It was the day after Thanksgiving. Western Michigan, Toledo, and Akron couldn't have been faulted too heavily if they had lagged as a result of a food-hangover. We've all been there. Instead, Mid-American Conference hoop squads impressed on Friday.
Toledo 82 Loyola (Chicago) 74
The Rockets picked up what was the best win of the night for a team in the MAC with an 8-point victory in the Great Alaska Shootout. Toledo shot 52 percent from the field and 23 of 25 from the charity stripe on its way to win that has to feel good. What is likely making coach Tod Kowalczyk rest a bit easier is the productivity he received from more than the usual suspects. After Nathan Boothe scored 10 of Toledo's first 13 points, it was not he who carried Toledo in its 57-point second half explosion.
Jaelan Sanford pumped in 14 points, most of which came from the free throw line. Stuckey Mosley put up a stat line of 18 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists and Jonathan Williams led all scorers with 20.
Akron 82 Charleston Southern 58
Nothing was particularly overwhelming about Akron's performance Friday in what was an easy 24-point win. It's games like this where the Buccaneers really miss Saah Nimley. Enough about the Big South though, the story of this one was the cluster of turnovers (18) from CSU compared to Akron's five. The Zips also distributed the ball effectively and totaled 18 assists.
Coming off losses to good squads (Green Bay and Villanova) Akron took care of the rock and received contributions from a number of players to control the game mostly from the opening tip. The Bucs did make a run in the second half to pull it to 40-38, but Akron responded with a 22-3 run to put it away.
Reggie McAdams and Josh Williams totaled 14 points each while Pat Forsythe and Aaron Jackson put up 11 and 13 respectively.
Western Michigan 68 Liberty 58
The Broncos rode down to Tennessee and put out the Liberty Flames. Tucker Haymond's 16 points paced the Broncos. Kellen McCormick added 12 and Anthony Avery continued to show he will be a reliable option in the continued absence of Connar Tava with 14 points.
WMU dominated the boards in a game that was slow in nature, grabbing 33 rebounds to Liberty's 19. The Flames made it a 41-38 game with 15:42 to go in the game but two buckets and an assist from Drake Lamont over the next few minutes stopped whatever momentum Liberty had picked up.