Sunday's MAC Men's Basketball Results
Western Michigan 70, High Point 64
Central Michigan 80, Pepperdine 77
DePaul 69, Northern Illinois 64
Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
Western Michigan 70, High Point 64
HIGH POINT, N.C. - The Western Michigan men's basketball team dominated all facets of the game in the first 30 minutes of play, and despite a furious late charge from High Point, the Broncos held off the Panthers in the final 10 minutes to take a 70-64 road victory. With the win, the Broncos improved their overall record to 7-3 on the season.
The Broncos were in complete control of the contest for most of the afternoon, building all the way to a 25-point lead with 12:10 remaining in the second half. However, much like the first time these teams played this season, the Panthers clawed their way back into the contest and pulled as close as four points with five seconds remaining. However, Nate Hutcheson quelled the rally with a pair of free throw makes in the final seconds to seal the win.
Hutcheson finished with a team-high 19 points on just 4-of-7 shooting, going 9-of-12 from the free throw line to bolster his offensive output. Shayne Whittington went off for 15 points and nine rebounds, and Darius Paul recorded his second double-double in three games with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Connar Tava provided quality production off the bench, scoring eight points and recording eight rebounds.
WMU came out with a purpose in the first half, hoping to take the outcome out of question early; they nearly did just that with an electric first half in which they shot 16-of-29 from the field. The Panthers took a two-point lead at the 16:28 mark of the half, but Whittington recorded a lay-up less than 30 seconds later to tie the score, and knocked down a jumper on the very next possession to make it an 8-6 Bronco advantage.
The Broncos took the lead for good at the 12:05 mark on a long jumper from Paul, sparking 21-0 run that turned a close half into a blowout. Brandon Pokley made an open three from the right corner to make it 20-10, and Taylor Perry would drill a triple at the 5:20 mark of the half to bump the lead to 27-10. Hutcheson would make a free throw at the 4:07 mark to make it a 20-point lead in the first, and a broken play at the end of the period resulted in a lay-up for Hutcheson as time expired, giving the Broncos a 37-16 advantage at the end of the half.
The lead would continue to swell in the second half, reaching 24 points when Hutcheson drained a triple from the corner to make it 51-27. The high water mark came just two minutes later, when Jared Klein stepped into a jumper at the elbow to make it 55-30 with 1:06 remaining. It was still a 20-point lead with under eight minutes to play, with Austin Richie making a free throw to make it 56-36, but the Panthers out-scored the Broncos 28-11 over the next eight minutes to pull within four points at the end.
Central Michigan 80, Pepperdine 77
MALIBU, Calif. - Kyle Randall hit Central Michigan's 14th three-pointer of the night with 2:19 remaining and the Chippewas knocked down 8-of-13 from the line the rest of the way to hang on for an 80-77 victory over a Pepperdine team that was off to its best start in five years.
Randall's fourth three-ball gave the Chippewas (5-4) a 72-65 lead and a seven-point advantage they were able to maintain for the next two minutes with their performance at the line. The Waves (6-4), however, scored eight points in a matter of 16 seconds that included a pair of threes by Lorne Jackson - the last with 0.7 seconds remaining to come within one, 78-77. Randall wrapped up the game by hitting both attempts at the line, and John Simons got a hand on the Waves' inbounds pass as time expired.
For the Chippewas, it was their highest-scoring game of the season and their first true road win under Keno Davis after two neutral-site victories. Pepperdine allowed 16 points more than its season average and suffered its first loss at home.
The Waves quickly got out to a 5-0 lead after two possessions of what would be an up-tempo game by both teams, but Randall scored the first five points for the Chippewas and Austin Keel drained a three-pointer to bring them within one, 9-8, at the 15:53 mark. Keel shot 5-of-9 to tie a career-high 12 points and become one of four Chippewas in double-figures.
Freshman Blake Hibbitts had the hot hand in the first half and sparked a 12-2 run to turn a two-point deficit into a 24-16 advantage. His first three pointer gave the Chippewas their first lead of the game and he followed that with back-to-back threes to go on a 9-0 run of his own. He ended with a career-high 15 points.
"It's a different guy each game; you never know who is going to come up with the big play," said Davis.
The Waves led just once after that, and only for 20 seconds when they took a 33-32 lead with the first bucket of the second half. CMU responded with a 9-0 run on three-pointers by Keel, John Simons and Randall to go up 41-33 less than three minutes after the break.
The Chippewas led by as many as 13, at the 13:00 mark, but could never get comfortable as the Waves came as close as one, 66-65, with 4:35 left. Neither team could pull away as both shot at least 50 percent on the night and neared 75 percent at times in the second half. The Chippewas his 62 percent from the floor in the second half while the Waves shot 56 percent. Fourteen of CMU's 25 field goals were from long range - the most since hitting the same number versus Ohio in February 2010 and just two off of the program record.
Randall led all scorers with 21 points; Hibbitts shot 5-of-8 and had a block at the halftime buzzer to preserve a two-point lead; and Simons grabbed a team-high five rebounds and joined Keel in the career-high column with 12 points. Central was out-rebounded 35-19 but took 20 more attempts at the line and turned the ball over just eight times to Pepperdine's 19.
"That doesn't happen to young teams, to be able to understand how to attack the basket with passion like that. We are learning on the fly but we are getting better," said Davis.
Four freshmen graced the floor for the Chippewas during the final 3:03 as they fought to maintain their lead.
"We are doing it right now out of necessity. The injuries to Zach Saylor and DeAndray Buckley have allowed our young guys to get a lot of experience so when we come down the stretch, these freshmen have the experience to help us win ball games."
DePaul 69, Northern Illinois 64
ROSEMONT, Ill. -- Sophomore wing Abdel Nader (Skokie, Ill./Niles North) scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed six rebounds as Northern Illinois gave DePaul all it could handle before falling, 69-64, on Sunday afternoon at Allstate Arena. In a contest that featured 10 ties and 14 lead changes, a five-point deficit with a minute to play ultimately proved to be too much for the Huskies to overcome.
Neither team led by more than four for most of the second half until Cleveland Melvin gave DePaul a five-point advantage, 63-58, on a dunk with just over a minute to play. Freshman guard Akeem Springs (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan Township) then drained a triple to pull NIU within a pair with just 30 seconds left. After Worrel Clahar made two from the charity stripe, Springs connected on another trifecta, bringing NIU within a point, 65-64, with 16 seconds to play.
Springs finished with 11 points, including 3-of-4 from behind the 3-point line.
Brandon Young made two more free throws to put the Blue Demons up by three and, after NIU came up empty on its next possession, Clahar iced the game with another pair from the line, giving DePaul the final five-point margin.
DePaul went 21-of-25 (84.0 percent) from the free-throw line in the contest, including 14-of-15 (93.3 percent) in the second half. Northern Illinois (2-7) went 7-of-8 (87.5 percent) from the free-throw line in the contest.
“Anytime you can go on the road and be in the game with five minutes to go that is a positive,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. “After a tough loss at Milwaukee, then going through finals, we had to play a Big East school and the guys came out competing, playing hard and we had a chance to win.”
“We have to take away that we need to start the second half a lot faster. You can’t wait until five minutes have been played to get going because sometimes you can’t come back. We battled, we had 18 offensive rebounds, but we have to get to the free-throw line more. We made a good percentage but we only got there eight times.”
The Huskies and Blue Demons traded baskets in the early going, neither team building a lead larger than four in the opening eight minutes of the contest.
Freshman forward Sam Mader (Appleton, Wis./Appleton East) evened the game, 16-16, with a layup off an offensive rebound with 11:36 to play in the first half. DePaul answered with six-straight before the Huskies responded with the next six to pull back even, 22-22, with just under eight minutes left in the opening half. Sophomore forward Kevin Gray (Chicago, Ill./Brooks Academy) started the burst with a jumper from the elbow before freshman guard Mike Davis (Garfield Heights, Ohio/Garfield Heights) went coast-to-coast twice on turnovers to pull the Huskies back even.
Davis finished with a career-best nine points to go along with a game-high four steals.
DePaul (8-3) grabbed a three-point lead, 27-24, until a seven point burst gave NIU a four-point lead. Springs started the run with a triple from the wing, freshman guard Travon Baker (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Consortium) added a jumper and Springs finished the run with a layup to give the Huskies a 31-27 lead with two minutes to play in the first half, forcing a DePaul timeout.
The Blue Demons scored the final six points of the half to take a 33-31 lead into the break. DePaul shot 52 percent (13-of-25) in the opening 20 minutes while the Huskies shot 44.8 percent (13-of29). NIU turned the ball over 14 times against the DePaul full-court press, but the Blue Demons had 12 turnovers of their own in the opening stanza.
DePaul jumped out to a seven-point lead, 40-33, with a 7-2 burst to open the second half, but the Huskies had an answer, scoring 10 of the next 13 points to pull back even, 43-43 with 12 minutes left. Gray started the run for the Huskies, Nader added a pair of baskets, Davis made two from the charity stripe and Baker added a layup off an offensive rebound to pull NIU back even.
The game swung back-and-forth for the next eight minutes, with neither team leading by more than a pair.
Nader buried a triecta to give the Huskies a 56-54 advantage with 4:20 to play in the contest. DePaul answered with a triple from Jamee Crockett to give DePaul a one-point lead.
The Blue Demons lead reached five on a pair of free throws each by Melvin and Young. Gray answered with a jumper for the Huskies with 1:29 left before Melvin’s dunk put the Blue Demons back up five with just over a minute to play.
Gray finished with eight points and six rebounds.
Young finished with a team-high 15 points to lead DePaul, Crockett added 14 and Cleveland Melvin scored 12 for the Blue Demons who won their sixth consecutive contest.
The Huskies will return to action on Wednesday, Dec. 19 when they travel to Seattle to take on Seattle University in the first of a two-game trip to the Pacific Northwest. Game time against the Redhawks is scheduled for 9 p.m. CT.