Saturday's MAC Men's Basketball Results

Updated 12/29/2012

Saturday's MAC Men's Basketball Results
Toledo 74, Illinois-Chicago 55
NC State 84, Western Michigan 68
UMass 64, Northern Illinois 59
Michigan 88, Central Michigan 73
Oklahoma 74, Ohio 63

Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
Toledo 74, Illinois-Chicago 55
TOLEDO, OH - Toledo returned from a three-week break to register a 74-55 home win on Saturday afternoon over UIC (9-4). The win was the Rockets' second straight victory and provide UT some momentum heading into its 1:00 p.m. New Year's Eve matchup vs. Chicago State in Savage Arena.
Junior G Rian Pearson led UT with 24 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. He also tied his career high with five assists and added a team-high three steals.
Junior F Reese Holliday added 16 points for the Rockets and sank a career-high four three-point field goals. Also scoring in double figures was freshman C Nathan Boothe with 10 points to go along with seven rebounds and a career-high four blocks. 
Junior F Matt Smith, who tied Pearson for team-high rebounding honors, just missed a double-double with nine points and a career-best 10 boards.
Senior G Daniel Barnes led the Flames with 18 points, including a 6-of-10 effort from three-point range.
Toledo shot just 40.3 percent in the contest but limited UIC to an opponent season-low 33.3 mark. UT also registered a season-high 18 assists and committed a season-low seven turnovers in the contest. The Rockets also held a significant 48-38 advantage on the glass, including a season-high 17 offensive rebounds.
Holliday sparked the Rockets early in the contest with three treys en route to 11 first-half points. UT held a 37-20 advantage late in the first half, but a 10-2 Flames' surge to end the stanza reduced Rockets' lead to single digits, 39-30, at halftime.
Toledo put the game away after the visitors crept to within 47-40 with 15:05 left in the second half. The Rockets responded with an 18-5 burst to push their lead to 20, 65-45, with 5:55 left to play.
NC State 84, Western Michigan 68
ALEIGH, N.C. - The Western Michigan men's basketball team gave the #23/25 North Carolina State Wolfpack a run for their money in the first half of the game, but the Broncos were outgunned in the second half in falling 84-68 at PNC Arena on Saturday.  With the loss, the Broncos fall to 8-5 on the season.
The Broncos and Wolfpack were tight throughout much of the first half, and were even as late as the 4:10 mark of the first, when Austin Richie scored on a fast break lay-up to make it 32-32.  WMU trailed by just seven points at the halftime break, but the Wolfpack unleashed a run early in the second half to pull away and seal the victory.
Freshman Darius Paul recorded his third double-double of the season, posting 12 points and 10 rebounds in 34 minutes of play, and Nate Hutcheson led all Broncos with 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting from the field.  Shayne Whittington had his third straight double-digit scoring effort, posting 14 points and grabbing nine rebounds.
The Broncos opened the game on a 5-0 run, with Paul opening proceedings with a lay-up and Brandon Pokley drilling a three-pointer from the corner at the 18:59 mark of the half.  The Wolfpack pulled even and eventually took the lead at 10-8, but Hutcheson drained a pair of free throws with 15:58 remaining to pull the score even again.  NC State led by as many as eight points in the half, but Hutcheson converted an "and-one" situation to make it 18-3, and Whittington hit 15-foot jumper at the 13:10 mark to cut the lead to three points.
Whittington completely eliminated the deficit on the very next possession, grabbing a defensive rebounds and knocking down a three-pointer from beyond the head of the key to tie the game at 18-18.  WMU re-took the lead when Taylor Perry added a pair of free throw makes with 11:20 to play, and the lead reached as many as three points when Connar Tava made a lay-up at the 9:33 mark to make it 24-21.  The last tie in the half and ultimately the game came with 4:10 remaining, with Richie making lay-ups on consecutive possessions to tie it at 32.  
The beginning of the second half was all Wolfpack, for the most part, as NC State opened up the lead on the Broncos.  The closest the Broncos would get the rest of the way was eight points, when Whittington scoring on an offensive rebound and tip-in to make it 50-42 with 14:00 remaining.  The Wolfpack led by as many as 21 points the rest of the way, but the Broncos cut the final deficit to 16 points on a putback from Paul as time expired.
UMass 64, Northern Illinois 59
DEKALB, Ill. -- Trailing by 11 just past the midway point of the second half, Northern Illinois cut the deficit to just two, but was unable to complete the comeback, falling to Massachusetts, 64-59, on Saturday afternoon at the NIU Convocation Center. A 12-2 run by the Minutemen to close the first half proved to be just too much for the Huskies to overcome.
Sophomore wing Abdel Nader (Skokie, Ill./Niles North) led NIU with a game-high 15 points, 10 of which came after halftime, and a game-best nine rebounds. 
Junior forward Aksel Bolin (Asker, Norway/Asker) scored 11 points, freshman guard Akeem Springs (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan Township) added 10 points and freshman wing Darrell Bowie (Milwaukee, Wis./La Jolla Prep) scored a career-high eight points with five rebounds, three assists and three steals. 
“We had 64 shots, they had 44 shots,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. “We had 17 offensive rebounds; we only had three turnovers in the second half. We had three guys (scoring) in double figures, two more with eight and other with seven. We got better today. Unfortunately it’s a game of 40 minutes and we didn’t play for 40 minutes, but we played pretty good for 20 minutes. 
“We have a young team that is mostly freshmen and sophomores, but if we play more like we did in the second half, if we can put full games together, we are going to have a chance.”
Northern Illinois committed 17 turnovers in the contest, but just three of those came after halftime. 
After UMass opened the contest with a triple, NIU scored the next six to take a three-point lead, but the Minutemen answered with nine-straight to lead 12-6 with 11:20 to play in the first half. The Huskies pulled back within three, 14-11, after Nader made all three of his attempts from the free-throw line, but a 7-2 UMass burst pushed the lead right back to eight, 21-13, with 9:11 to play in the half. 
Six straight from NIU, including four by Bolin, brought the Huskies within a pair, 21-19, with 6:31 to play before the intermission.
With the Minutemen leading by three, a 12-0 run gave UMass a 36-21 advantage, its largest of the half, until Bolin made a pair of free throws to cut the lead to 36-23 at the break. 
Maxie Esho led all scorers with 11 points in the opening 20 minutes; Bolin led NIU with eight. UMass shot 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from the field in the first half to just 24 percent (6-of-25) for the Huskies. NIU was 11-of-12 (91.7 percent) from the charity stripe in the opening 20 minutes. 
A triple from Bolin trimmed the UMass lead to seven, 47-40, with 11:32 to play. The UMass lead grew back to 11 with 9:32 left, but a basket by sophomore forward Kevin Gray (Chicago, Ill./Brooks Academy) and a triple by freshman guard Daveon Balls (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) from the top of the key cut the lead back to just six, 51-45, with eight minutes left. 
Balls had seven points and a pair of steals in the contest. 
After a pair of free throws by the Minutemen, NIU used a 7-2 burst to pull within three, 55-52, with four minutes to play. Nader started the burst with a layup and then hit a trifecta before Kevin Gray capped the spurt with a layup to bring the Huskies within three.
Gray finished with eight points, seven rebounds, six of which came on the offensive end, and a career-best three assists.
The UMass lead swung back-and-forth between three and five until Nader connected on another triple with 58 seconds left, cutting the gap to just a pair, 61-59. 
On the next possession, Northern Illinois got a stop and had a chance to tie the game, or take a lead with a three, but the Huskies came up empty and UMass made free throws to thwart the NIU comeback attempt. 
Esho had 14 points to lead the Minutemen; Chaz Williams added 12 and Terrell Vinson had 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds.  
The Huskies will be off until Wednesday, Jan. 9, when they open Mid-American Conference play at Miami (Ohio). Game time against the RedHawks is scheduled for 6 p.m. CT.
Michigan 88, Central Michigan 73
ANN ARBOR, Mich. - Spencer Krannitz grabbed nine of Central Michigan's 38 rebounds as the Chippewas out-rebounded No. 2 Michigan by nine, but an 8-for-9 start by the Wolverines was too much to overcome in an 88-73 loss.
The Chippewas (7-6) shot 4-of-6 out of the gate but the Wolverines (13-0) bettered that by hitting eight of their first nine shots to jump out to an 18-10 lead in the first four and a half minutes. After the five minute mark the Wolverines "cooled off" to end the half shooting 57 percent (20-35) while holding the Chippewas to 34 percent (11-32). 
The second half ended up in Central Michigan's favor as the Chippewas shot 63 percent from the field and out-scored the Wolverines, 44-42.
"The start of the game took its toll on us but it wasn't surprising to me how hard we worked to keep the game respectable. We worked hard when it would have been easier to let the game get away from us," said CMU head coach Keno Davis.
Leading 46-29 at the half, the Wolverines came out of the locker room to a 12-4 run that stretched their lead to 25, which would prove to be their largest of the game. The nation's leading three-point shooter, Nik Stauskas, was 0-for-1 before the break but hit three long-range shots to start the second half and made his first five attempts after halftime to help stretch the lead.
Despite just two points at the half, Olivier Mbaigoto caught fire for 12 second-half points, including eight straight for the Chippewas midway through the period, and ended as the team's leading scorer with 14.
The Chippewas have become a team that relies on scoring at the foul line, but they were held to a season-low 12 attempts against a Wolverines team that committed just 10 total fouls, including three in the first half. Neither team got into the double bonus in either half as the Chippewas were whistled for only nine total fouls.
Michigan entered the game as the 15th best rebounding team in the country, out-rebounding its opponents by 10 per game, and ended up being out-rebounded for just the second team this season (#18 N.C. State, 31-25).
"We talked going into this game that if we didn't rebound with Michigan the game would be over before it started," said Davis. "We had to make sure even though we were under-sized that we chased down all the rebounds from all positions."
Mbaigoto paced four players in double figures. Austin Keel and Derrick Richardson added 11 each and Kyle Randall scored 10.
Oklahoma 74, Ohio 63
NORMAN, Okla. - Senior guard D.J. Cooper scored a team-high 14 points, but it was not enough as the Ohio University men's basketball team (8-5) dropped a 74-63 decision to Oklahoma Saturday night inside the Lloyd Noble Center.
Cooper (Chicago, Ill.) finished the game by going 6-of-13 from the field. He also dished out a team-best seven assists. Fellow seniors Reggie Keely (University Heights, Ohio) and Walter Offutt (Indianapolis, Ind.) also finished in double figures, finishing with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Keely also turned in a strong performance on the glass as he pulled down a game-high eight rebounds.
As a team, Ohio's bench outscored Oklahoma 23-14, but was forced into 18 turnovers, which led to 22 points for the Sooners. Oklahoma went on to finish the game with 12 steals. The Sooners held a narrow field goal shooting advantage, as it outshot the Bobcats 47.4-47.2.
Oklahoma had three players finish in double figures with senior guard Steve Pledger leading the way with 18 points. Pledger finished the game by connecting on 7-of-16 shots from the field.
The Bobcats jumped out to an early 7-2 lead at the 17:10 mark of the first half. Keely paced Ohio as he tallied a pair of layups. The Sooners fought right back as it scored the next six points to take their first lead of the game at 8-6 with 15:21 remaining until the break. From there, Ohio charged back with a 10-4 run to re-claim the lead at 17-12.
Oklahoma would tighten up defensively, holding Ohio without a field goal for the next four minutes to reclaim the lead at 18-17 with 8:16 to go until the break. No team would lead by more than five points for the rest of the first half as the two squads would go into the locker room tied at 29 apiece.
Ohio remained within five points for the first three and half minutes of the second half, but the Sooners opened their lead to nine with 14:57 remaining in the game. The Bobcats fought right back as it cut the lead to four (54-43) with 11:37 thanks to a 3-pointer by Offutt. Oklahoma opened up an 11-point lead four minutes later after it went on a 7-0 run.
The Bobcats fought back again to cut the lead to four with 7:10 remaining thanks to a 9-2 run, which was capped by a Jon Smith (Columbus, Ohio) dunk. There would be no comeback in the final stretch for the Bobcats as Oklahoma closed the game with an 18-11 run to secure the win. At one point during the final stretch, Ohio trailed by as many as 17 points (2:59).
The Ohio University men's basketball team rings in the New Year with a contest against rival Marshall on Jan. 5, 2013, inside the Convocation Center. Tipoff is set for 2:00 p.m. (EST). The matchup can be seen through a live stream and can be heard for free on "Voice of the Bobcats" Russ Eisenstein and Rob Cornelius will call the action live on the Ohio IMG Sports Network powered by Horizon.