MAC Men's Basketball Notes

Updated 12/5/2000
Miami faces No. 10 ranked Notre Dame Saturday in South Bend while Ohio is on the road to face ranked teams at Virginia and Wisconsin this week's in MAC basketball highlights.

Make That A Double:
Two Mid-American Conference teams have wins over ranked teams thus far in the 2000-20001 season after producing just one such triumph last year (Ball State over No. 24 Purdue). Miami topped then No. 17/15 (ap/espn) Temple on Nov. 30, 66-58 behind Jason Grunkemeyer's 20 points. Marshall won on the road at No. 24 (ap) Dayton on Dec. 2, 67-65 as Tamar Slay popped in 19 points. Ohio has a chance to add to the MAC victim list this week as the Bobcats play ranked teams Virginia and Wisconsin, and Miami has an opportunity to claim another ranked victim Saturday at Notre Dame.

BeLeagured:
The MAC has had its best early season success against teams from the Atlantic 10, compiling a 4-1 record with wins over Dayton, Duquesne, St. Bonaventure and Temple and a loss to Xavier. The next MAC-A10 matchup is Rhode Island at Akron on Wednesday. Last year the MAC held a slim 5-4 advantage versus teams from the A10.

Akron (1-2, 0-0 MAC East):
The Zips dropped two games last week at the Syracuse Invitational, including an 81-51 setback at the hands of the host Orangemen, the nation's 20th ranked team. Sporting a new lineup with the loss of four senior starters from last year's squad, the Zips are led in scoring by senior-forward Nate Schindewolf with a 14.0 ppg average. Schindewolf posted a career-high 26 points in a season-opening 79-68 win at Oakland and was named East Division Player of the Week for the outing. This week the Zips host Rhode Island (12/6) in their home opener and play the University of Alabama (12/9) in Birmingham.

Bowling Green (2-1, 0-0 MAC East):
The defending league champions had a solid 15-point win over Duquesne on Saturday, marking BG's 18th consecutive home court victory. Junior center Len Matela grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds and added 25 points in the win and made 9-of-14 field goal attempts. Matela, who shot 61.9% from the field last year, is connecting on 63.0% (17-of-27) this season. Matela also tops the MAC rebounding list with an 11.7 per game average. Falcon ball handler Brandon Pardon has a MAC-leading 32 assists in three games (10.7 avg.) and Keith McLeod's 2.7 steals per game is also tops in the league. Much like last year when they led the MAC and ranked fourth in the nation (49.2%) in field goal percentage, the Falcons are shooting at a 52.2% clip this year, the only MAC team over 50.0% from the field. BG faces Urbana on Saturday (Dec. 9) in its next home encounter and also has home dates with Wilmington College (Dec. 21).

Buffalo (0-3, 0-0 MAC East):
The Bulls host Duquesne (12/5) for their fourth consecutive home game. The Bulls' lone road game scheduled to date (11/20) at Canisius was cancelled due to bad weather. This marks the first time UB has played its first four games at home since Alumni Arena opened in December of 1983. Prior to the game with Duquesne, ESPN and ABC analyst Dick Vitale will be in attendance to speak to fans and meet with the teams. On the court, UB's Jason Robinson played all 45 minutes in the 80-78 overtime loss to Niagara. Robinson, a junior-forward who transferred in from Seward County CC in Kansas, scored a career-high 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, also a career-best. Following Tuesday's game, UB is on the road for its next four games, starting with nationally ranked North Carolina (12/17).

Kent State (2-3, 0-0 MAC East):
The Golden Flashes will be looking to win two consecutive games for the first time this season when they host Youngstown (12/6) for the 35th meeting in the series. KSU has won the last three games versus the Penguins for a 20-14 series advantage. The loss of the graduated 6-8 center John Whorton, who led KSU in rebounding the last three years, has seen the Flashes' early-season rebounding margin drop to -5.2 per game, 12th in the league. KSU split a pair of games at the Coca-Cola Classic in Milwaukee, beating Centenary, 61-47, after an 89-85 overtime loss to Cal-State Northridge. CSN hit a three-point goal at the buzzer in regulation for a 77-77 tie, spoiling the Golden Flashes' rally from a 51-40 deficit with 16:22 to play. In the win over Centenary, senior-guard Andrew Mitchell scored all 14 of his points in the second half.

Marshall (3-1, 0-0 MAC East):
The Thundering Herd won a road game versus No. 24 ranked Dayton before a boisterous crowd of 12,026 at UD Arena. The win was head coach Greg White's 71st at Marshall, tying him with his former head coach Bob Zuffelato and Bob Daniels for fourth place on the school's all-time list. It was also Marshall's first win over a ranked team since beating No. 23 Wake Forest during the 1997-98 campaign. The Herd has a chance to extend its winning streak, now at two games, as its next five games are at home. Versus non-conference foes at home, White has an unblemished 19-0 record that includes triumphs over Wake Forest, UMass (twice), Georgia and Dayton. Junior guard Tamar Slay, who had 19 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots versus the Flyers, leads the MAC with a 22.5 ppg average. Slay paced the league in scoring last year with a 19.9 clip.

Miami (3-3, 0-0 MAC East):
The RedHawks rebounded from an early 1-3 start with wins against No. 15 Temple and unranked Wisconsin-Green Bay to even its record. Miami will look to go over the .500 barrier Wednesday night at home versus Dayton before successive road games at No. 10 Notre Dame (12/9), Wright State (12/19) and George Mason (12/22). The win over the Owls marked the second time in three years Miami has opened its home slate with a win over a ranked team (beat Tennessee in 1998). Senior guard Jason Grunkemeyer scored a game-high 20 points and added three assists and a steal in the win over Temple. He also nailed five three-point goals as Miami's non-conference home winning streak reached 20 games. Junior guard Doug Davis, a transfer from Michigan State, has put together two solid back-to-back games with 14 points off the bench versus Temple and a career- and game-high 16 points versus UWGB. Davis has also connected on all 15 of his free throw attempts. Frontcourt player Mike Ensminger, at 6-7, 235 lbs., leads the RedHawks in rebounding (6.8) and, oddly, assists (2.7) per game. Miami is allowing a league-low of 56.5 ppg and the 42 scored by UWGB was the fewest by an opponent in the last 113 games.

Ohio (2-0, 0-0 MAC East):
The Bobcats will put their perfect 2-0 record on the line this week against two ranked teams. Wednesday (12/6) Ohio is at No. 16/19 (ap/espn) Virginia and will follow with a game on Saturday (12/9) at No. 17/20 Wisconsin. Last year Ohio was 0-2 versus ranked teams, losing to No. 1 Cincinnati and No. 19 Wake Forest. The Bobcats' last win over a ranked team was 12/4/98 in a 61-55 decision at Syracuse. Sophomore forward Brandon Hunter has two double-doubles in as many games. Hunter most recently added to his totals with 20 points and 13 rebounds in the 77-64 win over Niagara. Guard Dustin Ford, who led the MAC in assist-turnover ratio last year (3.16) has 13 assists to just two miscues through the first two games. Junior Patrick Flomo has 12 blocked shots after having 37 through all of last season. Ohio is in the midst of five consecutive road games and eight of nine road games in December.

Ball State (2-3, 0-0 MAC West):
Under first-year head coach Tim Buckley, the Cardinals face a challenging field this week at the Ameritech Indiana Classic. BSU will play Texas Tech on Friday (12/8) and then either Indiana or fellow MAC member Western Michigan on Saturday (12/9). Three Cardinals are averaging in double figures after five games - Theron Smith (15.6), Patrick Jackson (14.6) and Josh Murray (11.8). Jackson's average is up considerably from his 7.6 ppg last season. Smith tallied his third double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds versus Princeton in the championship game of the First Merchants Classic. The 2000 MAC Freshman of the Year also has double-doubles versus Anderson (22/12) and IUPUI (19/12). Central Michigan (4-1, 0-0 MAC West) The Chippewas, preseason pick to finish third in the West Division and a winner of just six games last year, had won their first four games this year before an 85-73 loss to Illinois State on Sunday (12/3). The 4-0 start was the best at CMU since the 1980-81 squad went 5-0 to begin the year. CMU has also won both of its road games to match last year's road win total. David Webber, who made a late season splash to conclude the 1999-2000 season with 96 points in his last three games, has picked off where he left off with a team-leading 19.4 ppg this season. Senior guard Tim Kisner racked up a career-high 20 points in the loss to ISU and he now ranks fifth in CMU history with 125 three-point goals. The school mark is 186 held by Sander Scott (1989-93). Kisner also was 14-of-15 from the line in the Chippewas' two games last week. CMU's freshman center, Gerrit Brigitha, has posted double figures in three straight games with a career-best 20 versus ISU. The 6-8 Brigitha is shooting 61.3% (19-of-30) from the field.

Eastern Michigan (0-4, 0-0 MAC West):
The Eagles have yet to win under first year head coach Jim Boone heading into this week's schedule that features IUPUI at home (12/6) and versus Iona at the Marshall Memorial Classic in Huntington, W.Va. In the loss to Wisconsin-Green Bay (11/29) senior-forward Tyson Radney set an Convocation Center record with 19 rebounds, eclipsing the former standard of 16 set by EMU's Calvin Warner 2/20/99 versus Western Michigan. In Saturday's (12/2) 86-70 loss to Tennessee Tech, freshmen Ricky Cottrill (20) and Ryan Hopkins (10) had career highs. Cottrill is averaging 21 minutes per game off the bench. Senior-guard Mosi Barnes, who was limited to 14 games last year due to a knee injury, saw his first action at Tech and scored five points, grabbed four rebounds and had four assists in 12 minutes.

Northern Illinois (0-5, 0-0 MAC West):
The Huskies' 0-5 start is their first such since the 1977-78 campaign. Junior forward Leon Rodgers is leading NIU in scoring (16.8) and rebounding (7.8). Mike Brown is shooting 59.1% (13-of-22) from three-point range and is posting 14.8 ppg. Freshman Al Sewasciuk, at forward, and Walter Thompson, at guard, were in the starting lineup against UIC in the 84-64 loss to the Flames. Another freshman, Marcus Smallwood, added 13 points on a 5-of-6 shooting. Despite the 20-point loss, Matt Nelson tied a career-high with four blocked shots. Nelson had just six blocks all of last year.

Toledo (5-0, 0-0 MAC West):
Winners of five straight this year and 16 of 17 dating back to last year, the Rockets are off to yet another great start under Stan Joplin. Two years ago, Joplin's team bolted to a 10-0 start with wins against Ohio State, Xavier and Dayton. Two-time Player of the Week Greg Stempin leads the Rockets again with his 20.0 ppg and 7.4 rpg averages. December will challenge UT as the schedule shows games at St. Bonaventure (12/8), home versus Oakland (12/16), a tournament at Fresno State (12/19-20) and a game at Gund Arena versus Conference USA and national power Cincinnati (12/30). Freshman guard Terry Reynolds has been a pleasant surprise with his team-leading 5.8 apg, which also ranks fourth in the MAC. Nick Moore has stepped up to lead the Rockets in field goal percentage (60.0%, 18-of-30) and three-point field goal percentage (60.0%, 12-of-18). His 6-of-6 from three-point range tied a school record.

Western Michigan (0-5, 0-0 MAC West):
The Broncos are looking for their first win under first-year head coach Robert McCullum. This week WMU plays in the Indiana Classic in Bloomington with a first-round matchup against Big Ten power Indiana. WMU's second game in the tournament will be either Texas Tech or MAC member Ball State. The Broncos then close out the month with home games against Ohio (12/16), Detroit (12/21) and Oakland (12/30). Western does lead the MAC in steals per game (8.8) and is second in turnover margin (+4.2). Newcomer Steve Reynolds, a transfer from Treasure Valley CC, leads the Broncos in scoring with 16.0 ppg and rebounding at 6.4 per game.