Bowling Green (15-4, 7-2) reclaimed the top spot in the MAC East Division
with Saturday's 88-77 home win versus Akron (14-6, 8-3). The Falcons received some help when Toledo knocked off Kent (15-4, 7-3), ending the Golden Flashes' 13-game home winning streak. Ohio (13-9, 6-4) leaped from sixth place to a tie fofr fourth with a huge 77-53 win against Marshall (14-6, 6-5) who dropped to sixth place. Miami (10-8, 6-4) lost on a last-second field goal to Western Michigan on Saturday, costing the RedHawks one slot in the standings. Buffalo (5-15, 3-8) saw its two-game winning streak halted in a loss at Ball State.
WEST UPDATE: West Division teams captured all three matchups versus their East Division opponents on Saturday, however the marquee game featured Northern Illinois' (11-8, 5-5) 76-62 win versus Eastern Michigan (11-8, 5-5) that tied the Huskies with the Eagles for first place. Western Michigan (8-10, 4-5) remained a half-game back with a last-second 51-49 win against Miami, Ball State (12-7, 4-6) stopped Buffalo, and Toledo (9-12, 3-7) ended Kent's 13-game home-winning streak to stay within one and two games, respectively, of the division leaders. Central Michigan (4-14, 1-8) was idle on Saturday but hosts the division co-leading Huskies Monday night.
Monday, January 31
*Northern Illinois at Central Michigan, 8:00, FOX Sports Net
*Western Michigan at Kent, 8:00, FOX Sports Net
Tuesday, February 1
*Toledo at Miami, 7:00
Wednesday, February 2
*Bowling Green at Ball State, 7:00
*Eastern Michigan at Western Michigan, 7:00
*Central Michigan at Akron, 7:30
Thursday, February 3
*Buffalo at Marshall, 7:00
*Ohio at Northern Illinois, 7:05
Saturday, February 5
*Ball State at Eastern Michigan, Noon, MAC ESPN + Syndication
*Ohio at Bowling Green, Noon, MAC ESPN + Syndication
*Akron at Western Michigan, 2:00
*Buffalo at Toledo, 2:00
*Kent at Central Michigan, 3:30
MAC MONDAY: MAC Monday on Jan. 31 features key games involving both diivisional title chases. West co-leader Northern Illinois is at Central Michigan in a game that will be carried on FOX Sports Net Chicago. In the other matchup, two third-place teams collide as East member Kent hosts the West Division's Western Michigan Broncos in a game televised on WADL (Detroit), WUPW (Toledo), WWMT (Grand Rapids) and WRGT (Dayton).
HE'S BACK: Toledo head coach Stan Joplin was glad to see All-MAC selection Greg Stempin return to the Rockets' lineup. The 6-9 forward's return following his recovery from a Jan. 5 elbow injury coincided with the Rockets breaking a six-game losing streak with two wins this week, beating Northern Illinois 65-62, and Kent, 65-52. In helping stop Kent's 13-game home winning streak, Stempin produced 8 points, 11 rebounds and 3 assists.
FOOTSTEPS: Akron freshman forward Andy Hipsher, who wears #34 for the Zips, the same number worn by his father and head coach Dan Hipsher when he played for Bowling Green from 1975-77, made his first career start Saturday at Anderson Arena, the Falcons' home court. The young Hipsher started in place of the injured George Phillips (sprained big toe) and was less than 100% himself as he was battling a hand injury. Andy scored two points, had three rebounds and dished out two assists in 29 minutes of the Zips' 88-77 loss.
BARKSDALE HITS BIG SHOT: Western Michigan's Tony Barksdale hit this week's buzzer beater as his bucket with one second remaining gave the Broncos a 51-49 win against Miami. Barksdale also helped out with a game-high five assists as WMU won for the third time in the last four games.
BENCH BAILS OUT BRONCOS: In Western Michigan's 51-49 win against Miami, the Broncos' starting five totaled just 22 points. Meanwhile, those players who came off the bench garnered 29 points. Off the bench, Emil Mulic produced 13 points in 27 minutes and Tony Barksdale 12 points in 29 minutes. The 51 points is the lowest total by the Broncos in a game they have won since beating Akron 51-46 in 1996.
15 AND HOLDING: Western Michigan's 78-74 win at Ohio was the 15th overtime game this season involving a MAC team. Of those, eight have involved league games. Eastern Michigan leads the way with four overtime contests and has a 2-2 mark in the extended contests. Ball State played three overtime games in a row, including back-to-back triple OT contests on Jan. 8 and 12, both of which were losses for the Cardinals. Western Michigan, Miami and Ohio have also taken part in three overtime games each.
BULLS BREAK THROUGH: The Buffalo Bulls had won just two of their first 24 MAC games and none versus a team with a winning record. That changed last week when the Bulls shocked the then first place Akron Zips, 84-83, at University Arena. Two nights later the Bulls symied Western Michigan 63-60. Buffalo's five wins to date equals their output from last year.
FOSTER IS THE KEY: Junior Damien Foster may be the key to Buffalo's winning ways. When the 6-5 guard, who transfered to UB from Boston College, scores at least 16 points, the Bulls are 4-0. Those wins and his point totals in each game are New Hampshire (18), Manhattan (28), Akron (17) and Western Michigan (16). Foster scored just eight points in UB's win over Central Michigan.
CAMPBELL LEADS BULLS: Buffalo's three MAC wins this season are already two more than last year's and a big reason for that is the play of guard Louis Campbell. Campbell is the only MAC player to lead his team in points (12.0), rebounds (5.7), steals (1.9) and assists (3.9).
INCREASED PRODUCTION: Ball State point guard Mickey Hosier has a career scoring average of just 3.5 points per game but has produced 11.8 ppg the last four contests. Hosier also is second in the MAC in assist-turnover ratio at 2.70 (73 assists-27 turnovers).
BG STANDS ALONE: With Kent's home loss to Toledo Saturday night, Bowling Green remains as the only MAC team with an unblemished home record. The Falcons are 8-0 overall and 5-0 in MAC play at Anderson Arena and are outscoring their opponent by an 86-66 margin at home. The Falcons home court is shooter friendly, at least to the home team. Three times this year BG has shot 70.0% or better in the second half of a game, including 78.9% (15-of-19) in Saturday's 88-77 triumph over Akron.
BG RECORD TO FALL: The all-time scoring record of 1,834 by Bowling Green's Howard Komives should soon go by the wayside. Anthony Stacey needs just 92 points to pass Komives. Stacey has scored 20 or more points in three straight games and four of the last six.
STRAIGHT SHOOTERS: Bowling Green continues to be the league's only team shooting above 50.0% from the field (50.6%). The team's most accurate shooter, however, aren't listed among MAC or NCAA individual leaders due to not meeting minimum qualifications (5 FG made per game). Len Matela leads with a 63.7% rate (93-of-146), Trent Jackson is at 59.3% (73-of-123) and Dave Esterkamp is at 58.0% (87-of-150). Esterkamp set a career high with 28 points versus Akron in Saturday's 88-77 win. Matela is averaging 15.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and is shooting 67.1% from the floor in MAC games.
CHAIR OF THE BOARDS: Ohio's Shaun Stonerook has a handle on defending his MAC rebounding crown, which he won last year with 9.1 per game. Ranked second nationally in the latest statistical report, Stonerook leads the league with 12.2 rebounds a game. His performances this year have included a career-high 21 rebounds versus Western Michigan and 20 at Kent. Stonerook also had three three-point goals in Ohio's win at Central Michigan and as a team the Bobcats tied a MAC record with 17 threes. His two games this season with at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a game matches the career efforts of former Bobcat Gary Trent.
CENTRAL TAILSPIN: Central Michigan has lost 13 of its last 14 games, but has a number of individuals set to jump into the record book. Tim Kisner, with 257 assists, is seven assists shy of moving into 10th place all-time at CMU. Dan Schell is already eighth in career blocked shots with 67.
REDHAWKS BACK ON TRACK: After their 17-game home winning streak was snapped earlier this month, the Miami RedHawks have won their last three home games. The RedHawks are tied for fourth place in the MAC East Division and play three of their next four games at home (Toledo, Akron, Bowling Green).
MIAMI-D: The RedHawks continue their streak of holding opponents to 50.0% or less from the field, now at 25. The RedHawks stopped Marshall's nine-game home winning streak with a 40.8% effort versus the Thundering Herd. In that game, Anthony Taylor exploded for a career-high 28 points. Miami held Western Michigan at 41.9% but lost the game 51-49. Miami is also the only team to win at Akron this season.
KAMSTRA NEARS 200 THREES/1,000 POINTS: Toledo guard Chad Kamstra nailed five three-point goals last week to boost his school career record to 198. Kamstra has 55 three-point goals this season and has a chance to set the school's single season record of 68 set in 1992-93 by Sam Brown. Kamstra also needs four points to reach 1,000 for his career and teammate Greg Stempin needs 56 points to reach 1,000.
NIU STUBBORNNESS: In its 76-62 win versus Eastern Michigan, the NIU Huskies held the Eagles to just 1-of-22 (4.5%) from the field in the first half. EMU shot a more respectable 42.9% (15-of-35) in the second half when they outscored the Huskies 50-40, but it was not enough to overcome the 36-12 halftime deficit. The Huskies T.J. Lux scored 23 points and grabbed 19 rebounds against the Eagles to record his 53rd career double-double.
MAC Overtime Games This Season:
D 4 at Wisc.-Green Bay 67, Miami 58
D 11 at Northern Iowa 83, Bowling Green 75
D 11 Western Michigan 89, at Oakland 87
D 30 at Eastern Michigan 82, Detroit 80
J 2 Kent 61 at Miami 57*
J 5 at Ball State 88, Toledo 85*
J 19 Akron 89, at Eastern Michigan 81*
J 22 Western Michigan 78, at Ohio 74*
MAC Double Overtime Games This Season
N 19 Niagara 105, at Buffalo 103
D 20 Marshall 127, at Western Michigan 126*
D 21 at TCU 107, Eastern Michigan 101
D 29 Wake Forest 84, Ohio 78, at Honolulu
J 5 at Kent 73, Ohio 69*
MAC Triple Overtime Games This Season
J 8 Eastern Michigan 98, at Ball State 93*
J 12 at Miami 86, Eastern Michigan 83*
* conference game
GOOD COMPANY: Should Marshall's Tamar Slay end the season as he is now as the MAC's leader in scoring and three-point field goals, he will join Eastern Michigan's Earl Boykins (1998) and Ohio's Dave Jamerson (1990) as the only other players in MAC history to lead the league in both categories in the same season.
ZERO HOUR: In Kent's 65-52 home loss to Toledo, Golden Flashes center John Whorton did not attempt a field goal. Whorton, who is averaging, 12.4 points and 8.6 field goal attempts per game, scored only from the free throw line, making 4-of-6 attempts. The Rockets' defense also held Kent to just 26.4% (14-of-53) from the field.
MAC NOTES: Akron's Jami Bosley had the 25th 20-point game of his career Saturday at Bowling Green ... In three seasons, Bosley has moved into 20th place on the Zips' all-time list with 1,184 points ... Jimmal Ball is sixth with 1,480 points ... the MAC's top two scoring freshmen are Ball State's Theron Smith (12.7 ppg) and Ohio's Brandon Hunter (10.8) ... Smith has six double-doubles this season ... Bowling Green's Brandon Smith has 68 assists and just 25 turnovers in the 12 games he has played ... Buffalo has won three straight home games ... the Bulls' Mike McKie blocked 12 shots in three games last week while winning MAC Defensive Player of the Week ... Toledo's schedule is rated as the 28th toughest in the nation in the Sagarin Ratings while Miami's schedule is listed at #15 ... NIU's T.J. Lux was one rebound shy for grabbing 20 boards in a game for the second time this year with his 19 versus Eastern Michigan ... Ohio's Shaun Stonerook has two games with 20 or more rebounds ... Stonerook also posted his eighth game this year with 20 points against Ball State ... Stonerook has a MAC high 15 double-doubles ... Toledo's Justin Hall won MAC Offensive Player of the Week by averaging 23 points in two games as the Rockets snapped their two-game losing streak with wins over Northern Illinois and Kent.