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MAC Men's Basketball Scoreboard: Central Michigan falters while Northern Illinois, Buffalo and Ball State pick up victories

CMU couldn't ever get over the hump against William & Mary while NIU and Ball State had a little trouble with their opponents Tuesday night.

Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

William & Mary 88 Central Michigan 84

Braylon Rayson had a chance to help CMU tie the William & Mary Tribe with five seconds left in the Chiipewas's road loss on Tuesday night, but the 3-pointer didn't connect.

The game went back and forth for most of the night until the Tribe hit a couple unmatched buckets and free throws in the game's last few minutes to go up 80-71 with 1:03 left. CMU fought back to make it close and even attempted the aforementioned game-tying shot, but fell short.

#3MU was shooting under 30% from beyond the arc until the game's final minute, and better shooting in that respect could have helped the Chips to put some distance between themselves and the Tribe who just time after time pushed back for every shove.

The Chips were unable to overcome a powerful offensive performance from W&M in the second half, where the Tribe shot 58.6 percent from the floor, averaged 1.39 points per possession, and four guys scored in double figures. Daniel Dixon (19) and Omar Prewitt (23) led the way in points for the Tribe.

Rayson (23) and Chris Fowler (21, 19 in second half) combined to lead the way in the points category, but notably a rough night from Josh Kozinski spelled problems for CMU. Kozinski missed more triples than he totaled points. That's right, he went 2-11 from behind the arc and scored 6 points.

Buffalo 99 Delaware 79

UB is sitting pretty after its last nonconference game. Read Bull Run's recap of the Bulls win over Delaware.

Ball State 63 Alabama A&M 62

The Cardinals notched their eighth win of the season - eclipsing last year's win total - but needed a comeback effort to notch another mark in the win column. After Alabama A&M's Ladarius Tabb hit a 3-pointer to put the Bulldogs up 60-52 with 4:31 left to go, things looked troublesome for Ball State. Alabama A&M came into the contest at just 4-4 and ranked 266 in KenPom, but their shot-making ability kept them in the lead.

Turns out, Ball State wasn't that much in trouble at all. The Cardinals went on a 7-2 run in the next two minutes of gameplay, highlighted by a Francis Kiapway 3-pointer. After that three, the game became a free throw battle. After the Bulldogs missed the front end of a one-and-one up 3 at 62-59, Franko House was fouled but split the pair.

Another Alabama A&M missed front end led to some back and forth, and with 55 seconds left House was able to knock down both free throws to tie the game. Ball State forced a turnover, and Kiapway was fouled. He made the all-important first to give the Cardinals the lead, but missed the second. A wild last—gasp possession from Alabama A&M ended with House grabbing a missed layup and dribbling out the victory.

Calhoun led the Cardinals with 16 points and 9 rebounds. House notched 15 points - 9 of which came from the free throw line - and grabbed 8 rebounds in another fantastic effort off of the bench. Ryan Weber and Kiapway each added 10 points to the scoring effort.

Tabb ended up with 29 points on 12-17 shooting from the field and 9 rebounds to lead the Bulldogs in both categories.

The 8-4 Cardinals close out non-conference play at Worthen Arena against 4-11 Chicago State on New Year's Eve. The game will tip at 2:00 Eastern and will be streamed on ESPN3.

Northern Illinois 70 UIC 65

Northern Illinois ended 2015 on a strong note by defeating the University of Illinois-Chicago 70-65 at the Convocation Center in downtown Chicago. The Huskies were led by Marin Maric who registered a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds while also dishing out 4 assists. The Huskies had a 10-point lead at halftime sparked by a quick 14-6 run to start the game.

The Flames were kept in the game by Dikembe Dixson who scored 28 points, 15 of which coming in the second half. The closest the Flames got to NIU was with 11 minutes left in the second half with the Huskies leading by 4. UIC could never get any closer, but did put a bit of a scare into the Huskies at the end of the half closing the final margin to just 5 points.

The Huskies made 17 of their last 21 free throws to put the game away. Travon Baker made 7-8 free throws in only 48 seconds of game time and led the Huskies with 20 points on the night. The Huskies have been quite the story so far at 10-2 with their only losses being to Missouri and Ohio State on the road. They begin conference play January 6th vs Ohio in DeKalb but have a final non-conference match-up against Judson on Saturday.