as the Rockets won the Baha Mar tournament title in the Bahamas. Toledo won three games en route to the tournament crown, beating Charlotte 98-86, Tulane 68-67, and Coastal Carolina 79-70 to win the tournament.
The strong week pushed the Rockets record to 5-1, with their only loss coming to a strong mid-major in the Oakland Golden Grizzlies.
Guard Ryan Rollins is giving the Rocket faithful plenty to look forward to as he continues to climb into the NBA draft discussion. Now the MAC’s second leading scorer at 20 points per game, Rollins went for scoring totals of 35, 16 and 22 points in the tournament.
4. Ball State... is ballin’
The Ball State Cardinals bookended their Thanksgiving week with two nice results, knocking off Atlantic 10 foe UMass on Sunday, and following it up by beating in-state foe, Indiana State the next Saturday.
UMass is a perennial NCAA tournament contender and their three-point defeat to Ball State was just their second loss of the season. BSU rallied from nine points down at one point to win in the Jersey Mikes Classic.
Ball State was led in the victory by 22 points from NIU transfer guard Tyler Cochran, as four Cardinals scored in double digits.
Ball State capped their win by chopping down the Sycamores 97-75. The alma mater of NBA legend Larry Bird is having a down year at 3-4. Cochran again led the Cardinals in scoring with 15 points as five Cardinal cagers hit double-digits in the contest.
5. BGSU beats Milwaukee and likely lotto pick, Patrick Baldwin Jr.
When Patrick Baldwin Jr. selected Milwaukee over Duke, he probably didn’t expect that decision to include losing to the Bowling Green State Falcons, but that’s exactly what happened when BGSU took on the Panthers last Tuesday, 82-68.
Baldwin is protected as a top-10 NBA draft selection following his freshman season this year, a rare recruit for a mid-major like Milwaukee. He had 17 points against the Falcons, but missed most of the second half with a knee injury.
BGSU was led by in scoring by Daeqwon Plowden, who had 26 points in the victory.
The following day saw the Falcons lose to Southern Utah, 75-57 and they ended the week at 2-4 overall.