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MAC Men's Basketball East Division Co-Players of the Week
Antonio Ballard, Miami, Forward
Senior, Jeffersonville, Ind. (Jeffersonville)
Ballard led Miami to a dramatic triple-overtime win at rival Ohio with a career-high 26 points and a season-high and game-high 12 rebounds to snap a three-game losing streak. It was the second double-double of the season for Ballard and the fourth of his career and the first time he has surpassed the 20-point plateau in his career. He shot a strong 66.7 percent from the field, going 8-for-12, including a perfect 2-for-2 from 3-point range. Ballard was near perfect from the line, sinking 8-of-9 attempts (88.9). The 6-foot-4 Ballard was a beast on the glass, leading Miami to a season-high 50 rebounds on the day-13 more than the RedHawks have had in any other game in this season-and a +18 advantage on the board. He tallied five of the RedHawks' 20 offensive boards, helping MU earn 19 second chance points to Ohio's 2. Ballard also added two assists to his line. He played a career-high 55 minutes, coming out for just 20 seconds during the entire game. He had two key defensive rebounds and sunk two important free throws in the third overtime to lift Miami to the win. Ballard led Miami to its first true road win of the season and its first since Feb. 6, 2010. He also led Miami to its first win at Ohio since Jan. 29, 2006. The game was the fourth triple overtime game in Miami history and the second against the Bobcats. Miami is 3-1 in triple overtime games and 2-0 against Ohio in triple overtime. It also was the first time Miami has won its MAC opener when playing on the road since the 2006 season. His 26 points also helped Miami score its most points (92) since a 94-66 2OT win over Northwestern State on Dec. 6, 2008 and its most in a MAC game since Jan.5, 2002 in a 100-94 2OT win at Central Michigan.
Zeke Marshall, Akron, Center
Sophomore, McKeesport, Pa. (McKeesport)
Marshall helped the Zips to a 2-0 record last week, including an 84-80 vs. Oral Roberts on Jan. 3 and a 65-62 vs. Kent State to open MAC play on Jan. 8. Against Oral Roberts, he posted 12 points on 6-for-8 shooting (.750) while swatting four shots in 25 minutes. His four-block performance was his fourth four-block game of the year. Against Kent State, Marshall led the Zips with game-highs in points (20), rebounds (11) and blocks (3). With the Zips trailing by two points with 4:38 left in the game, Marshall provided Akron with an 8-0 run over the next 3:34 to give the Zips a 61-55 lead. He also had one block and two rebounds during the stretch. For the week, he averaged 16.0 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.5 blocks, 1.0 steals and 1.0 assists while shooting 63.6 percent from the field (14-for-22) and 66.7 percent from the line (4-for-6).
MAC Men's Basketball West Division Player of the Week
Jarrod Jones, Ball State, Forward
Junior, Michigan City, Ind. (Michigan City)
Jones led the Cardinals to a 2-0 week and a 1-0 start in Mid-American Conference play as he averaged 22.0 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. Jones posted back-to-back double-doubles against SIU Edwardsville and Northern Illinois to lead the Cardinals to 9-4. He shot 65.5 percent (19-of-29) from the field in the two games. He scored 19 points and grabbed 11 rebounds against SIUE to open the week. He followed that up with a 25-point, 12-rebound effort in the MAC opener at Northern Illinois. He hit 10-of-18 from the field against the Huskies and posted 14 points in the first half. On the season, he is averaging 16.8 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per contest.
Scott Thomas, Bowling Green, Forward
Junior, Ashley, Ohio (Buckeye Valley)
Thomas recorded his third double-double of the year, leading Bowling Green to a MAC-opening double overtime road victory at Buffalo. Thomas was 8-of-12 shooting and made 1-of-2 from three-point range for 19 points, adding 11 rebounds, including three on the offensive glass. Thomas also had three assists, two steals and a blocked shot, while playing 46 of the 50 total minutes.
Javon McCrea, Buffalo, Forward
Freshman, Newark, NY (Newark)
McCrea averaged 12.5 points and 7 rebounds on the week while shooting 12-of-14 from the floor for the two games. The freshman forward had a career-high 18 points and added nine rebounds, three blocks and two steals in 26 minutes against Bowling Green. Against Cornell, McCrea had seven points, five rebounds, two blocks, two steals in only 14 minutes.
Trey Zeigler, Central Michigan, Guard
Freshman, Mount Pleasant, Mich.
Zeigler scored a game-high 22 points, including the game-tying basket with 2.8 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime in the Mid-American Conference opener for Central Michigan at Western Michigan on Sunday. Zeigler also finished the game with two assists for the Chippewas. The freshman leads all freshman scorers in the MAC with 15.8 points per game and has led CMU in scoring in eight of its 13 games this season.
Brandon Bowdry, Eastern Michigan, Forward
Senior, St. Louis, Mo.-Taylor (Mich.) Truman
Bowdry turned in the 31st and 32nd double-doubles of his career with 18 points and 11 rebounds in a 76-60 win over Ferris State, Jan. 4, and came back with 19 points and 13 rebounds in a 71-48 win at Toledo, Jan. 8, in the 2011 Mid-American Conference opener. He also had three assists in each game.
Tim Toler, Northern Illinois, Forward
Junior, Indianapolis, Ind. (Avon HS/Danville Area CC)
Toler averaged 14.5 points and 7.o rebounds in two games against Iowa State and Ball State. Toler began the week by recording a career-best 10 rebounds against the Cyclones, Toler also scored seven points in the contest. He then netted a new career-best 22 points in the conference opener against Ball State. Toler also had four rebounds and three assists against the Cardinals.
D.J. Cooper, Ohio, Guard
Sophomore, Chicago, Ill. (Seton Academy)
Cooper's 27 points and 11 assists were each game-highs and his five rebounds were a team-high. The freshman recorded his fourth double-double of the season and scored in double-figure for the sixth game in a row. Cooper is averaging 19.2 points per game and has scored 20 points or more in six contests.
Demetrius Ward, Western Michigan, Guard
Junior, Detroit, Mich. (Pershing)
Ward scored 20 points for the second time this season and for the second time in his career, matching his career high of 21 points in Western Michigan's 63-56 OT win over Central Michigan to open the MAC season. Ward scored 19 of his 21 points in the second half an in overtime, making 7-of-8 free throws in the extra session to seal the win. In fact, Ward was 12-for-14 from the line with all attempts coming in the second half and overtime. Ward improved to shooting 65.4 percent from the free throw line the final two minutes and/or overtime of a game (17-for-26) with his 7-for-8 performance in overtime against CMU.