Wednesday's MAC Men's Basketball Results

Updated 12/4/2013
Wednesday's MAC Men's Basketball Results
Toledo 91, Detroit 75
Bucknell 66, Kent State 59
Valparaiso 69, Ball State 50
Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
Toledo 91, Detroit 75
TOLEDO, OH – Senior guard Rian Pearson tied his career high with 30 points and grabbed a season-best eight rebounds to lead an undefeated Toledo squad to a convincing 91-75 victory over Horizon League foe Detroit (4-5) on Wednesday evening in Savage Arena. The Rockets’ 7-0 start to the 2013-14 campaign is their best in 15 years when the 1998-99 squad won its first 10 contests. 
Pearson shot 12-of-16 from the field and was perfect from long distance with a career-best five three-point field goals. His shooting performance helped UT bury a season-high 12 treys and shoot 57.1 percent from behind the three-point arc. The Rockets shot 52.7 percent (29-of-55) as a team en route to topping the 90-point mark for the fifth time in seven outings.
Also scoring in double figures were junior guard Justin Drummond and freshman guard Jonathan Williams with 11 points apiece. Drummond also tied his season high with seven rebounds and dished out five assists without committing a turnover. 
Junior guard Julius Brown dished out a game-high six assists as UT matched its season best with 20 assists. 
Senior forward Evan Bruinsma registered a double-double for the Titans with 25 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
Toledo took control of the contest early thanks to 17-0 run that was ignited by a three-point play from sophomore center Nathan Boothe, who scored nine points and tied his career high with four blocked shots. Pearson spearheaded the Rocket attack in the first half with 22 points and four treys to help Toledo enjoy a 56-39 advantage at the break. 
UT maintained a comfortable cushion throughout the second half as its lead never dipped below 12 points.
Toledo will look to continue its red-hot start this weekend when it visits Robert Morris (3-6) on Saturday, Dec. 7. Tip-off time in Moon Township, PA is set for 4:00 p.m.
Bucknell 66, Kent State 59
KENT, Ohio – Kent State's six-game winning streak came to an end in a 66-59 loss against Bucknell as the Golden Flashes closed a seven-game homestand on Wednesday night at the M.A.C. Center.
The Bison seized control with a 15-0 run in the second half after they had watched the Golden Flashes take a seven-point lead with 15:16 to play.
An individual 6-0 run by Darren Goodson helped Kent State battle back into a tie late, but too many empty possessions at the end allowed Bucknell to pull away in the final two minutes. Bucknell scored 13 of the game's final 19 points to secure the win.
"We made some mistakes, settling for too many shots early in the shot clock and some other things," said Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff, whose team dropped to 8-2 on the season. "Now we have a long break after finals to fix some of those mistakes."
Goodson led the Flashes with 18 points on 7-for-17 shooting from the field and 3-of-8 from three-point range. Kris Brewer added 11 points, but the Flashes struggled as a team all night on the offensive end, making just 37 percent of their field goals (23-for-62) and 25-percent of their threes (7-for-28).
After going to the foul line 39 times in Sunday's win over Kennesaw State, Kent State attempted just eight free throws on Wednesday. 
Brian Fitzpatrick scored 16 points to lead Bucknell. Ben Brackney and Cameron Ayers added 12 points each for the Bison.
Even with Brackney hitting all of his four three-pointers in the first half, Kent State took a 31-29 lead into the break. Ayers drilled two key threes in the second half to answer the run that gave Kent State its seven-point lead. As a team, the Bison connected on 9-of-20 from beyond the arc.
Bucknell (4-4) also out-rebounded Kent State (39-35) despite Mark Henniger's career-high 12 rebounds. The inside trio of Henniger, Khaliq Spicer and Melvin Tabb combined for just one basket on the night.
"We've had some frontcourt guys play very well during the winning streak, but tonight that didn't happen," said Senderoff. "We had a lot of guys at every position not play well, and all on the same night. Give Bucknell a lot of credit for making us not play well. They are a good team. But some of it is on us, too. We got frustrated … And I think we are a little bit tired. I'm not happy with the way we are going into this break, but in a lot of ways the break is important to us to get reenergized and refocused."
The Flashes are off until Dec. 21 when they go on the road to face the College of Charleston. They return home for a regional rivalry game against Cleveland State on Dec. 28.
Valparaiso 69, Ball State 50
MUNCIE, Ind. -- The Ball State men’s basketball dropped a 69-50 contest to the visiting Valparaiso Crusaders Wednesday night at Worthen Arena.
Freshman guard Mark Alstork led the Cardinals with a career-high 11 points, while Jesse Berry added 10. Redshirt freshman Mading Thok grabbed a career-best six rebounds in his first extensive action off the bench, while Tyler Koch matched him with six boards to lead Ball State.
The Cardinals struggled from the floor and fell to 2-5 with the loss, while the Crusaders improved to 6-4 on the year.
“You’re going to have some nights (individually) where you’re 4 for 4, and you’re going to have some nights where you’re 0 for 4,” Ball State coach James Whitford said. “But there are other things about competing for 40 minutes, being able to execute on offense, being able to do the things we’re trying to do, that we didn’t do tonight. And that part I was really disappointed in. We have to get better.”
Early foul trouble limited senior center Majok Majok, who managed five points and five rebounds. Thok, who Whitford credited with working hard and getting better in practice, played 10 minutes for the Cardinals and also registered a block, an assist and two points.
The Cardinals fell behind by 11 points midway through the first half, trailing 17-6 at the 9:31 mark. From that point, Ball State mounted a 13-2 run to take the lead, 20-19, just more than five minutes before halftime. The Crusaders then finished the half with 12 unanswered points to take a 31-20 lead into the break. Valparaiso pushed its lead to as many as 21 points in the second half.
“The biggest thing for us is transition; when we had our run that’s what it was,” Whitford said. “We’re not a great 3-point shooting team; that’s no secret. Especially against a team that’s as big as Valparaiso, they’re able to put a ton of guys in the paint. The more we can get them moving up and down, the better we’re going to be.
“Every time we’ve made a run against a team, it comes that way, and that’s what we have to get better at doing more often.”
The Crusaders shot 48.2 percent on the night (27 of 56), still below their season average, while the Cardinals struggled through their worst shooting performance of the young season at 26.9 percent (14 of 52). Valparaiso won the battle of the boards, 44-37, and out-scored Ball State in the paint, 40-18.
LaVonte Dority led Valparaiso with a game-high 16 points, while Jubril Adekoya scored 12 points to go with a game-high eight boards. Moussa Gueye patrolled the paint with three of Valparaiso’s five blocks.
Ball State will now take a break for final exams. The Cardinals will then continue a challenging stretch of games Dec. 17 in Milwaukee, Wis., against the Marquette Golden Eagles of the Big East.