Friday's MAC Men's Basketball Results
Kent State 68, Akron 64
Bowling Green 76, Buffalo 65
Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Offices
Kent State 68, Akron 64
Akron, Ohio -- Kent State continued its roll into the Mid-American Conference tournament by capturing its fifth consecutive win in a 68-64 rivalry victory over the University of Akron on Friday night at James A. Rhodes Arena.
Darren Goodson scored 19 points and pulled down eight rebounds to lead the Golden Flashes, who handed handed the MAC's regular-season champions their first home loss of the season after a 15-0 start.
"We've done a great job of coming together and finding our chemistry," said senior Randal Holt, who scored 12 points. "Darren Goodson has been great in the MAC season … and with him playing the way he is, it takes us to a whole new level. Now we will go into the MAC tournament knowing it is win or go home."
Kent State used a near-perfect first half to build a 40-25 halftime lead, then found a way to hold off a series of second-half runs. Akron pulled as close as three points in the closing seconds before Holt and Kris Brewer sealed the victory at the foul line. Brewer finished with 13 points while Chris Evans added 11 points and seven rebounds.
Akron's full-court pressure and offensive rebounding kept putting the heat on the Golden Flashes in the second half.
"In our losses this season, our tendency has been to turn the ball over a lot in the second half," said second-year Kent State coach Rob Senderoff, who notched his first career win against Akron while his program ended the Zips' five-game winning streak in the series.. "For us to find a way to hold on when we turned the ball over 10 times and gave up 14 offensive rebounds in the second half is a testament to the toughness and the resolve of our guys."
Goodson scored 13 of his points in the second half and seemed to have a hand in every basket that ended an Akron run. In addition to attacking the rim for several key baskets, he offered a steadying influence against the Zips' relentless full-court press.
"I'm extremely proud of Darren," said Senderoff. "He was great tonight … I'm really proud of everyone who played. Every single guy who stepped on the court for contributed to this victory.
"It was a big win. We played hard the whole way. We didn't necessarily play well in the second half. But we played hard. And every time Akron made a run at us, we found a way to respond."
Nine different Golden Flashes reached the scoring column, including Devareaux Manley, who scored five points and blocked a second-half shot that lead to a fast-break basket.
Khaliq Spicer scored just two points, but the true-freshman center blocked three shots and grabbed three rebounds while holding his own in nine minutes of work against the MAC's best front line.
Seven-foot Akron center Zeke Marshall finished with 14 points and eight rebounds while power forward Demetrius Treadwell added 13 points and 13 rebounds. And still Kent State managed to out-score the Zips 30-28 in the paint.
Akron hurt its chances by going just 8-for-16 from the foul line compared to Kent State's 20-for-27 (74 percent).
The Golden Flashes (19-12) finished 9-7 in MAC play. Now at 19-12 overall, they will go for their 14th season of 20 wins when they open MAC tournament play as the No. 4 seed in a quarterfinal game at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
Akron (24-6) finished with a 14-2 MAC record and missed out on a chance to join Kent State as the only team to finish the conference season with just one loss. The Golden Flashes were 17-1 in MAC play back in 2001-02.
With a win on Thursday, Kent State would earn the right to face top-seeded Akron in the MAC tournament semifinals at Quicken Loans Arena.
Bowling Green 76, Buffalo 65
Bowling Green, Ohio – Bowling Green seniors Jordon Crawford and A’uston Calhoun combined for 41 points and the Falcons scored 20 on the break to defeat a hot Buffalo team 76-65 Friday night in the Stroh Center on Senior Night.
Crawford had 26 points, 20 in the second half, as Bowling Green overcame a three-point halftime deficit to pull away from Buffalo late. Crawford also had four assists and four steals as the Falcons forced Buffalo into 16 turnovers, many of which turned into lay-ups on the break. While Bowling Green scored 20 points in transition, Buffalo generated just two points on the break as the Falcons turned it over only nine times.
Along with Crawford and Calhoun, junior Cam Black had his best game of the year, scoring a season-high 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting and adding six rebounds, two blocks, two assists and a steal. Richaun Holmes came off the bench to post nine points and two blocks, while Anthony Henderson added seven points and three rebounds.
Bowling Green actually fell behind by eight points in the first half but Henderson scored five points on a lay-up and a three-point play to cut the deficit to three. After Buffalo’s Jarryn Skeete knocked down a jumper with 26 seconds to play, the Falcons held for the last shot. Crawford’s three-point attempt rimmed out but Spencer Parker grabbed the rebound and was fouled with just 0.1 seconds remaining. He made both free-throws to make it 35-32 at the half.
The Falcons quickly tied the score in the second half and took the lead for good on Black’s three-point play with 14:42 left. After that play put Bowling Green ahead 43-42, Black assisted on a dunk by Calhoun on the next possession before a Luke Kraus steal turned into a Crawford fastbreak lay-up that pushed the lead to five.
Crawford answered two Buffalo runs down the stretch as the Bulls tried to fight back. Tony Watson’s three-pointer with 9:37 to play drew the Bulls within two, but Crawford made a free-throw on the next possession and then connected on a three-pointer to give Bowling Green a 53-47 lead.
Buffalo closed to within four on a Javon McCrea jumper with 3:46 to go but Crawford hit his second three-pointer of the game and then, after Black got a steal, he made his last three in transition to put the Falcons ahead 67-57. Crawford scored 12 points in the final 3:31 of the game and Buffalo never got closer than nine the rest of the way.
Bowling Green overcame a furious start by Buffalo as the Bulls made 14 of their first 18 shots and scored 27 points by the midway point of the first half. The Falcons held Buffalo to just 1-of-8 shooting the remainder of the first half and then just 39 percent in the second half. BGSU, on the other hand, shot 58 percent from the floor in the final stanza, making 3-of-5 three-point attempts.
McCrea, who is a MAC Player of the Year candidate, looked like the runaway favorite early on. He made his first five shot attempts and had 10 points by the first media timeout of the game. However, Black’s defense picked up and McCrea was just 2-of-8 the rest of the way, finishing with 15 points, five rebounds, three blocks, two steals and seven turnovers.
Buffalo falls to 12-19 on the year and 7-9 in MAC play with the loss. Bowling Green improves to 13-18 overall and 7-9 in league play. The Falcons still could earn as high as the No. 5 seed for the MAC Tournament or as low as the No. 8 seed. The No. 5 seed carries with it a bye to the second round of the MAC Tournament but the Falcons need losses by both Eastern Michigan and Ball State Saturday to achieve that.
If Bowling Green is seeded below No. 5, the Falcons would host a MAC Tournament First Round game Monday at 7 p.m. against either Central Michigan, Miami or Northern Illinois. Tickets for that contest would be just one dollar.