It was a topsy-turvy day at the office in the MAC basketball world, as it was the bottom of the table which brought the heat in terms of entertainment. Cellar-dwellers NIU and WMU looked to play the spoiler to two high-seeds in their respective matchups Tuesday night, and very nearly pulled off the feat as the heat of March approaches.
The conference-leading Toledo Rockets were able to repel the Miami RedHawks with a final score of 87-75. The RedHawks leading scorer was Dalonte Brown with 21 points. He was able to record a double-double with 11 rebounds. The Rockets were led by Spencer Littleson with 25 points. Of note was Marreon Jackson recording a double-double with 18 points and ten rebounds. All ten of those rebounds were defensively. With this win, the Rockets were also able to secure a berth in the MAC Tournament.
The Akron Zips were eventually able to dispatch the Northern Illinois Huskies by a final score of 81-76, securing their ticket to the MAC Tournament in the process. Northern Illinois would find itself with a 45-41 lead when the second stanza began. The Zips would end up tying the game at 47 after a three pointer by Ali Ali. The Huskies were able to pull away again to get to a 56-53 lead after a layup by Chinedu Kingsley Okanu at the 14:20 mark in the second half. That was all the Zips needed to pull away. The Huskies were able to make it sort of interesting with 32 seconds left to pull within 4 points but with good free throws on the Zips part, and missed baskets on the part of the Huskies, they could never quite even up. The Huskies leading scorer was Zool Kueth with 21 points. Also of note for the Huskies was Tyler Cochran with a double-double with 20 points and 13 total rebounds. The Zips were led by Bryan Trimble Jr. with 22 points.
Kent State, the current third-place team, traveled to Kalamazoo on Tuesday to face Western Michigan. The Golden Flashes were faced with 40-36 deficit when the second half started. Western Michigan would increase that lead to six points on a pair of free throws by Greg Lee. After a bit of a flurry, the Broncos would be leading by as much as eight points after a layup by Bartis White to bring the game to 51-43. After that, the Golden Flashes would go on a nine-point run that was capped off by a pair of Danny Pippen free throws to pull ahead 52-51. Western Michigan would once again tie the game at 54-54 and an exchange of points would see the game still tied at 64 with 4:24 left to go. The Golden Flashes proved to be too much for the Broncos and would win the game 76-69. The Golden Flashes were Giovanni Santiago with 22 points. The Broncos leading scorer was B. Artis White, with 20 points.
Rounding out the night, the Bowling Green Falcons had little trouble defeating the Ball State Cardinals, taking home a 75-62 victory. The Falcons were led by Justin Turner with 27 points. The Cardinals’ Ishmael El-Amin had 11 points for BSU.
There’s still some good action ahead this week, with two nationally-televised games on Fridan night, First will come Akron and Ball State in Muncie on CBS Sports Network at 7 p.m. EST/6 p.m. CST. After that, Toledo will travel to Buffalo to face the Bulls at 9:00 P.M. EST on ESPN2.
Saturday will see two games, with EMU traveling to Kent State and NIU hosting Miami.