MAC Men's Hoops Season Concludes, Tournament Pairings Announced

Updated 3/9/2013


Monday, March 11, 2013 - First Round ( High Seed Campus Sites)
Game 1: No. 9 Central Michigan at No. 8 Buffalo, 7 p.m.
Game 2: No. 10 Northern Illinois at No. 7 Eastern Michigan, 7 p.m.
Game 3: No. 11 Miami at No. 6 Bowling Green, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - Second Round (Games on STO)
Game 4: Game 1 Winner vs. No. 5 Ball State, 6:30 p.m. 
Game 5: Game 2 Winner vs. Game 3 Winner, 9 p.m.
Thursday, March 14, 2013 - Third Round (Games on STO)
Game 6: Game 4 Winner vs. No. 4 Kent State, 6:30 p.m.
Game 7: Game 5 Winner vs. No. 3 Western Michigan, 9 p.m.
Friday, March 15, 2013 - Semifinals (Games on STO)
Game 8: Game 6 winner vs. No. 1 Akron, 6:30 p.m.
Game 9: Game 7 winner vs. No. 2 Ohio, 9 p.m.
Saturday, March 16, 2013 - MAC Championship
Game 10: Championship Game, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN2)


Saturday's MAC Men's Basketball Results
Western Michigan 71, Central Michigan 68
Toledo 78, Eastern Michigan 67
Ball State 53, Northern Illinois 51
Ohio 58, Miami 54

Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Offices
Western Michigan 71, Central Michigan 68
KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Western Michigan men's basketball team withstood a three-point barrage in the first half to record a comeback victory against their arch-rival, defeating the Central Michigan Chippewas 71-68 at University Arena.  With the win, the Broncos sweep the season series with CMU, and improve to 19-11 overall, 10-6 in Mid-American Conference play.
All three of the Broncos' seniors were inserted into the starting line-up at the beginning of the game, and each played his role in helping the team earn victory.  Brandon Pokley went 5-of-7 from three-point range to post 15 points; Nate Hutcheson scored five of the team's final six points down the stretch run; and Dan Loney contributed quality minutes in his first career start, aiding the Broncos in their best offensive run of the game.
Shayne Whittington finished with 16 points and 14 rebounds, posting his 11th double-double of the season to finish the 2012-13 regular season with the MAC lead in the category.  Whittington had the stat locked up in the first half, posting 12 points and 11 rebounds in the opening 20 minutes.  Darius Paul and Connar Tava paced a bench effort for the Broncos that outscored the Chippewas 29-8, finishing with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Central Michigan led by as many as nine points in the second half, holding a 43-34 advantage at the 18:59 mark when Kyle Randall hit a runner in the paint.  Whittington cut into the lead with a hook shot at 18:04, and Austin Richie notched one of his game-high seven assists on the next trip down the floor, finding Paul in stride on the fast break for the lay-up.  Pokley cut the Chips' lead to 43-41 with a three-pointer from the left corner, and David Brown pulled the Broncos to within one point when his trey made it 47-46 at the 13:36 mark.
The Broncos faced a five-point defcit with 11:05 remaining in regulation when Randall made another shot in the paint, but Pokley immediately responded with a three-pointer from the deep right corner to make it 53-51.  Tava finished a baseline drive with a lay-up at the 10:09 mark to tie the game, and added another on a dish from Pokley to give the Broncos their first lead of the second half.  
Western Michigan's lead reached eight points at the 8:05 mark, when Pokley buried another triple try from the right corner to make it 61-53, but the Chippewas pulled all the way back, and trailed just 65-63 with 2:39 remaining.  Hutcheson drained a three-pointer from just beyond the head of the key to make it 68-63 with 1:17 remaining, and he made a pair of free throws with 12 seconds remaining to dash the Chips' chances of hitting a game-winner.  Randall's three-pointer at the buzzer missed, and the Broncos escaped with the win.
The Broncos opened the game on a 6-3 run, with Whittington dominating the opening minutes of play.  The junior center posted the first 10 points of the game for the Broncos, who led 10-9 at the 14:36 mark of the first half.  The Chippewas took the lead briefly, but Tava put the Broncos back ahead with an and-1 finish at the 12:44 mark.
Darius Paul gave the Broncos their largest lead of the day at the 8:14 mark, finishing a lay-up on a dish from Richie to make it 23-13.  The Chippewas responded with a flurry of three-pointers, taking a 33-32 lead at the 1:53 mark on a Randall three-pointer.  CMU led by as many as six in the final minutes of the half, but Paul made a pair of free throws with 34 seconds remaining to cut the deficit to four points.
Toledo 78, Eastern Michigan 67
YPSILANTI, MI - Senior G Dominique Buckley exploded for 17 second-half points to lead Toledo to a 78-67 triumph over Eastern Michigan (14-17, 7-9 MAC), enabling the Rockets to finish in a first-place tie in the West Division with Western Michigan (19-11, 10-6 MAC).
UT finished its 2012-13 campaign with a 15-13 overall record and a 10-6 mark in league play. Toledo, which registered its first victory in Ypsilanti since 2007 for its third consecutive win over the Eagles, also recorded its second-straight winning season and notched its most conference victories since posting a 14-2 ledger in the 2006-07 campaign.
In his final game in a Rocket uniform, Buckley tied his career highs with 21 points and  five three-point field goals and his season best with five assists.  Buckley was a part of a UT backcourt that dominated the contest with sophomore G Julius Brown tallying his fourth-career double-double (19 pts., career-high 12 asst.) and junior G Rian Pearson contributing 18 points.  Also scoring in double figures was junior F Matt Smith with 12 points.
Senior G Derek Thompson led Eastern Michigan with 25 points with junior F Glenn Bryant tallying 15 points and eight rebounds.
Toledo shot 50.9 percent from the field, including a 9-of-24 effort (37.5 percent) behind the three-point arc. UT limited the Eagles to a 33.3 percent shooting mark in the second half and a 41.5 mark for the game.
The Rockets fell behind early, 18-8, eight minutes in before tying the score at 26-26 following four straight points from Buckley. EMU then reeled off nine consecutive points though before a Brown trey and Pearson layup put UT down 35-31 entering halftime.
Buckley and Smith opened the second half on fire by scoring 19 of UT's first 21 points in the second stanza to give the Rockets a 52-41 cushion with 13:08 to play. Brown's jumper at the 10:16 mark provided UT with its largest lead 58-41. Buckley then hit two more bombs with six minutes left to keep the Rockets' lead from dwindling after Daylen Harrison's trey had cut EMU's deficit to 10 points.
Ball State 53, Northern Illinois 51
MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State men’s basketball team survived a scare Saturday from Northern Illinois and pulled through for a 53-51 victory to secure the No. 5 seed and a bye in next week’s Mid-American Conference Tournament.
Jauwan Scaife led the way with 17 points for the Cardinals (15-14, 8-8 MAC), who won for the fifth game in a row and the seventh time in the past eight. Darrell Bowie scored 10 points to pace the Huskies (5-24, 3-13 MAC).
Just one month ago, Ball State found itself at the bottom of the MAC standings. Now, the Cardinals’ late season run has earned them a trip straight to Cleveland. 
Ball State will play Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena against the winner of Monday’s first round game between No. 8 seed Buffalo and No. 9 seed Central Michigan. Wednesday’s game will be televised by Sports Time Ohio and carried on the Ball State Radio Network.
“We found a way to win,” Ball State coach Billy Taylor said. “This time of year it’s all about trying to find ways to win. Even though we did not have our best performance, I’m glad we could get it out of the way in a win and before we get to Cleveland. I’m just so proud of these guys for the resiliency they’ve shown throughout the course of this season.”
Ball State trailed Saturday by as many as 16 points in the first half and as many as 11 in the second half against a pesky Northern Illinois team.
The Cardinals managed to fight through a 14-for-30 shooting effort at the free throw line and a 35-22 deficit on the boards.  Only Indiana back in November out-rebounded Ball State by that many this year.
Yet, the Cardinals managed to stage a 14-3 run in the second half to swing the game in their favor. Scaife scored eight straight BSU points during that run, and Marcus Posley capped it with a driving lay-in to give the Cardinals their first lead at 47-46 with 5:13 to play.
A lay-up from Bowie briefly put Northern Illinois back on top, but Majok Majok answered two possessions later to give Ball State a lead it would not lose.
Still, the Cardinals had to stave off the Huskies in the final seconds. NIU had the ball trailing 52-51 with less than 10 seconds to play when Majok blocked Aksel Bolin’s shot on a drive to the basket. Chris Bond hit one free throw on the other end, and Ball State held on when Antone Christian’s last-second 3-point attempt went long.
Majok finished with three blocked shots to go along with nine points. Bond and Matt Kamieniecki scored eight points each for the Cardinals.
Playing against Northern Illinois’ stingy defense, Ball State did not reach 85 points for the first time in five games, but the Cardinals scored just enough.
Ball State also celebrated Senior Day before Saturday’s game as the Cardinals honored Scaife and Zach Fields prior to tipoff.
Ohio 58, Miami 54
ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio University men's basketball team (23-8, 14-2 MAC) earned a share of the 2013 MAC regular season title after defeating rival Miami (8-21, 3-13), 58-54, on Saturday afternoon inside the Convocation Center.
The Bobcats share the crown with Akron and have captured the regular season title for the first time since 1993-94.
Ohio trailed by as many as 12 in the second half, but used a 15-0 run midway through the half to take control of the game. 
Senior guard D.J. Cooper (Chicago, Ill.) led Ohio with 17 points and five rebounds, while junior forward Jon Smith (Columbus, Ohio) added nine points, a season-high 10 rebounds and two blocks. Sophomore guard Stevie Taylor (Gahanna, Ohio) chipped in eight points and three steals in 16 minutes of action. 
With the victory, Ohio tied a program-record with 14 MAC wins and has now earned 14 league wins for the first time when the MAC schedule has included 16 games. The team’s previous best record during a 16-game slate was 11-5. 
After head coach Jim Christian began the Senior Day game with a starting lineup of five seniors, the Bobcats raced out to a 7-2 lead. After Miami pulled within one (9-8), Taylor knocked down a 3-pointer and junior guard Travis Wilkins (Springfield, Mo.) hit a pair of free throws to put the Bobcats back up six (15-9) with 9:39 to play in the first half. 
Miami posted six-straight points to tie the game at 15 and the RedHawks took a 22-20 lead off a bucket by Will Felder with 5:15 to go in the half. Miami closed the half on a 9-2 run and took a 28-22 lead into the break. 
The Bobcats connected on a season-low 18.8 percent of their field goal attempts in the half and committed seven turnovers in the stanza. Cooper led Ohio with 10 points and four rebounds in the half.
Miami extended its lead to 12 (41-29) six minutes into the second half and led 44-32 with 11:58 to go in the game. At that point, Ohio began the game’s most critical run. 
A 3-pointer by Taylor and back-to-back lay-ins by Smith cut the Miami lead to five (44-39) and a lay-up by senior guard Walter Offutt (Indianapolis, Ind.) moved the ‘Cats within three (44-41). 
After Ohio tied the game on a lay-in by Taylor, Cooper nailed a 3-pointer in transition to push the Bobcats back in front by three (47-44) with 7:04 to go. The triple capped a 15-0 run by the ‘Cats. 
Miami moved back within one (49-48) on a jumper by Jon Harris, but a clutch 3-pointer from senior forward Ivo Baltic (Kansas City, Mo.) extended the Ohio edge to four (52-48) with 4:33 to play.
Another lay-in by Harris cut the Ohio lead to two (52-50), but the RedHawks could not move any closer for the remainder of the contest.
Prior to the game, the Ohio senior class of Baltic, Cooper, guard Nick Goff (Columbus, Ohio), forward Reggie Keely (University Heights, Ohio), guard David McKinley (Dublin, Ohio) and Offutt was honored in a special ceremony. The class has posted a school-record 93 wins and has captured two MAC Tournament titles and now the 2013 MAC regular season title. 
Ohio now heads to Cleveland, Ohio, to take part in the annual MAC Championship. As the No. 2 seed, the Bobcats will play the quarterfinal winner of No. 3 Western Michigan and the winner of the first round game between No. 6 Bowling Green and No. 11 Miami. 
The semifinal game is set for Friday (March 15) at 9:00 p.m. inside Quicken Loans Arena. The contest will be broadcast locally on SportsTime Ohio and across the nation on ESPN3. In addition, “Voice of the Bobcats” Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius will call the action live on the Ohio IMG Sports Network.