FirstEnergy MAC Men's Basketball Tournament First Round Results

Updated 3/11/2013


FirstEnergy MAC Men's Basketball First Round Results
No. 8 Buffalo 74, No. 9 Central Michigan 72 (OT)
No. 7 Eastern Michigan 45, No. 10 Northern Illinois 44
No. 11 Miami 63, No. 6 Bowling Green 52
Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
No. 8 Buffalo 74, No. 9 Central Michigan 72 (OT)
BUFFALO, NY – The University at Buffalo men's basketball team held off Central Michigan, 74-72, in overtime in the first round of the FirstEnergy Mid-American Conference Tournament on Monday night at Alumni Arena. The eighth-seeded Bulls will next face Ball State, the fifth seed, in the tournament's second round in Cleveland on Wednesday night.
"It's that time of year when everyone talks about survive and advance and we did that," head coach Reggie Witherspoon said. "Gritty, gutty performance by both teams. It may not have been our best effort, but it was one of our most determined efforts."
Four Bulls scored in double-figures, led by Javon McCrea's team-high 21 points. The junior forward, fresh off being named to the All-MAC First Team, added eight rebounds, four blocks and three steals. He shot 8-for-10 from the field.  
It was a close game throughout with neither team leading by more than eight points. Central Michigan jumped out to a 15-7 lead and led for much of the first half. Struggling to get into an offensive groove, the Bulls got an unlikely spark from Raphell-Thomas Edwards. The sophomore swingman scored all of his career-high 10 points in the first half. His second three-pointer of the half gave UB a 28-24 lead. The Bulls would hold that four-point advantage at halftime.
The lead would change hands several times in the second half before Buffalo mounted an 8-0 scoring run to turn a 56-55 deficit into a 63-56 lead with 3:42 left. Tony Watson scored five of UB's eight points during the run and his layup gave the Bulls its seven-point advantage.
Kyle Randall, the MAC's leading scorer, refused to let the Chippewas go away quietly. He hit a three-pointer to cut the UB lead to 65-62 and then hit a layup to reduce Buffalo's lead to 65-64 with just over a minute to play. 
Watson answered with a tough turnaround baseline jumper with 30 seconds left to put the Bulls ahead by three. However, Randall struck again with three-pointer from the top of the key to tie the game at 67 with 21 seconds left. Watson's last-second contested three-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark and the game went into overtime.
McCrea scored the first four points in overtime, including a rim-rattling dunk in traffic to give UB a 71-67 lead with 2:59 left. The Bulls would hold a 73-72 advantage with under 10 seconds left. Central's Blake Hibbitts missed a three-pointer from the corner and Watson snagged the rebound and was fouled with three seconds left. The senior guard made one of two free throws to give UB a 74-72 lead. Randall's well-guarded three-pointer at the buzzer was off the mark.
Will Regan scored 15 points, including three-pointers, and tied a career-high with eight rebounds. Watson had 14 points and six assists. Auraum Nuiriankh finished with five points, eight rebounds, five assists and a career-high four blocked shots. Three of his four blocks came in overtime.
Buffalo outrebounded Central Michigan, 41-31, and had 13 offensive boards, resulting in 16 second-chance points. The Bulls also had nine blocks in the game.
Randall led Central Michigan with 31 points.
Wednesday's game against Ball State at Quicken Loans Arena will tip off at 6:30 pm.
No. 7 Eastern Michigan 45, No. 10 Northern Illinois 44
YPSILANTI, Mich. ( – The Eastern Michigan University men's basketball team avenged a 2012 Mid-American Conference Tournament first round exit at the hands of Northern Illinois University, beating the Huskies for the third time this season Monday, March 11 at the EMU Convocation Center.  Freshman Jalen Ross (Greensboro, N.C.-Greensboro Day School) nailed a three from the wing with 32 seconds left as the Eagles emerged from what turned into a nail-biter, winning by a score of 45-44.
The Eagles' big man Da'Shonte Riley (Detroit, Mich.-Detroit Country Day), had himself a big day, scoring a career-high 13 points, getting 11 rebounds, and blocking four shots; leading all players in those statistical categories. All-MAC Honorable Mention Glenn Bryant (Detroit, Mich.-Oak Hill Academy (Arkansas)) also had an impressive outing with 10 points and eight rebounds. Northern's J.J. Cravatta and Aksel Bolin each scored a team-leading nine points. 
EMU (15-17) shot 17-of-38 (44.7 percent) and made 7-of-13 (53.8 percent) of its free-throws. NIU (5-25) converted 14-of-45 (31.1 percent) of its field goals and went 7-of-18 (38.9 percent) from the line.  Eastern won the battle of the boards, outrebounding the Huskies 33-28.  
Monday's tilt was the final contest at the EMU Convocation Center for the 2012-13 season.
Eastern opened play of the defensive side of the ball. Junior center and Detroit native  Riley set the tone bodying a Husky out-of-bounds to earn a possession for the Eagles. Bryant put EMU on the score sheet, nailing a long range two pointer from just inside the top of the arc.  NIU's Antone Christian answered with a three from the wing, scoring the first points for the visiting team. Riley owned the paint in the opening minutes, tallying two blocks in the Huskies' first three possessions.  
Four minutes in, sharp-shooters Derek Thompson (Detroit, Mich.-Melvindale (SEMO)) and J.R. Sims (Fort Wayne, Ind.-Snider) got involved making back-to-back threes to give the Green and White an early 10-3 lead. Sam Mader's turn-around floater gave the Huskies more points within eight minutes of play than they scored in the entire first half during their Jan. 26 visit to the Convo.  
The Huskies had pulled within three points until Sims came off a screen and hit an open jumper to give the Eagles a little separation, 15-10, with eight minutes remaining in the opening half.  Thompson showcased his ability to create his own shot, penetrating and then making the step-back to earn the Eagles two more points.
Three consecutive Northern Illinois triples tied the score at 21-21 with just over three minutes remaining in the first half, but Coach Rob Murphy's squad responded.  Another three from Thompson, a Riley hook shot and put-back, and a timely strip by Ross gave the home team a seven point lead heading into the break.
The Eagles shot well in the first half, hitting 11-of-19 (57.9 percent) from the field.  Both Riley and Thompson came out hot, shooting 4-of-4 and 5-of-5, respectively, in the opening half. Riley led all first half scorers and rebounders with 11 points and four rebounds. The Huskies made 8-of-26 (30.8 percent) of their field goals and 4-of-16 (25 percent) of their three point attempts. NIU's leading scorer in the first half was Christian with eight points. NIU's bench carried the load early for the visitors, scoring 20 of their first half's 21 points. The Eagles edged the Huskies in first half rebounds, 17-10, while registering four blocks. 
The second half started sloppily for the Eagles, with a turnover in their first possession and back-to-back shooting fouls.  Luckily, the Huskies were unable to convert on any their four attempts from the charity stripe.  The first point of the half wasn't scored until the home team again fouled, putting NIU's Mike Davis on the line, who made one of his two free throws at the 17:33 mark. Bryant scored the Eagles' first points of the second half on a line drive jumper during the Eagles' next possession.
Daylen Harrison (Akron, Ohio-St. Vincent-St. Mary) got into the act five minutes into the second half, dipping under a Cardinal and Black defender , filling the cylinder to score his first points of the game. Harrison's score followed by two converted Riley free throws put the Eagles up, 34-23, their largest lead of the game thus far.
Midway through the second half, the Huskies had cut into the Eagles' lead with back-to-back threes to bring the score to 36-29.  Riley tipped in a teammate's miss, and Bryant hit one of his signature mid-range rise-up jumpers to once again extend the Green and White's lead to 11. 
Northern Illinois kept itself in the game by making three pointers along with some Eastern assistance.  With just over five minute remaining, the Eagles gave up back-to-back turnovers, and continued to put NIU on the line committing 10 second half fouls.
With under three remaining in the win-or-go-home contest, NIU's Bolin scored an old-fashioned three-point play to make it a one point game, 42-41. Travon Baker followed that with a three pointer to give the Huskies their first lead of the evening, 44-42.
After a wild scrum for a loose ball, Sims recovered possession and found Ross while sliding across the floor. Ross converted a gutsy three to recapture the lead for the Eagles. With two seconds remaining, Bryant produced an unconventional block, but NIU kept possession. After a timeout by the Huskies, a corner three bounced off the back of the iron to seal the victory for Eastern.
Up next, the Eagles will head to Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio where they will face No. 11 seed Miami University in the second round of the 2013 First Energy Mid-American Conference Tournament.  That game is scheduled for March 13 at 9 p.m. and will be aired on SportsTime Ohio. 
No. 11 Miami 63, No. 6 Bowling Green 52
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - Miami University's men's basketball team seized a 63-52 win at sixth-seeded Bowling Green (13-19) on Monday night at the Stroh Center in the first round of the FirstEnergy Mid-American Conference Tournament to advance to Cleveland on Wednesday. The No. 11 seed RedHawks (9-21) will face No. 7 seed Eastern Michigan at 9 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena with a quarterfinal berth on the line.
Junior forward Jon Harris paced the RedHawks with 14 points, all in the first half, while freshman guard Reggie Johnson tallied 12 points and junior forward Will Felder chipped in 11.
The RedHawks took a quick, 5-4 lead off a Harris 3-pointer at 16:39, but Bowling Green used an 8-0 run to capture a 12-5 lead by the 14:03 mark. Miami chiseled away at the Falcon advantage and knotted the game at 18-18 off one of Harris' four first-half triples at 8:35.
The Falcons came back with a dunk and a 3-pointer to take a five-point lead with 7:42 to go in the half, 23-18. Another Harris triple capped a 5-0 RedHawk surge that again knotted the game at 5:02, 23 all. After a 25-25 tie, BGSU used an old-fashioned three-point play with 3:53 to go in the half to take a 28-25 lead.
Harris drained a 3-pointer to even the game and then chipped in a jumper to hand Miami its first lead since the 16:39 mark. Freshman guard Geovonie McKnight stole the ball on the Falcons' next possession and connected on a layup to cap a 7-0 RedHawk run and hand Miami a 32-28 lead with 2:39 to go in the half. The Falcons hit a 3-pointer to close within one, but a junior guard Quinten Rollins jumper with 50 seconds to play in the opening half handed Miami a 34-31 lead, which carried into halftime.
Johnson hit a pair of buckets to open the second-half scoring, pushing the Miami lead to seven and forcing a BGSU timeout. Felder drained a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired to extend the Miami lead to 41-31 with 15:08 to go. A pair of senior center Vince Legarza free throws at the 14:12 mark pushed Miami's lead to 43-31.
Luke Kraus sunk a 3-pointer at 13:31 to give the Falcons their first points of the half and halt the 9-0 RedHawk run to open the period. Junior guard Allen Roberts hit a jumper to give Miami a 47-36 lead, but Bowling Green came back with a 9-0 run over the next three and a half minutes to cut the lead to 47-45 with 7:15 to play. Roberts buried a floating jumper in the lane at 5:04 to thwart the BGSU flurry and give Miami a four-point cushion.
After BGSU cut the lead to two with 4:35 remaining, 49-47, Johnson hit a key triple to extend the Miami lead. BGSU's Chauncey Orr hit two freebies to make the score 52-49 with 2:08 left, but Johnson banked in a 3-pointer at the top of the key to give Miami a six-point advantage with 1:40 to go. The RedHawks knocked in all eight free throws down the stretch to preserve the win and advance to the second round in Cleveland.
A'uston Calhoun, Orr and Jordon Crawford each scored 10 points for Bowling Green.
The RedHawk win snapped a nine-game losing skid. Miami moved to 8-1 when facing Bowling Green in the MAC Tournament.
Wednesday's contest against the Eagles will be televised live on SportsTime Ohio.