Saturday's MAC Men's Basketball Results
Ohio 81, Portland 52
Princeton 57, Buffalo 53
Cornell 63, Western Michigan 55
Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
Ohio 81, Portland 52
ATHENS, Ohio - The enthusiasm of the large crowd during the Ohio Men's Basketball season-opener was matched by the Bobcats' performance on the court Saturday, as Ohio dispatched the visiting Portland Pilots by a final score of 81-52. Prior to the game, Ohio Athletics unveiled a banner honoring the 2011-12 team's historic run to the Sweet 16.
The victory was the first in Head Coach Jim Christian's career at Ohio and sets the Bobcats off to a 1-0 start for the season. Portland dropped to 0-1 on the year following the loss.
D.J. Cooper and Nick Kellogg led the way for the Bobcats, each scoring 18 points. Each of these two student-athletes played very strong games, as Cooper added five rebounds, six assists, and three steals to his scoring output while Kellogg was a perfect 4-of-4 from three-point range. Reggie Keely and Ivo Baltic also scored in double figures, contributing 13 and 10 points, respectively.
Portland was led in scoring by Ryan Nicholas' 16 points and 11 rebounds. Nicholas connected on 7-of-14 field goal attempts and also added two steals. Kevin Baily was Portland's second leading scorer, adding nine points to the offensive effort.
Ohio shot 50 percent from the field (29-of-58) in the win while limiting Portland to just 35 percent (17-of-49). The Bobcats took great advantage of Portland's 23 turnovers, scoring 35 points off these miscues. Ohio also held a 16-3 edge in fast-break points.
Cooper (Chicago, Ill.) got his senior season off to a fast start, hitting two early threes to give the `Cats a 6-5 advantage 2:20 into the contest. Portland battled back, however, and took a 12-6 advantage into the under-16 minute timeout. The Pilots were able to stretch this lead to eight points before Keely (University Heights, Ohio) ended the run by throwing down a one-handed dunk with 14:36 to play in the first half.
Travis Wilkins (Springfield, Mo.) hit his first bucket as a Bobcat at the 11:44 mark, connecting on a corner three to help Ohio re-claim the lead at 17-16. In his Bobcat debut, Wilkins ended the day with four points and two steals in 15 minutes of action.
Ohio and Portland ended the first half deadlocked at 33. The Pilots shot just over 45 percent (10-of-22) from the field while the Bobcats operated at a 41 percent clip, hitting 13-of-32 attempts. Cooper led all scorers with 15 points, a feat he accomplished on 6-of-11 shooting (3-of-5 from distance). Portland held a 21-14 edge on the glass through the first 20 minutes of play and made its way to the free throw line for 13 shots compared to Ohio's three.
The Bobcats took the lead for good just 33 seconds into the second half on an Ivo Baltic (Kansas City, Mo.) fast break dunk. The Green and White continued this surge well into the second frame, ripping off a 21-6 run throughout the first 7:07 of the stanza.
Ohio kept up its fast pace throughout the remainder of the second half, doing an effective job of getting to the free-throw line. During the final 20 minutes of the game, the Bobcats connected on 14 of 17 free throws to shoot just over 82 percent.
Ohio will next be in action on Friday, Nov. 16 against UNC-Wilmington. The Bobcats and Seahawks will tip off from The Convocation Center at 7 p.m.
Princeton 57, Buffalo 53
BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men’s basketball team dropped its home opener to Princeton, 57-53, at Alumni Arena on Saturday afternoon.
The Bulls got off to a sluggish start, not scoring their first points until the 12:08 mark of the first half. However, UB played solid defense and only trailed, 7-2, at that point. The Bulls kept fighting and trailed 22-21 at the half. Hampered by foul trouble, Javon McCrea was limited to just six minutes in the first half and was held to zero points and one rebound.
That all changed in the second half when the junior All-MAC forward exploded for 22 points, seven rebounds and three blocks. McCrea scored the Bulls’ first 11 points of the second half and UB led 30-26 with 13:57 remaining.
Buffalo led 35-32 with 12:16 left, when Princeton mounted a 12-2 scoring run to turn a two-point deficit into a 44-37 lead with 8:44 remaining.
Trailing 54-49, Buffalo made one last charge. Tony Watson drained a three-pointer from the top of the key to cut the Princeton lead to 54-52 with 1:27 left. McCrea came up with a huge block at the other end to give the ball back to UB. McCrea was able to make one of two free throws and the Bulls trailed 54-53 with 41 seconds remaining.
But Princeton’s Will Barrett would silence the UB faithful as he hit a three-pointer with 10 seconds left to seal the win for the Tigers.
Watson scored 10 points, including a pair of three-pointers. Making his UB debut, Will Regan finished with seven points and five rebounds. Jarod Oldham had seven points, six rebounds, three assists and two of Buffalo’s seven blocked shots.
“It started off as a sloppy game, but I thought both teams played really hard,” head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. “It had a lot of those symptoms of the first game - decisions made by adrenaline, at least for us. I think they did a pretty good job passing the ball. Overall, I think it was really good opportunity for our guys to learn against a really good opponent.”
It’s a quick turnaround for the Bulls who will next play at Florida State on Monday night.
Cornell 63, Western Michigan 55
ITHACA, N.Y. - Junior Shayne Whittington posted a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds, but the Western Michigan men's basketball team struggled offensively against a good Cornell squad, as the Big Red defeated the Broncos 63-55 on Saturday. With the loss, the Broncos fall to 0-1 on the season.
Whittington acted as a steadying influence on the young Bronco squad, controlling the paint for a double-double. Whittington was especially effective in his ability to use his size advantage against the Big Red's frontcourt; he drew a number of fouls over the course of the game, and finished with a 7 of 10 performance from the foul line. Freshman guard Jared Klein also broke double-digits in scoring, recording 12 points in his regular season debut.
The Broncos were the victim of tough defensive effort from Cornell; the Big Red recorded 13 blocks, contributing to the Broncos' 17 of 56 shooting night. WMU was good from the free throw line, going 18 of 25 for a 72.0 shooting percentage.
The first half was a rollercoaster of pace, as the two teams alternated between high-tempo attacks and more deliberate half-court sets. The Broncos took a four-point lead to start the game, with Whittington starting the team off with a pair of free throws, and Austin Richie scoring a lay-up on a slick bounce pass from Darius Paul at the 17:13 mark. Cornell responded with a 16-3 run to take the lead, but Brandon Pokley drained a three-pointerfrom the wing to break the momentum and cut the lead to six points.
Paul made a pair of free throws at 8:22 in the first to make it a six-point game, and Klein nailed a three 20 seconds later to slice the lead down to three points. Paul would score the last of his six first-half points on two possessions to end the half, scoring a lay-up at 3:47 to make it 26-22, and putting back his own missed shot on a tip-in at 3:13 remaining in the half. The teams entered the locker room with Cornell leading 26-24.
Paul capped his personal 8-0 run for the Broncos at the beginning of the half, scoring on a lay-up on WMU's first offensive possession to cut Cornell's lead to just 27-26. That would be the closest the Broncos would get for the remainder of the game, however, as the Big Red's Nolan Cressler made a series of three-pointers from around the perimeteto keep the Broncos at bay. Klein recorded a triple of his own at the 14:44 mark to make the score 35-31, but the Big Red would expand the lead to 11 points, and held a double-digit lead until late in the half.
The Broncos made one more push, however, coming back from 12 points down at 5:15 to pull within two possessions in the final minute. Klein drove to the hoop and drew a foul from Eitan Chemerinski, making a pair of free throws to make it 59-55 with 30 seconds remaining. However, the Big Red were able to just barely thwart the Broncos' press on the ensuing possession, and ultimately made a pair of free throws with 22 seconds remaining to ice the game.