The basketball teams of the Mid-American Conference continue ramping up towards conference play with an interesting week on non-conference play, featuring several intriguing mid-major matchups.
1. Eastern Michigan honors George Gervin, beats FIU
Usually, ice in Ypsiltanti makes it harder for fans to attend games but it was just the opposite on Saturday when Eastern Michigan celebrated “George Gervin Day,” as they honored “The Iceman”, who before a standout NBA career spanning ten seasons played for EMU from 1970-72. Gervin was a four time scoring champion and was recently named to the NBA’s 75th anniversary team. Gervin returned to the Convocation Center, and was surprised at halftime with the announcement that the arena will now be known as the “George Gervin GameAbove Center’.
Gervin and the 3,991 fans in attendance were treated to the longest game in Eastern Michigan program history as the Eagles needed four overtimes to defeat the previously 8-1 FIU Panthers from the Conference USA, 92-88. Eagles played the longest game in program history needing four overtimes to knock off the 8-1 Florida International Panthers out of Conference USA, 92-88. Noah Farrakhan had a career-high 27 points while Monty Scotty and Mo Njie added double-doubles, with Brice McBride scoring15 points off the bench. For more on George Gervin Day, you can read my recap here: insert link to currently unpublished story.
The win marked the third Eagles victory on the week as they previously defeated the Niagara Purple Eagles 60-58 on Wednesday, and previously beat the Northwood Timberwolves of the Division two ranks on Sunday. The Eagles are 5-5 on the season now but feature solid victories over strong mid-majors like FIU, Western Illinois, and Illinois State.
2. Buffalo Beats WKU, minus Williams
No Jeenathan Williams, no problem for the Buffalo Bulls as they scored a solid mid-major victory on the road over Western Kentucky. The Bulls beat the Hilltoppers 77-67 at E.A Diddle Arena.
The Bulls won the game without the MAC’s second leading scorer in Jeenathan Williams, who is averaging 19.1 points per game on the season. In the victory minus Williams, UB was led by Josh Mballa with 19 points, and Ronaldo Segu with 18 points, as the MAC’s leading assist guy also added seven assists. WKU would beat Ole Miss of the SEC their next time out.
Buffalo would also beat St. John Fisher College 100-58 to improve to 6-3 while righting their ship following last weeks 68-65 loss to St. Bonaventure.
3. BGSU soars past Oakland
It hasn’t been the best season so far for Michael Huger’s bunch in Bowling Green, as the Falcons have flirted with the .500 mark while adjusting to life without Justin Turner.
However, BGSU scored a big mid-major victory by beating the Oakland University Golden Grizzlies, 73-72. Oakland has been ranked in the mid-major top 25 rankings most of the season and features a strong RPI, ever since upsetting Oklahoma State on the road.
The game featured a homecoming of sorts as Oakland head coach Greg Kampe was a two-sport star at BGSU.
The Falcons were led to the victory by 23 points from Chandler Turner. Daeqwon Plowden added 16 points, nine rebounds and a block to the victory effort.
It was the Falcons first game in almost a week and the victory raises their record to 5-4.
4. Toledo tops Bradley
The Toledo Rockets continue to look like one of the top-teams in the conference, led by perhaps the MAC’s best player in guard Ryan Rollins.
The Rockets briefly got back to their winning ways, beating a solid mid-major program in the Bradley Braves, 67-65 at home. The Rockets had previously loss to the Michigan State Spartans their last time out, 81-68.
In the victory over Bradley, UT was led by 27 points from Rollins and 18 from JT Shumate. Rollins made two free throws with six seconds to play to give the Rockets the lead, and a Bradley buzzer beating attempt was no good to secure the victory.
Toledo would fall their next-time out to the Richmond Spiders, 72-69. Toledo at one point led 43-24 in the second half and had a chance to tie the game with 19.4 seconds to play but RayJ Dennis missed two field goals. Richmond beat UT, 76-66 in last year’s NIT.
5. Central Michigan losing streak reaches 7 Straight
Its looking like it might be a long winter in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan for reasons beyond the usual snow, wind and ice. Tony Barbee’s bunch saw their losing streak reach seven straight games by going 0-3 on the week. The Chippewas are now just 1-9 in Barbee’s first season at CMU with their lone win coming on a buzzer beater against Eastern Illinois.
Central Michigan fell 97-70 at home to Western Illinois, 84-77 at Youngstown State and 71-67 in Mt. Pleasant to UIC on the week.