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MAC Wrap: Ball State, Akron cruise to home victories while Ohio ekes out a close one

The MAC went 3-1 on Monday night, highlighted by a big comeback win.

Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

Monday night was a bit of a slow night for the MAC, as only four games were played. The Ohio-Tennessee State game was surprisingly the game of the night, and Akron just did unspeakable things to their Division 3 opponents. To the action:

Akron 100, Hiram 30

This one was over before it even started. Hiram, a small D3 school an hour north of Akron has just one player on their roster over 6-foot-5, and Akron just dominated them.

The Zips had five players in double digits, including Aaron Jackson (16), Jake Kretzer (15), Pat Forsythe (12), Reggie McAdams (12) and Jimond Ivey (12). As expected, centers Isaiah Johnson and Forsythe ate up the glass, grabbing 14 rebounds and 12 rebounds, respectively.

The numbers from the contest were video-game like, as Akron shot 48 percent from the field, 39 percent from beyond the arc and 76 percent from the charity stripe. Meanwhile, the Zips held Hiram to 12-70 shooting (17 percent) and outrebounded them 65-34.

There isn't a lot to take away from this game, other than it being a warmup for the Zips next two games: at Arkansas and at Villanova.

Ball State 73, Eastern Illinois 56

This Ball State program finally seems to have started to turn the corner and become a player in the MAC race. After narrowly losing at Bradley, the Cardinals showed up in a big way Monday night and handled Eastern Illinois to move to 1-1 on the season.

Ball State has had trouble putting teams like EIU away in the past, but this team seems to be different. The game was close for a while, but the Cardinals broke it open in the middle of the second half and cruised to a victory.

Four players ended up in double figures, including Bo Calhoun who had a phenomenal game putting up 17 points and 12 rebounds. Sean Sellers also had a double-double with 13 & 10, and Francis Kiapway and Franko House put up 12 and 10 points, respectively. Rebounding has been an issue in the past with this team, but Ball State won the rebounding battle over the Panthers 43-32.

The Cardinals head to Eastern Kentucky to start off that multi-team tournament on Friday.

Old Dominion 77, Buffalo 58

It was the Trey Freeman show, and unfortunately Trey Freeman does not play for Buffalo. Old Dominion's senior guard was on fire the entire game, putting up 22 points on 6-11 shooting from the field and 9-12 from the free throw line.

Buffalo just couldn't make anything, starting the game off 2-13 (15 percent) from the field before finally raising it to 31 percent by the end of the night. Going 3-16 from beyond the arc doesn't help, and when a perimeter-oriented team like Buffalo doesn't make deep shots it's going to be an issue.

Jarryn Skeete led the Bulls with 12 points, but it took him 14 shots (7 threes) to get there. Rodell Wigginton had a solid game with 9 points and 3 rebounds, but outside of them the rest of the team couldn't get anything going.

Fouls were another issue, as Buffalo had two starters (Lamonte Bearden and Ikenna Smart) fouled out before the seven-minute mark of the second half. The Bulls committed eight more fouls than the Monarchs and shot 14 less free throws.

Buffalo heads to St. Joseph's in Philadelphia on Wednesday to take on the Hawks.

Ohio 75, Tennessee State 67

It came down to the diaper dandies in the Convo on Monday night, with Jordan Dartis and Gavin Block making big-time plays down the stretch to help Ohio emerge with a win despite struggling almost the entire game. Up to the under-12 media timeout in the second half, Ohio looked to be in trouble and stood on the wrong side of a 54-45 score.

Two Jordan Dartis 3-pointers, a Gavin Block trey, and a combination of loose ball rebounds and hustle plays highlighted a stretch in a swing that sent Ohio from a 9-point deficit to a victory that was essentially sealed with about a minute left on a Dartis 3-pointer.

Dartis finished as the leading scorer in just his second collegiate game (17 points and five 3-pointers) and Block netted 12 points.

"Gavin Block is the type of player where it wouldn't be inappropriate for him to wear a nut cup when he plays," said Coach Saul Phillips after the game. Doesn't that about say it all really?

Simmons finished the night with 15 points but an unfortunate 9 turnovers, giving him 15 giveaways in two games thus far. Kenny Kaminski also struggled, going 0-8 from downtown with some questionable shot selection. Any reasonable observer realizes that trends like these aren't going to last. Simmons will get better in facilitating a half-court offense, and Kaminski will find his stroke at some point and wow some people.