Wednesday's MAC Men's Basketball Results

Updated 1/9/2013

Wednesday's MAC Men's Basketball Results
Central Michigan 73, Bowling Green 67
Northern Illinois 72, Miami 61
Toledo 70, Kent State 58
Ball State 60, Eastern Michigan 58
Akron 65, Western Michigan 43
Ohio 86, Buffalo 68

Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments

Central Michigan 73, Bowling Green 67

MOUNT PLEASANT - Despite hitting just two field goals in the final 17 minutes, Central Michigan fought off a determined Bowling Green squad to win its Mid-American Conference opener, 73-67, behind a McGuirk Arena record 31 points from Kyle Randall.

Randall was perfect on 13 second-half attempts from the line as the Chippewas (8-6, 1-0 MAC) hit 21-of-24 free throw attempts after halftime to fend off a comeback attempt by the Falcons (5-9, 0-1 MAC).
The Chippewas established their largest halftime lead against a Division I opponent this year when they went into the locker room up 17, and were able to extend their advantage to 23, 49-26, with baskets on the first four possessions of the second half. Keel opened the second stanza with back-to-back threes, followed by a long-range three and an old-fashioned three-point play from Randall at the 17:28 mark.
But the hot shooting stopped there–at least it did from the floor.
CMU went 2-of-14 from the field the rest of the way, allowing the Falcons to crawl back into the game.
An 18-2 run over the next six minutes brought Bowling Green within seven before a Chris Fowler layup stopped the bleeding, but it was only momentary as the Falcons came right back with an 8-2 run to get within one, 53-52, with 8:46 remaining.
And that's when the hot shooting at the line took over.
Randall hit his next six attempts on back-to-back-to-back possessions to stretch the lead back to five. The Falcons were able to tie the game at 60 with 3:25 left, but never did take a lead. A pair of free throws by Olivier Mbaigoto, followed by his put-back dunk off a missed layup made it a two-possession game with just under a minute to play, giving the Chippewas the breathing room they needed as they wrapped up the final minute 9-of-12 at the line.
Randall's 31 points, on 8-of-11 shooting, and his 13 free throws both set McGuirk Arena records and the senior extended his string of consecutive free throws to 39.
Opposing point guard Jordan Crawford dialed up 29 points on 11-of-20 shooting for the Falcons, Anthony Henderson scored 13, and A'uston Calhoun grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.

Northern Illinois 72, Miami 61

OXFORD, Ohio -- Northern Illinois and Miami were tied at 28 at the half, but the Huskies shot 63.2 percent (12-of-19) after the intermission to run away with a 72-61 conference-opening victory on Wednesday night at Millett Hall. NIU shot 69.2 percent (9-of-13) from behind the 3-point line and 80.8 percent (21-of-26) from the free-throw line in the contest. 

The victory was the first for Northern Illinois (3-10, 1-0 MAC) at Miami since Feb. 21, 1981, snapping a streak of 13 consecutive defeats for the Huskies in Oxford. 
Junior forward Aksel Bolin (Asker, Norway/Asker) led the Huskies with 11 points and five rebounds. Freshman wing Darrell Bowie (Milwaukee, Wis./La Jolla Prep) added 10 points and five rebounds while sophomore wing Abdel Nader (Skokie, Ill./Niles North) chipped in 10 points. 
“It was two even teams,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. “It was deadlocked at halftime, we both had our runs but I thought this was our best shooting night of the season. We went 9-for-13 (from three), I don’t know if we can go 9-for-13 in practice. We shared the ball, we made some free throws and we finally finished a game.
“It feels good. For a team that didn’t win a road game until the conference tournament last year, I feel really good for our guys, I’m proud of them.”
Bowie scored the first four points of the contest to give NIU an early lead. Miami answered with the next 10, including five on one play as the RedHawks made a layup and NIU was whistled for a flagrant foul. Miami (5-8, 0-1 MAC) made one of the two ensuing free throws and, after also getting the ball, made a basket to take a six-point lead. 
Still trailing by six, 13-7, Northern Illinois used an 8-2 burst to tie the contest, 15-15, with 12 minutes to play in the half. Bolin opened the spurt with a triple; freshman forward Sam Mader (Appleton, Wis./Appleton East) added a layup and freshman guard Akeem Springs (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan Township) connected on a trifecta to pull the Huskies back even. 
After a Springs triple gave NIU a one-point advantage, 20-19, Miami used a 7-0 run to take a 26-20 lead with 6:08 to play in the first half. The Springs triple gave the Huskies a 4-for-4 start from behind the 3-point arc. 
Another triple, this time from the corner by Bolin, and an elbow jumper by freshman guard Mike Davis (Garfield Heights, Ohio/Garfield Heights) pulled the Huskies back within one, 26-25. A RedHawk basket put Miami back up three before a bucket by Bolin and a free throw from Bowie sent the game to halftime even, 28-28. 
Miami’s Reggie Johnson led all scorers with nine points in the opening 20 minutes. Bolin paced the Huskies with eight. The RedHawks shot 52.4 percent (11-of-21) in the first half while holding NIU to just 37.5 percent (9-of-24), but the Huskies went 5-of-7 (71.4 percent) from behind the 3-point arc in the opening stanza. 
With the RedHawks leading by a pair, 36-34, five minutes into the second half the Huskies used a 7-0 run to take a 41-36 lead. Sophomore forward Keith Gray (Chicago, Ill./Brooks Academy) opened the run with a basket, Davis added a bucket and Nader capped the run with a triple from the top of the key.
Keith Gray scored nine points in just 12 minutes off the bench for the Huskies. The NIU bench outscored Miami’s reserves, 44-8, in the contest. 
Still leading by five, 47-42, freshman guard Travon Baker (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Consortium) connected on his first triple of the season to give NIU a 50-42 lead just past the midway point of the season half. Baker answered a Miami basket with a pair of free throws and then, after Miami scored again to cut the lead back to six, Springs and redshirt junior guard Antone Christian (Nashville, Tenn./Martin Luther King Magnet) made back-to-back trifectas to push the Huskie lead to 58-46 with 8:14 left. 
The RedHawks trimmed the lead back to as low as eight, 59-51, with 5:37 to play, but NIU made 9-of-10 free throws down the stretch to preserve the road win. 
The victory is NIU first conference-opening win since defeating Ball State, 62-48, on the road in the league opener in 2009-10. 
The Huskies will return home to host Akron on Saturday, Jan. 12, in their conference home opener. Game time against the Zips is scheduled for 3 p.m., at the NIU Convocation Center. 

Toledo 70, Kent State 58

KENT, OH – Toledo (5-7, 1-0 MAC) ended over a decade of frustration at Kent State’s M.A.C. Center on Wednesday evening with a 70-58 triumph at Kent State in the Mid-American Conference opener for both schools.

The victory was the Rockets’ first at Kent State since Jan. 29, 2000 and also snapped the Golden Flashes’ 31-game winning streak against MAC West Division foes. The triumph also marked UT’s first win in a conference opener since 2008 and was its first against KSU (9-6, 0-1 MAC) since Feb. 2, 2008.
Junior G Rian Pearson spearheaded UT’s attack with a game-high 27 points and nine rebounds In matchup of the MAC’s top two leading scorers. Kent State’s Chris Evans, who entered the game ranked second in the league with 16.5 ppg, finished with 20 points and seven boards.
Senior G Dominique Buckley and freshman C Nathan Boothe joined Pearson in double figures with 15 and 10 points, respectively. Buckley knocked down 3-of-5 three-point shots, while Boothe also blocked a team-high three shots.
Freshman G Julius Brown also produced one of his best floor games as a Rocket as he dished out 10 assists and committed just one turnover in 37 minutes.
Toledo returns to action when it hosts Central Michigan (8-6, 1-0 MAC) on Saturday, Jan. 12. Tip-off time in Savage Arena is 7:00 p.m.

Ball State 60, Eastern Michigan 58

YPSILANTI, Mich. -- The Ball State men’s basketball team is starting to make a habit out of winning in the final second.

One week after downing Norfolk State on Majok Majok’s buzzer beating dunk, the Cardinals opened Mid-American Conference play Wednesday by defeating Eastern Michigan, 60-58, on a pair of Chris Bond free throws with 0.6 seconds left.
Bond finished a perfect 8-for-8 from the floor and scored 18 points to match teammate Jauwan Scaife for game-high honors. Bond couldn’t miss even when he tried Wednesday. The junior forward attempted to miss his second free throw in the final second but banked it in instead.
Tyler Koch batted away Eastern Michigan’s length-of-the-floor inbounds pass on the final play to secure the road win at the Convocation Center.
The Cardinals improved to 7-6 (1-0 MAC) with the win and will return home to host Kent State for a 2 p.m. tipoff Saturday at Worthen Arena. Eastern Michigan dropped to 7-8 (0-1 MAC).
Junior guard Jesse Berry dished out a career-high six assists. He found himself with the ball in his hands on the final possession, just like last week when he hit Majok for the game-winner. 
Berry took the ball with eight seconds left and the game tied at 58-58 after a pair of free throws by Eastern Michigan’s Jalen Ross knotted the game for the first time since midway through the first half. Berry worked the ball up the floor and threaded a pass to Bond on the left baseline. Bond went hard to the basket, drawing a foul to set up the game-winning free throws.
Ball State overcame 19 turnovers against Eastern Michigan’s 2-3 zone defense, but the Cardinals also recorded 18 assists on their 24 made field goals. Ball State shot 58.5 percent for the game.
The Cardinals found success working the ball inside against the zone. Ball State held a 34-20 advantage in the paint, often finding Bond on the baseline or working the ball into the lane to Majok or Zach Fields, who combined for 14 points. 
Ball State also won the rebounding battle 29-16, led by Matt Kamieniecki, who returned to the lineup after missing two games with injury and grabbed seven boards in just 15 minutes.
On the perimeter, Scaife shot 4-for-8 from the 3-point line as he continued his hot hand. Scaife is now 11-for-19 from beyond the arc with 57 points over the past three games.
Ball State shot 63.6 percent in the first half and led 33-28 at the break. The Cardinals led by as many as eight on multiple occasions in the second half, including 56-48 with 4:26 to play. But they went the rest of the way without a field goal as Eastern Michigan clawed back to tie the score late.
Derek Thompson led the Eagles with 16 points, while J.R. Sims added 12. The Eagles shot 51.2 percent from the floor for the game.

Akron 65, Western Michigan 43
AKRON, Ohio – Nick Harney scored nine of his 15 points in the second half as he lead the Akron Zips to a 65-43 victory against Western Michigan in their Mid-American Conference opener Wednesday night at James A. Rhodes Arena.
The win was the sixth-straight for the Zips (10-4, 1-0 MAC) and the eight-straight both at home and in the series against the Broncos (8-6, 0-1 MAC).
Harney led four Zips in double figures, including Brian Walsh, Alex Abreu and Pat Forsythe, who scored 12 a piece. Walsh added six rebounds, four assists and two steals, while Abreu finished with five assists, two rebounds and shot 60.0 percent from the 3-point line (3-of-5).
Forsythe tied Demetrius "Tree" Treadwell with a game-high eight rebounds in addition to one assist and one steal. Zeke Marshall ended with five points, four rebounds and two blocks while battling foul trouble.
Akron shot an impressive 56.0 percent (14-of-25) from the field in the second half to out-score WMU 40-24 in the final 20 minutes. They also dominated the boards against the league's top rebounding team, out-rebounding the visiting Broncos 41-30.
Austin Richie led Western Michigan with 11 points.
Both teams struggled to gain the advantage in the opening exchanges of the first half as the Zips shot just 22.2 percent (4-of-18) during the first 10 minutes of the game. They played stifling defense however, holding the Broncos just four field goals in the same amount of time.
The Zips took a 25-19 lead into halftime with both teams playing solid defense and shooting poorly from the field. Akron shot 29.4 percent (10-of-34) while Western Michigan shot just 28.0 percent (7-of-25). The Zips defense forced Western Michigan into nine turnovers and UA's bench outscored WMU's 9-0.
Akron hit its first four shots of the second half as Walsh and Harney each made 3-point field goals helping Akron jump out to a 35-19 lead following a 10-0 run.
Building off a strong start to the second half, the Zips, with 11:45 remaining had improved to 40.4 percent (19-of-47) from the field and had made four 3-pointers including two from Nick Harney.
With just under four minutes to go, Akron increased its advantage to 59-35 thanks to a combined ten points from Abreu and Forsythe.
The Zips finished the game shooting 40.7 percent from the field (24-of-59), including 35.0 percent (7-of-20) from beyond the arc and 62.5 percent (10-of-16) from the free throw line.
Akron hits the road on Saturday, January 12, when it travels to take on Northern Illinois at 4 p.m. ET in DeKalb, Illinois.

Ohio 86, Buffalo 68

ATHENS, Ohio - Senior point guard D.J. Cooper scored a game-high 21 points to lead the Ohio University men’s basketball team (10-5, 1-0 MAC) to a dominating 86-68 victory over Buffalo (5-10, 0-1 MAC) Wednesday night to open Mid-American Conference play. 

Cooper (Chicago, Ill.) connected on 7-of-9 shots from the field and also dished out a game-high seven assists. Fellow senior Reggie Keely (University Heights, Ohio) finished in double figures as he tallied a career-high 19 points, connecting on 6-of-10 shots from the field. 
As a team, Ohio shot 50.8 percent, but was out-rebounded, 39-35. The Bobcats limited the Bulls to just 38.2 percent (21-55) from the floor and have now held their opponent under 40 percent shooting for two straight games. 
Ohio posted 26 assists on the night and is now averaging 19.6 assists on the year. The ‘Cats came into the game ranked second in the country in assists per contest. 
The teams traded baskets for the first four minutes of play before the ‘Cats moved in front by three (11-8) on a thunderous jam by senior forward Ivo Baltic (Kansas City, Mo.). After Buffalo moved within two at 14-12, Ohio turned three-consecutive turnovers by the Bulls into a 6-0 run and a 20-12 lead with 12:14 to go in the first half. Buffalo came storming back with seven-straight to move within one (20-19), but two assists and a 3-pointer from Cooper fueled a 16-3 run by the ‘Cats to build the lead back up to 14 (36-22) with 5:34 remaining in the half. 
Ohio moved ahead by 18 on a strong drive and finish by senior guard Walter Offutt (Indianapolis, Ind.) and built a 20-point advantage (51-31) on a triple by Cooper with less than two minutes to go in the stanza. Ohio entered the break ahead, 53-31. 
The ‘Cats build their large first-half lead in large part to a 25-9 run midway through the period in which the team shot 82 percent and missed just two shots. In all, Ohio shot an impressive 65.4 percent from the field and dished out 16 assists on 20 made field goals.  Cooper led the ‘Cats with 18 points and five assists, while Keely added 13 points and three rebounds.
Keely notched Ohio’s first six points of the second half as the ‘Cats extended their lead to 24 (59-35) in the first four minutes of action. A 3-pointer by junior forward T.J. Hall (Gainesville, Fla.) put Ohio in front by 31 (67-36), and Ohio extended its advantage to 32 (77-45) on a floater by sophomore Kadeem Green (Toronto, Canada) with 7:42  to go in the game. The Bulls would get no closer than 18 points for the remainder of the contest. 
Ohio excelled in transition throughout the game and held a 23-2 edge in fastbreak points. The ‘Cats are a perfect 10-0 this season when they post more transition points than their opponent. 
Ohio will hit the road for the first time in MAC play to face Western Michigan on Saturday (Jan. 12) at 2 p.m. The matchup 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.