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Hustle Belt MAC Men's Basketball Players of the Week: Week 17

A familiar leading star face and a supporting cast member stepping into the limelight are our MAC men's basketball Players of the Week this week.

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

EAST: Joshua Freelove, Buffalo

LW: Javon McCrea, Buffalo senior forward

How does one manage to outshine MAC superhero Javon McCrea? Let's ask his teammate Joshua Freelove. The senior guard, like the rest of Buffalo's team, usually plays a supporting role to McCrea's leading performances. Not this past week. Freelove was every bit McCrea's equal in a week that saw the Bulls take over the No. 2 spot in the conference.

In Athens against Ohio on Wednesday he scored 14 and was crucial to the Bulls coming away with the win. Then against Miami on Saturday it was all Freelove. He scored 24 points, while going 6-for-10 from behind the arc, and led the Bulls early second-half surge that allowed them to pull away from the RedHawks.

WEST: Shayne Whittington

LW: Braylon Rayson, Central Michigan freshman guard

Even though the Broncos fell out of first place on Saturday, ending the team's  their senior center Shayne Whittington had a phenomenal performance. He's playing some of the best basketball of his career and it couldn't come at a better time.

Wednesday in an overtime win against Ball State, Whittington scored 28, posted 14 boards and had three blocks. A dominating performance to keep the Broncos in first place in the MAC at the time. He followed it up with another impressive performance, though this time it wasn't enough to keep the Broncos' eight-game winning-stream alive.

Against Toledo Whittington posted 25, 13 and three, notching his fifth straight double-double and before getting into foul trouble and a late surge from Toledo, all but had the Bronco's season-sweep of their West division rivals locked up. WMU did fall in overtime, but not because of a lack of effort, or a subpar performance from Whittington. If he can keep his impressive play up WMU should be a favorite to win it all in Cleveland, even without the No. 1 seed.