Wednesday's MAC Men's Basketball Results
Northern Illinois 65, Toledo 61
Buffalo 74, Akron 70
Ball State 71, Central Michigan 52
Eastern Michigan 54, Western Michigan 53
Kent State 68, Ohio 61
Bowling Green 56, Miami 51
Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
Eastern Michigan 54, Western Michigan 53
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) — Senior guard Darrell Lampley (Linden, N.J.-Linden-Lakeland C.C.) hit a four-foot teardrop floating jumper on the right side of the lane with one second left to give the Eastern Michigan University men's basketball team a 54-53 win over Western Michigan University here Wednesday, Feb. 29, in University Arena in a Mid-American Conference West Division game.
Lampley's winning shot, which bounced three times before finding the bottom of the net, was set up after Western took a 53-52 lead on a layup and foul shot by Flenard Whitfield with just 17.2 seconds left.
The Eagles worked the ball down court with junior Derek Thompson (Detroit, Mich.-Melvindale-SEMO) dishing off to Lampley for the winning drive to the basket.
Western then tried a court-length pass that went out of bounds, giving the Eagles possession under their own bucket. Lampley inbounded the ball to junior center Matt Balkema (Roseville, Mich.-Warren Cousino) as the buzzer sounded ending the game.
The win helped the Eagles improve to 9-6 in the MAC and gave EMU its first-ever MAC West Division title. Eastern is now 14-16 overall in Head Coach Rob Murphy's first year at the helm.
Lampley led the Eagles with 15 points while senior guard Antonio Green (Inkster, Mich.-Dearborn Heights Robichaud) added 12. The Eagles shot 40.4 percent from the field, making 19-of-47 shots and hit 84.6 percent from the charity stripe, making 11-of-13.
Western Michigan, now 12-18 overall and 6-9 in the league, was paced by Mike Douglas with 15 and Whitfield with 14. Western also held a 29-25 edge on the boards.
Thompson hit the first basket of the game on a short jumper, but WMU would score the next six points for a quick 6-2 lead in the first five minutes.
The home squad would go on to build a seven-point edge, 13-6, before Eastern would once again cut into that deficit, making it a three-point game, 13-10, on two free throws by Lampley with 9:15 left in the half.
The Eagles would keep chipping away at the deficit, trimming it to one, 21-20, on a short hook by junior forward Jamell Harris (Euclid, Ohio-Euclid) at the 3:36 mark.
Green would connect on a triple from the left corner to tie the game at 23-all with 46.4 left in the half.
Western's Shayne Wittington would score on a dunk with 14.1 seconds left in the half, but EMU redshirt sophomore J.R. Sims (Fort Wayne, Ind.-Snider) would put an exclamation point on the first half with a three at the buzzer to give the Eagles a 26-26 halftime lead.
The shooting stats were similar in the first half with EMU making 9-of-23 field-goal attempts for 39.1 percent while the Broncos were making 10-of-24 for 41.7 percent. Eastern had a 26-25 edge in rebounding.
Sims and Harris both finished the half with six points while Flenard Whitfield paced the Broncos with eight points.
After the Broncos opened the second half on a basket the Eagles would run off eight unanswered points to take a 34-27 lead 16:51 left.
The Broncos would slowly chip away at that deficit over the next 10 minutes and eventually gain a 40-40 tie on two free throws by Whitfield at the 7:12 mark.
The Eagles would meet that challenge and go up by six, 48-42, with 5:50 left on a three from Green, but Western would once again answer the call, with Whitfield making the first of two free throws to tie the game at 50-all with 1:02 left in the game.
Thompson would then score on a driving layup to give the Eagles a 52-50 lead, but his second free throw would miss the mark, giving the Broncos possession with 39.1 seconds left and setting up the final flurry of activity over the game's final few seconds.
The Eagles are scheduled to close out the 2011-12 regular season Saturday, March 3, in a MAC West Division battle with the University of Toledo Rockets. Game time is 2 p.m.
Buffalo 74, Akron 70
AKRON, OH - Tony Watson scored Buffalo's final nine points of the game, including six straight free throws in the final minute of the game to seal a 74-70 win over Akron Wednesday evening. The Bulls (18-9, 11-4 MAC) came back from a 38-34 halftime deficit to pull the road upset over the East Division-leading Zips (20-10, 12-3 MAC). Mitchell Watt added a game-high 22 points on 11-15 shooting from the field, but Watson's career-high 14 would prove to be the difference.
"Our guys really fought to the end and persevered in a tough environment," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "We came in locked in and showed great poise down the stretch. It was a total team effort. Our guys did a great job making Akron take tough shots."
After an anxious opening to the game that featured numerous turnovers by both teams, the game settled into a heavyweight bout, with three lead changes and six ties in total and the largest lead either way being a six-point advantage for Akron with 3:02 to play in the first half. Despite holding a 14-2 deficit in free throw attempts, the Bulls hung in thanks to 10 points from Watt and Javon McCrea and five points and five rebounds from Dave Barnett, including a soaring tip-dunk on a UB miss.
Buffalo made its comeback in the second half thanks to an efficient offense that shot 63.6 percent from the field over the final 20 minutes (14-22), and largely gave up on its long-distance shooting thanks to standout play inside from the senior Watt. Mixing in leaning hook shots with driving lay-ups, Watt was a crucial cog in the offense in the middle section of the final period.
The second half was one for the ages, as the teams traded huge shots and neither team pulling away despite an early 11-2 surge by Buffalo in the first five and a half minutes that gave it a 45-40 lead over the Zips. After Buffalo topped out its lead at seven with a 57-50 lead with 9:09 remaining in the game, the home Zips forced two turnovers and cut it back down to one in a span of just 90 seconds. The two teams then traded baskets, with Akron unable to put together a stop and score to retake the lead.
Akron guard Alex Abreu carried the team throughout the second half, scoring 12 of his team-high 18 to keep the pesky Zips within striking distance. With just over four minutes left in the game and the Bulls ahead 63-62, Watt hit an acrobatic layup to force an Akron timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Akron missed a layup and Watson snuck in for the rebound before taking it down court and stroking his second three pointer of the day to give the team a six point lead.
After another Abreu three cut down Buffalo's lead back to one, Watson was immediately fouled and coolly sank both free throws. An Akron airball went out of bounds, and Watson hit two more free throws after the next inbounds pass. They would prove to be critical, as senior Nikola Cvetinovic made a three with 22 seconds left to make the score 72-70 with the Bulls needing to get the ball in bounds under heavy pressure. Watson not only got the ball, but got loose and was able to kill off almost 10 seconds of game clock before being fouled and sinking another pair of free throws to ice the game.
The Bulls used a terrific bench effort to claim a 23-6 advantage in bench points in the second half. Titus Robinson scored seven points, Barnett had four points and three rebounds and Watson added his 12 in the second half alone. The team had 40 points in the paint and 15 second-chance points.
With the win, the Bulls have now clinched at least a top-four seed in the upcoming Mid-American Conference tournament and have won on Feb. 29 for the first time since 1972. With an Akron loss at Kent State on Friday night and a Buffalo win over Bowling Green Saturday at 6 pm, the Bulls will win a share of the regular season title and earn the top overall seed in the tournament. No matter the outcome in the Akron game on Friday, a win over Bowling Green would clinch at least the second seed and a bye to the tournament semifinal.
It will also be senior day for a quartet of Bulls – Mitchell Watt, Titus Robinson, Dave Barnett, and Zach Filzen. Tickets are still available for the 6 pm tip, with the game scheduled to be broadcasted live on Sports Time Ohio.
Kent State 68, Ohio 61
KENT, Ohio – Kent State (20-9; 10-5 MAC) clinched a bye into the Mid-American Conference Tournament quarterfinals and kept two impressive steaks alive with a 68-61 win over Ohio (23-7; 10-5 MAC) Wednesday night at the M.A.C. Center.
In addition to the bye, the Golden Flashes posted their 14th consecutive season with at least 10 league wins joining a select group that also includes only Kansas, Gonzaga and Creighton. The victory was also win No. 20 for Kent State making the storied program one of just eight teams (Kansas, Duke, Syracuse, Gonzaga, Kentucky, Creighton & Florida) in the nation to have had 20+ wins in at least 13 of the last 14 years.
With only the regular season finale against neighboring rival Akron to go, the Golden Flashes find themselves in a tie for third place with Ohio in the MAC East Division and overall standings, trailing Akron (12-3), Buffalo (11-4).
The Golden Flashes were led by 20 points from junior guard Randal Holt (Cleveland, Ohio) and a 16-point, nine-rebound effort from senior forward Justin Greene (Brooklyn, N.Y.), but it was the team’s defensive energy in the first half that told the story. Kent State record 14 steals and forced 15 Ohio turnovers in the opening period which led to a 17-2 advantage in points of turnovers. Behind the swarming defense, the Golden Flashes went on a 25-5 run and led by as many as 18 in the final minutes of the half before going into the locker room up 41-27.
In the second half, Ohio slowing chipped away at the lead as Kent State went nearly 10 minutes without a field goal. The drought was finally ended in authoritative fashion as senior guard Michael Porrini (Massillon, Ohio) found junior forward Chris Evans (Chesapeake, Va.) for an alley-oop dunk with 2:11 left that gave the Golden Flashes an eight-point advantage.
Ohio answered with a jump shot and a 3-pointer on their next two possessions to narrow Kent State’s lead to three points with 1:33 left to play. Holt then hit two key free throws on the other end for the Golden Flashes as the team eventually sealed the game at the foul line connecting on 9-12 in the time remaining.
Evans joined Holt and Greene in double digits with 12 points while adding four steals of the team's season high 18 steals.
Kent State closes out the regular season against Akron on Friday. Game time is 7:00 pm and can been seen on ESPN2. Call 330-672-2244 for ticket information Follow the action on the radio at WNIR 100.1 FM or listen online at www.kentstatesports.com.
Northern Illinois 65, Toledo 61
DEKALB, Ill. -- The Northern Illinois men’s basketball team held Toledo scoreless for the final 4:27 of the contest, helping the Huskies earn a 65-61 comeback victory Wednesday night on Senior Night at the NIU Convocation Center. The Huskies finished the game on an 8-0 run to erase a four-point deficit and earn the victory.
Freshman wing Abdel Nader (Skokie, Ill./Niles North) led NIU with 12 points and sophomore forward Aksel Bolin (Asker, Norway/Asker) added 10 points and a game-high eight rebounds in the victory.
“What a finish,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. “It was an interesting game. They got ahead of us; we came back and took the lead at the half. It all came together today; I always say that if we can have four-or-five guys score around eight points we are going to be in games. We did some different things, we pressed, we played some zone, and I thought a few key possessions down the stretch helped us win the game.”
NIU committed just 10 turnovers in the contest, just two in the second half, and used an 18-7 advantage in second-chance points to pick up the victory.
After Reese Holliday made a pair of free throws to put Toledo up 61-57 with 4:27 left, junior guard Tony Nixon (South Holland, Ill./Seton Academy) cut the Rocket lead in half, 61-59, with a short jumper.
The Huskies then used a 1-3-1 zone to slow down the Rocket offense, forcing a turnover.
Freshmen forward Keith Gray (Chicago, Ill./Brooks Academy) put the Huskies is front, 62-61, with an old-fashioned three-point play with 3:32 to go.
With the Huskies staying in the zone, as they would for much of the remainder of the contest, NIU got another defense stop, followed by a layup by Keith Gray to give the Huskies a three-point lead with just under three minutes remaining.
The score remained 64-61 into the closing moments, when a shot clock violation gave Toledo the ball with 7.8 seconds remaining.
On the ensuing inbounds play, freshman guard Marquavese Ford (Saginaw, Mich./Saginaw) came up with a steal, forcing the Rockets to foul. Ford split the free throws and the Huskies came away with the four-point win.
Dominique Buckley led Toledo with 16 points; Julius Brown added 12 and Curtis Dennis finished with 11 points for the Rockets.
Trailing by a pair in the early going, Toledo used an 11-0 run to take a 13-4 lead with 14:13 to play in the first half.
The Toledo lead would reach as much as a dozen, but an 11-2 run for the Huskies pulled NIU within a pair, 30-28, with 3:13 left before the half. Nixon started the run with a pair of free throws before freshman guard Stian Berg (Baerum, Norway/Norges Toppidretts Gymnas) sandwiched a pair of triples around a Toledo basket. Bolin then added a trifecta from the wing, cutting the Rocket to lead two.
The Huskie run reached 17-2, giving NIU a 34-30 lead with 42 seconds left in the half. Bolin converted an old-fashioned three-point play to put the Huskies in front and Berg connected on his third triple of the half to give NIU a four-point lead.
Toledo scored the first seven points to begin the second half, taking a 39-34 lead two-and-a-half minutes in to the second stanza.
The Rocket lead hovered around a half-dozen until a pair of free throws by Rian Pierson put the Rockets up eight, 57-49, with 7:27 to play.
A pair of free throws by Keith Gray and four points from Nader got NIU within a deuce, 57-55. After Holliday made a pair from the charity stripe and senior forward Tyler Storm (Geneseo, Ill./Geneseo) answered with a jumper, Holliday connected on two more from the line, Toledo’s final points of the night, giving the Rockets a four-point lead.
The Huskies outscored Toledo 16-4 in the final seven-and-a-half minutes of the contest.
Northern Illinois will conclude the regular season on Saturday, March 3, when it travels to Muncie, Ind., to face Ball State. Game time against the Cardinals is slated for 1 p.m. CT.
Bowling Green 56, Miami 51
Bowling Green, Ohio – The Bowling Green State University men’s basketball team swept the season series from Miami (Ohio) for the first time since 2001-02, defeating the RedHawks 56-51 Wednesday night in the Stroh Center on Senior Night. The Falcons honored seniors Torian Oglesby, Dee Brown, and Scott Thomas in their final regular season home game.
The win closed out a successful month for the Falcons, as the team went 7-2 in February. Bowling Green has won six consecutive home games to improve to 12-3 in the Stroh Center in the first year of the arena’s existence. Despite the win, the Falcons have been eliminated from contention for a bye to the MAC Tournament quarterfinals thanks to Kent State’s victory over Ohio.
That event means Bowling Green, now 16-13 overall and 9-6 in MAC play, will finish the year as either the No. 5 or No. 6 seed and will host a MAC Tournament First Round game on Monday at 7 p.m. in the Stroh Center. That game will be a Dollar Day game with tickets costing just $1.
The Falcons will face one of the bottom two seeds in the Mid-American Conference for the right to advance to the second round in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday, March 7.
Although Bowling Green’s seniors struggled to find their rhythm in their final regular season home game, the class came up big down the stretch. Olgesby, Brown, and Thomas were just 8-of-25 shooting but made big plays after Miami had gone on a 14-0 run to erase a 12-point deficit.
Bowling Green led 41-29 before Miami held the Falcons scoreless for more than seven minutes before a Jordon Crawford three-pointer broke the stretch. The RedHawks built a 47-44 lead with 5:34 to go, but A’uston Calhoun scored on a tough lay-up inside to get the Falcons within one. On Miami’s next possession, Thomas posted his 73rd steal of the year and Brown knocked down his only three-pointer of the night on the ensuing possession.
With the game tied at 49-49 with 2:55 to play, Crawford scored on a pull-up jumper 30 seconds later and Miami’s Brian Sullivan missed a three-pointer to give the RedHawks the lead. On the next possession, Cam Black found Calhoun for an inside basket to make it 53-49. Miami turned it over on the next trip down the floor and Brown converted it into a basket to give the Falcons a 55-49 lead with 1:15 to go that iced the contest.
Bowling Green took care of the basketball, turning it over just nine times on the evening. The Falcons also held a 30-26 rebounding edge, which including 10 offensive rebounds. That combination allowed Bowling Green to attempt five more shots and overcome a night when Miami shot 47 percent from the floor compared to 44 percent for the Falcons. The RedHawks were also just 4-of-10 at the free-throw line to compound the problems.
Crawford led the way with 16 points and added four assists and a steal. Calhoun had 15 points, on 7-of-13 shooting, and four rebounds. Thomas was just one rebound shy of a double-double, finishing with 10 points, nine rebounds, two assists and two steals. Brown had 11 points and four rebounds.
Miami was led by Julian Mavunga, a MAC Player of the Year candidate, who ended with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Jon Harris had 11 points, all in the first half, making three three-pointers. Drew McGhee came off the bench to score 13 points.
Bowling Green had a nine-point first-half lead but Miami stormed back to get within three at the break at 30-27. The Falcons responded by scoring the first nine points of the second half to go ahead by 12 before the RedHawks stormed back.
Miami falls to 9-19 with the loss and 5-10 in MAC play. Bowling Green will close out the regular season at Buffalo Saturday night at 6 p.m. in a game televised on SportsTime Ohio.
Ball State 71, Central Michigan 52
MUNCIE, Ind. – The Ball State men’s basketball team never trailed in 71-52 victory over Central Michigan Wednesday evening in Mid-American Conference West Division action at Worthen Arena. It was BSU’s fifth-straight win over the Chippewas and the Cardinals are now 35-5 all-time versus CMU in Muncie.
“Obviously we have had our struggles here the last few weeks so it was nice to come out and play from the front the whole game,” head coach Billy Taylor said. “Our defense was really stingy tonight and we did a good job of getting the first stop which allowed us to get out in transition. We did a better job tonight finishing in the paint and converting those plays make it easier to step up and hit jump shots.”
Four players scored in double figures for Ball State (14-14 / 5-10 MAC), as it tallied the first four points of the game and never looked back. Sophomore guard Jesse Berry (Lafayette, Ind./Jefferson) led the Cardinals with 15 points in the win, including seven points in a critical 16-5 run in the second half which helped put the contest out of reach.
Sophomore forward Chris Bond (Gary, Ind./Bowman Academy) chipped in 13 points, while senior forward Randy Davis (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth) tallied 12 and sophomore guard Tyrae Robinson (Gary, Ind./Bowman Academy) recorded 10.
Senior forward Jarrod Jones (Michigan City, Ind./Michigan City) continued his march toward 1,000 career rebounds, grabbing a team-high 10 in the contest to up his career total to 968. Only two other players have collected 1,000 career boards in program history; Ed Butler (1961-64) at 1,231 and Randy Boarden (1975-79) at 1,000.
Andre Coimbra led Central Michigan (9-20 / 4-11 MAC) with 16 points and 14 rebounds for his second career double-double, while Trey Zeigler scored 14 points.
For the game, the Cardinals shot 58.1 percent (25-of-43) from the field, including a 60.0 percent (12-of-20) effort in the opening 20 minutes. BSU also hit all three of its three-pointers in the opening half and finished the contest 6-of-11 (54.5 percent).
The Ball State defense limited the Chippewas to a 30.4 percent (21-of-69) effort from the field, including a 23.8 percent (5-of-21) mark from behind the arc.
Ball State came out of the gate quickly and took an early 10-6 lead as Jones scored on back-to-back possessions. The Cardinals opened to a 21-12 lead with an 8-2 run as Berry and Tyler Koch (Winchester, Ind./Wright State) hit three-pointers in the run.
Central Michigan narrowed the gap back down to four points as Trey Zeigler got going on the offensive end. The Cardinals answered with a 7-0 run to force CMU into a timeout as Davis scored five straight, including a three-pointer in the corner to take a 30-19 lead.
The Chippewas responded back with seven straight, beginning with a three-pointer from Olivier Mbaigoto and another basket from Zeigler to narrow the gap to 30-26. The Cardinals scored on the final possession with 3.6 seconds left as freshman forward Aaron Adeoye (Marion, Ill./Marion) scored in the paint to send Ball State into the locker room with a 32-26 lead.
Ball State connected on 60 percent (12-of-20) from the field, including all three three-pointers in the first half. The Cardinals committed 10 first half turnovers but held those miscues to just six points. Jones led the Cardinals with seven points and six rebounds in the half while Davis, Berry and Koch all scored five points.
Central Michigan connected on just 31.6 percent (12-of-38) from the field but took 18 more shots than the Cardinals in large part to 13 offensive rebounds. Zeigler led the Chippewas with 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting while Derek Jackson added five points.
Ball State put the pressure on the Chippewas early in the second half as it scored the first five points to force CMU into an early timeout as Davis nailed another three-pointer. The Cardinals broke the game open with seven straight points on their way to a 16-5 run to extend their lead to 57-39 with 5:42 left in the contest.
Berry was the catalyst in the spurt as he scored seven points in the run while sophomore guard Tyrae Robinson (Gary, Ind./Bowman Academy) converted an acrobatic three-point play to ignite the offense. The Cardinals closed out the 19-point victory down the stretch as Bond scored five points and Berry capped the night with a three-pointer on BSU’s final possession.
Ball State closes out the regular season Saturday afternoon as it hosts Northern Illinois at 2 p.m. at Worthen Arena. The Cardinals will honor seniors Pierre Sneed (Chicago, Ill./Simeon), Randy Davis (Plymouth, Ind./Plymouth) and Jarrod Jones (Michigan City, Ind./Michigan City) before the game on senior day. Additionally, the Cardinals will honor long-time radio voice Morry Mannies at halftime of the game in his final home game of his illustrious 56-year career.