Wednesday's MAC Men's Basketball Results
Northern Illinois 67, Kent State 65
Toledo 85, Ball State 78
Akron 68, Bowling Green 55
Buffalo 91, Central Michigan 73
Western Michigan 72, Miami 68
Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
Northern Illinois 67, Kent State 65
DEKALB, Ill. -- Sophomore wing Abdel Nader (Skokie, Ill./Niles North) drained a pull-up jumper with 2.2 seconds left as Northern Illinois knocked off Kent State, 67-65, on Wednesday night at the NIU Convocation Center. Nader’s game-winner gave him 26 points, tying a career-high; he also grabbed 11 rebounds for his first career double-double.
“What a difference from Saturday to Wednesday,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. “I loved how our players came out and responded after a tough game at Eastern (Michigan). I thought the start really helped get us going and I thought that we outplayed them for 39 minutes and 30 seconds but somehow they found a way to tie it.
“As I’ve been taught by coach (Tom) Izzo and a few other coaches, at the end of the game give your best player the ball, see what happens and Abdel Nader made a heck of a play.”
Northern Illinois (5-14, 3-4 MAC) led by eight with two minutes remaining before Kent State’s Devareaux Manley caught fire from behind the arc. Manley made a trio of three as the Golden Flashes went on a late 9-1 run to pull even with less than 30 seconds to play.
Out of a timeout, the Huskies spaced the floor and let Nader go one-on-one with a Kent State defender. Nader pulled up from near the free-throw line and sank the jumper to give the Huskies a two-point lead. The Golden Flashes threw a desperation 75-foot heave but it came up short and the Huskies earned their first victory over Kent State since Feb. 8, 2003, snapping an 11-game losing streak to the Golden Flashes. The win was the first for NIU at home against Kent State since Jan. 3, 1998.
An early 9-0 run gave Northern Illinois an 11-1 lead just 16:35 into the contest. Sophomore forward Kevin Gray (Chicago, Ill./Brooks Academy) opened the burst for the Huskies with a pair of jumpers, Nader then connected on a triple to push the run to seven and force a Golden Flashes timeout. Following the timeout, junior forward Aksel Bolin (Asker, Norway/Asker) made a pair of free throws to extend the NIU advantage to 10.
Bolin finished with nine points for the Huskies.
Kent State (11-10, 2-5 MAC) answered with a 10-0 run of its own to pull even, 11-11, before a trifecta from freshman guard Akeem Springs (Waukegan, Ill./Waukegan Township) and a fastbreak layup from freshman guard Mike Davis (Garfield Heights, Ohio/Garfield Heights) put the Huskies back up five, 16-11, with just over 12 minutes to play in the first half.
After the Golden Flashes pulled back within a pair, 16-14, an 8-0 burst by NIU gave the Huskies a 10-point lead with nine minutes left in the first half. Nader started the spurt with a pull-up jumper, he followed with a triple and redshirt junior guard Antone Christian (Nashville, Tenn./Martin Luther King Magnet) capped the run with a trifecta from the wing to give the Huskies a 24-14 advantage.
The Huskie lead hovered around 10 until Kent State scored five of the final seven points in the half as NIU took a 34-27 lead into the intermission.
After the break, the NIU lead quickly evaporated as Kent State pulled back even, 34-34, with a 7-0 run in the first three minutes of the second half.
Tied at 38 apiece, the Huskies used a 6-0 run to lead 44-38 with just under 11 minutes to play. Freshman wing Darrell Bowie (Milwaukee, Wis./La Jolla Prep) opened the run with a basket, Nader added a pair of free throws and freshman guard Daveon Balls (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) capped the spurt with a bucket.
Balls finished the night with four points and a career-best seven assists.
Kent State climbed back within one, 50-49, on a basket by Darren Goodson, but a pair from the charity stripe by Balls and another Nader trifecta pushed the lead back to six with just over six minutes remaining.
The lead ballooned to eight on a free throw by Nader with 2:09 left before Manley led one last charge by the Golden Flashes. Kent State tied the contest four times but the Huskies never allowed them to take a lead, with Nader’s jumper sealing the victory for NIU.
“I liked how our guys stuck together,” said Montgomery. “We made runs, Kent State came back and made runs, but we answered the bell every time.”
Goodson led the Golden Flashes with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Kris Brewer also added 14 points for Kent State.
The Huskies will continue their three-game homestand on Saturday, Feb. 2, when they host Toledo at 3 p.m., at the NIU Convocation Center. At halftime of Saturday’s contest, one lucky fan will have a chance to win a car courtesy of DeKalb Sycamore Chevrolet Cadillac GMC.
Toledo 85, Ball State 78
MUNCIE, IN - Toledo broke open a tight game at Ball State midway through the second half on Wednesday evening and then held off the hard-charging Cardinals to post an 85-78 road triumph in Worthen Arena.
The victory keeps the Rockets (8-10, 4-3 MAC) one game behind Western Michigan (13-7, 5-2 MAC) in the Mid-American Conference's West Division. The Broncos also won on the road tonight with a 72-68 victory at Miami.
Junior G Rian Pearson spearheaded Toledo's attack with 24 points, knocking down 9-of-15 shots from the field and all six of his attempts from the charity stripe. Joining Pearson in double figures were junior F Matt Smith (19 pts, career-high five treys), junior F Reese Holliday (season-high tying 16 pts.) and sophomore G Julius Brown (13 pts.).
Brown, who matched his season high with 10 assists to register his first career double-double, quarterbacked a Rocket offense that committed just four turnovers en route to its biggest offensive output of the season.
Toledo shot 51.7 percent from the field, including a 55.2 clip in the second stanza, and was 7-of-16 (43.8 percent) from three-point range. UT also converted 18-of-21 (85.7 percent) free-throw attempts to raise its season mark to an impressive 79.0 percent. Ball State finished with a 45.6 FG% and was 5-of-18 (27.8 percent) from three-point range.
The Cardinals also had four players in double figures, led by senior G Jauwan Scaife's 23 points. Junior C Majok Majok had a double-double with 16 points and 15 rebounds to help BSU dominate the glass by a 41-25 margin.
The contest was a back-and-forth affair that featured 10 tied scores and 10 lead changes until Toledo snapped a 51-51 tie with an 11-2 burst for a 62-53 lead with 8:45 remaining. Smith continued the Rockets' momentum by drilling three straight treys over the next five minutes to expand UT's cushion to 77-62 with 3:20 to play.
Ball State then began to chip away at its deficit and eventually reduced its deficit to three points, 81-78, with 12.9 seconds remaining. Senior G Dominique Buckley iced the game though with a pair of free throws with 11.4 ticks left to give UT back-to-back wins in Muncie for the first time since winning five in row from 1976-80.
Akron 68, Bowling Green 55
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – A strong defensive effort was the difference as the Akron Zips won its 12th-straight game thanks to a 68-55 victory over Bowling Green on Wednesday in a Mid-American Conference matchup at the Stroh Center.
Akron's 12-game winning streak is the second-longest active streak in the nation behind Kansas' 18-game streak. The win also gave Akron head coach Keith Dambrot his 200th win at Akron (200-91). The victory is also the 17th for the Zips in the last 18 meeting with the Falcons.
Akron (16-4, 7-0 MAC) improved to 7-0 in league play for the first time since joining the MAC in 1992-93.
For the game, the Zips shot 48.3 percent from the floor (28-of-58) and 35.0 percent from long range (7-of-20). The Falcons finished the contest shooting 33.3 percent (17-of-51).
Zeke Marshall led the Zips with 15 points while Nick Harney and Demetrius "Tree" Treadwell finished with 10 points each. Treadwell recorded his fourth double-double of the season (11 rebounds), including his third in four games. Alex Abreu finished with nine points, six assists.
Chauncey Orr led Bowling Green (7-13, 2-5) with 16 points.
Bowling Green opened the half trying to chip away at the Akron lead, closing the gap to 35-28 by the 15:38 mark. From there, the Akron lead would see-saw between seven and ten points for the next four minutes.
Three-pointers by Reggie McAdams and Jake Kretzer and a nice turnaround jumper by Harney gave Akron its largest lead of the game at 50-35 with 10:51 remaining.
BGSU made just three buckets over an 11-minute stretch as Akron pushed its lead to 20 (64-44) before the final media timeout. The Falcons would not come closer than
Akron fell behind 4-0 early, but scored nine of the next 11 points to take a 9-6 advantage into the under-16 media timeout. The short 9-2 run was capped off by a dunk by Marshall courtesy of a nice Gilliam pass in the lane.
The run grew to 17-5 as the Zips opened up a 17-9 lead with 11:08 left in the opening half. Akron kept the defensive pressure on Bowling Green, holding the Falcons to just three field goals.
Bowling Green ended its 8:11 field goal drought with A'uston Calhoun's dunk at the 5:36, however UA maintained a 21-14 lead. It was just the fourth basket for BGSU. The defensive pressure would continue as the Zips would take a 28-17 lead into the locker room.
The Zips held the Falcons to just 18.5 percent shooting in the opening 20 minutes (5-of-27) while shooting 40.0 percent (12-of-30). UA was 4-of-10 from behind the arc (40.0 percent) while BGSU connected on just 1-of-10 (10.0 percent).
Marshall led all players in the half with eight points and two boards. Abreu finished with six points, three rebounds and three assists, while Treadwell had six points, five boards and two dimes.
The Zips return home to play host to the Ohio Bobcats on Saturday, Feb. 2, on ESPNU. The game, which will serve as Social Media Night, is set to tip off at 5 p.m. ET.
Buffalo 91, Central Michigan 73
BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men's basketball team scored a season high in points in a 91-73 win over Central Michigan at Alumni Arena on Wednesday night. Cameron Downing came off the bench to lead the Bulls with a career-high 21 points.
Downing was one of five players to score in double-figures. Auraum Nuiriankh also scored a career-high 18 points and added 10 rebounds for his second double-double of the season. The junior swingman was a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line and added a career-best five assists.
Javon McCrea had 17 points on 8-of-10 shooting, eight rebounds and blocked two shots. He moved into third place in school history with 149 career blocks.
Jarryn Skeete added 12 points and Tony Watson chipped in with 11, including three three-pointers.
Buffalo (8-13, 3-4 MAC) never trailed as it used 61.5 percent shooting in the first half to build its lead to as much as 15 points. The Bulls shot the ball well from distance early on as Watson, Skeete and Nuiriankh each had a pair of three-pointers in the first half. Buffalo lead, 43-30, at the break.
The Bulls built their lead to 68-51 with 8:19, before Central Michigan went on an 8-0 scoring run to cut the UB advantage to 72-63 with 6:07 left. But following four straight Nuiriankh free throws and a Skeete layup, UB led 78-65 and silenced the Chippewas' threat.
Buffalo shot a season-best 58 percent from the field and made 23-of-26 free throw attempts. The Bulls dominated the glass, outrebounding Central Michigan, 39-22, and scored 18 second-chance points. UB had 21 assists on 30 field goals.
"For the first time we played from tip-to-horn against a zone defense and we had some pretty good success with it," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "When we start to pass the basketball and play with rhythm, everyone will play better."
It was the best game of Downing's career as he continued his solid play of late. The junior forward shot 8-for-10 from the field and added four rebounds and two assists.
Buffalo will head back on the road and play at Western Michigan on Saturday night at 7:00 pm.
Western Michigan 72, Miami 68
OXFORD, Ohio - Head coach Steve Hawkins achieved something that no other Bronco coach can lay claim to, and the Western Michigan men's basketball team defeated Miami 72-68 at Millett Hall on Wednesday. With the win, the Broncos improve to 13-7 overall, 5-2 in Mid-American Conference play. The win marks the fifth straight victory for the Broncos, and the third straight road win in conference.
The win marks the first time in program history that the Broncos have won back-to-back games at Miami; the Broncos took the last meeting at Millett Hall, an overtime win in 2011. Hawkins is the first coach to win three games against Miami since Vernon Payne won three between 1988-89.
The Broncos were out-rebounded 37-29 in the game, allowing Miami to grab 17 offensive rebounds; however, WMU shot 24-of-41 (.585) from the field and saw four players break double-digits in scoring. Shayne Whittington led the way with 13 points despite being in foul trouble for most of the contest and playing just 16 minutes; Darius Paul added 12 points, and Nate Hutcheson and Brandon Pokley scored 11.
The Broncos trailed as late as the 4:07 mark in the second half, when Quinten Rollins made a pair of free throws to put Miami ahead 63-62. Paul made a strong play to the hoop on the next possession, driving to the hoop from the lefthand side to lay the ball in and put the Broncos ahead. The lead reached four points when David Brown stripped the ball from Will Felder and laid it in on the fast break, drawing a foul at the same time to get to the free throw line. Brown made the ensuing foul shot to give the Broncos a 67-63 lead with 3:26 remaining.
Felder and Reggie Johnson made three free throws to cut the Broncos' lead to one point, but Whittington dunked an offensive rebound to make it a 69-66 lead with 53 seconds remaining. Rollins made a jumper to make it a one-point game with 22 second remaining, but Whittington iced the game with a pair of free throws to set the final deficit.
Things didn't start out so smoothly for the Broncos, who found themselves in an early hole thanks to Miami's red-hot shooting. The RedHawks jumped out to a double-digit lead with a 13-2 run to start the game, with Will Sullivan capping the run with a three-pointer from the left corner. Jared Klein responded with a triple of his own to stop the bleeding, and Brandon Pokley scored on a baseline lay-up to make it 13-7 at the 15:28 mark.
The Broncos continued their comeback despite the full court pressure of the RedHawks, with Shayne Whittington getting open on the back end of a press and throwing down a two-handed dunk to make it 13-9. Pokley struck again, this time with a three-pointer in the deep left corner off an inbounds play, and the Broncos took their first lead with the night on a Connar Tava tip-in at the 12:44 mark.
The teams traded the lead back and forth for a while, but the Broncos took it for their first extended period of time when Nate Hutcheson made a lay-up in traffic to make it 18-17. The lead eventually swelled to six points, with Daris Paul and Tava making lay-ups on consecutive possessions to make it 28-22 with 6:42 to play. However, the Broncos went cold from the floor for the remainder of the half, and the RedHawks took a 35-32 lead entering the halftime break.
The Broncos bounced back with a hot start to the second half, opening with a 7-0 run to re-take the lead. Whittington got things started with a lay-up at the 19:49 mark, and Hutcheson scored on consecutive possessions to extend the lead to two possessions. The senior first scored on a lay-up at the 18:14 mark, slashing to the hoop and finishing with the right hand, and after Miami's Will Felder turned it over on the next possession, Hutcheson buried a three-pointer from the head of the key to make it 39-35 with 17:37 remaining.