MAC Men’s Basketball East Division Player of the Week
Julian Mavunga, Miami
Senior, Forward, Indianapolis, Ind. (Brownsburg)
Mavunga was a catalyst behind Miami’s knocking off the top two MAC West Division teams last week, the first-back-to-back wins for the RedHawks this season. Mavunga put together an impressive stat line against Eastern Michigan that earned him ESPN Stats & Info Player of the Night distinction. He tallied 19 points and career highs of 19 rebounds and 8 assists against the Eagles, contributing to 35 of the RedHawks’ 62 points (57.89 percent of its scoring). The 19 rebounds are the most by a MAC player this season. They equal the most by a Miami player since John Estick in 1998 and are the most since Ron Harper’s 23 in 1986. Mavunga pulled down two crucial defensive rebounds, had a blocked shot and assisted on the two buckets, including the game-tying triple over the last 1:08, as Miami overcame and 11-point deficit in the last 3:28 of regulation to force overtime against the Eagles. He recorded eight points—all from the free-throw line—and had an assist in overtime as the RedHawks scored 16 points in the extra five minutes. Mavunga came back with a 10-point, 10-rebound, 5-assist performance at Ball State where he accounted for 22 of Miami’s 59 points (37.28 of its scoring). Mavunga has recorded double-doubles in four-straight games and has 13 double-doubles this season and 27 for his career .For the week, he averaged 14.5 ppg, 14.5 rpg and 6.5 apg while shooting 40 percent from the field and 77.3 percent from the free-throw line. He never came off the floor in either game.
MAC Men’s Basketball West Division Player of the Week
Rian Pearson, Toledo
Sophomore, Guard, UW-Green Bay
Pearson averaged 27.5 ppg and 10.5 rpg and shot 81.0 percent (17-of-21) from the free-throw line while playing a team-high 36.5 minutes per game against Akron and Buffalo. The MAC’s leading scorer in league play at 19.3 ppg, Pearson scored a career-high 29 points against Akron and finished one shy of his personal rebounding best with 12 boards against the MAC East Division leaders to register his sixth double-double. He also sank a career-high 11-of-12 free throws against the Zips. In Saturday's contest vs. Buffalo , Pearson produced his eighth 20-point outing of the season and finished with a game-high 26 points and grabbed a team-high eight boards. The Raytown, MO native is the only player in the MAC to appear in the Top 10 of the conference rankings in scoring (17.3 ppg), third in rebounds (8.0 rpg) and fifth in steals (1.7 spg).
Zeke Marshall, Akron
Junior, Center, McKeesport, Pa. (McKeesport)
Marshall helped Akron to two double-digit victories over the week, including an 86-72 win over Toledo and a 77-47 victory over Eastern Michigan. For the week, Marshall averaged 12.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.5 blocked shots and 2.0 assists per game while shooting 56.3 percent from the field (9-of-16). Against Toledo, he finished with 14 points, five boards and five blocked shots while connecting on 6-of-9 from the field (66.7 percent). In the contest against Eastern Michigan, he posted 11 points, five boards and four blocked shots. He passed Ohio¹s Patrick Flomo (1998-2002) for sixth place on the MAC career blocked shots list with his 224th swat. He leads the MAC in blocked shots (73) and blocked shots per game, in addition to blocking 23 shots in the last five games (4.6 bpg).
Jordon Crawford, Bowling Green
Junior, Guard, Cincinnati, Ohio (La Salle)
Crawford, who stands just 5-foot-6, averaged 15.5 points and 7.0 assists per game as Bowling Green won a pair of MAC contests by more than 20 points this week. The team opened the week by handing Western Michigan its first home loss of the season in a 72-48 blowout. Bowling Green led by just two points at the half but Crawford had 13 points, seven assists and two steals in the final 20 minutes as the Falcons outscored the Broncos by 22 in the second half. Bowling Green put its second game of the week away by outscoring Northern Illinois 41-16 in the first half and Crawford was again instrumental, posting six points and six assists in the first stanza. The MAC leader in assists in conference games, Crawford also 65 percent from the floor on the week, made 3-of-5 three-point attempts and was 75 percent at the free-throw line.
Mitchell Watt, Buffalo
Senior, Forward, Goodyear, Ariz. (Desert Edge)
Watt averaged 16.5 points, 10 rebounds, 4 assists and 3.5 blocks to lead the Bulls to a pair of victories on the week. Against Ball State, Watt had 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists and five blocked shots. In a win over Toledo, Watt had nine points, a career-high 13 rebounds, four assists and a blocked shot. He pulled down 10 rebounds in the second half alone to help the Bulls rally from 13 down to defeat the Rockets, 72-65.
Randal Holt, Kent State
Junior, Guard, Cleveland, Ohio
Holt hit key shots for the Golden Flashes in both games this week as he averaged 18.5 points and 3.0 assists while leading Kent State to a pair of wins that extended the team's win streak to four straight. The 6'1" junior guard racked up a game high 22 points on 7-10 from the field and 4-5 from three in a 67-60 win at Central Michigan on Tuesday. Holt totaled 15 of his points in the first half, including a three-pointer in the final seconds that tied the game 32-32. Kent State would never trail again in the game. After a 9-0 Central Michigan run cut the lead to two points in the second half, Holt ended a 4:30 scoring drought for Kent State by knocking down his fourth three of the game to end the threat. On Saturday in a 78-73 overtime win over Western Michigan, Holt scored 14 points and saved his clutch performances for the last few minutes as the Golden Flashes forced the extra session by erasing a five-point deficit with 2:30 left. First Holt tied the game with a three-pointer from the right corner, then after a Kent State defensive stop, he hit his second straight three that put the Golden Flashes up 64-61 with 1:27 remaining. In overtime he blocked a shot then went coast to coast for a fast break lay-up that put the Golden Flashes up eight points with one minute left. He ended the night by adding four assists and two steals. During MAC play Holt ranks top 10 in the league in scoring, 14.7 ppg (sixth) and three-point field goals made per game, 2.3 (4th).
Walter Offutt, Ohio
Junior, Guard, Indianapolis Ind. (Warren Central)
Offutt matched his career-high with 19 points and set a new personal best at the free-throw line (9-9) as the Bobcats held on for a win at Northern Illinois on Wednesday. He then scored 12 of his game-high 17 points in the second half to lead Ohio to a rout of Central Michigan on Saturday afternoon. Offutt is 13th in the league in scoring (top-10 in MAC play) while shooting 49^% against MAC foes. Also in league play, he is fifth in steals and among the top-10 in three-point field goal percentage (13th in three’s per game).
Flenard Whitfield, Western Michigan
Senior, Forward, Detroit, Mich. (Martin Luther King)
Whitfield was a crucial component of the Broncos’ offense and defense this past weekend, leading the team with an average of 13.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game, and recording his second double-double of the season against Kent State. Whitfield scored 18 points and posted a game-high 11 rebounds against Kent State on Saturday; he was one of two Broncos to record a double-double in the game, joining Demetrius Ward (21 pts, 10 rbds). Whitfield shot 7-of-13 from the field and added an assist. Against Bowling Green on Wednesday, Whitfield notched nine points and added a team-high eight rebounds.