In games of Wednesday, Feb. 2, Akron and Eastern Michigan scored victories that vaulted them into sole possession of first place of the MAC East and West Divisions, respectively. On Tuesday of this week, Toledo continued to flex its muscle with its third straight win with a convincing performance at Miami. Saturday's key matchup features the top two teams in the West meeting with the Ball State at Eastern Michigan in a game televised by ESPN Plus.
Games of February 2 (Wednesday)
Eastern Michigan 68, at Western Michigan 43 - The Eagles (12-8, 6-5) took possession of first place by one-half game over idle Northern Illinois and Ball State, who topped Bowling Green. EMU held the Broncos (8-12, 4-7) to 27.8% (15-of-54) shooting from the floor. Calvin Warner paced the Eagles' attack with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Adam Hess and Antonio Gates added 12 each. WMU placed just one scorer in double figures with Jon Powell's 10 points. EMU won for the third time in the last four games while WMU lost for the third time in the last four games.
At Akron 69, Central Michigan 55 - Four Zips (15-6, 9-3) scored in double figures in their win that, coupled with a Bowling Green loss, put them in first place. Jami Bosley and Marco Morgan scored 14 each and Morgan added a game-high 10 rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench. Ryan Andrick added 13 and Jimmal Ball 12 for Akron as they snapped a two-game losing streak. CMU (5-15, 2-9) received a game-high 19 points from Chad Pleiness and 10 from David Webber.
At Ball State 71, Bowling Green 61 - The Cardinals (13-7, 5-6) forced 20 turnovers in knocking the Falcons (15-5, 7-3) out of the East Division lead. In winning its second game in a row after a run of 1-6 the last three weeks of January, Ball State was paced by 19 points from Patrick Jackson and 10 points and eight rebounds from Theron Smith. Bowling Green lost for the second time in its last three games despite 24 points and 16 rebounds from Len Matela. Anthony Stacey added 15 points and eight rebounds for the Falcons.
Games of Feb. 1 (Tuesday)
Toledo 71, at Miami 61 - The Rockets (10-12, 4-7) won their third game in a row since the return of All-MAC forward Greg Stempin and snapped the RedHawks' (10-9, 6-5) streak of holding opponents to 50.0% or less from the field at 25 games. Toledo shot 60.0% (12-of-20) in the first half for a 28-23 lead, and shot 66.7% (12-of-18) in the second half for an overall 63.2% (24-of-38). Stempin's 19 points and 11 rebounds led the Rockets while Craig Rodgers added 12 and Robierre Cullars 11. Rob Mestas led all scorers with 22 for the RedHawks and Jason Stewart contributed 12 points.
Games of Jan. 31 (Monday)
At Kent 68, Western Michigan 62 - The Golden Flashes (16-4, 8-3) received 22 points from Trevor Huffman and 11 from John Whorton to move into second place in the East Division. Kent forced 19 Bronco (8-11, 4-6) turnovers and held a nine-point lead at the half. WMU was led by Tony Barksdale's 26 points and also received 14 from Rod Brown and 11 from Bro Taylor.
At Central Michigan 75, Northern Illinois 65 - The Chippewas (5-14, 2-8) snapped a four-game losing streak by placing four players in double figures. Tim Kisner had 16 points, David Webber and Willie Wallace 15 each, and Chad Pleiness 14. NIU (11-9, 5-6) was led by 16 points from T.J. Lux, while Mike Brown added 13, Leon Rodgers 11 and Rey Jones 12.
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
Sunday, February 6
*Miami at Northern Illinois, 2:00