Saturday’s MAC Men’s Basketball Results

Updated 1/11/2014
Saturday’s MAC Men’s Basketball Results
Toledo 86, Central Michigan 71
Kent State 86, Ball State 74
Buffalo 76, Eastern Michigan 66
Western Michigan 78, Miami 77 (OT)
Stories Courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
Toledo 86, Central Michigan 71
TOLEDO, OH – Six Rockets scored in double figures to lift Toledo to its first Mid-American Conference victory of the season, an 86-71 home win over Central Michigan (7-7, 0-2 MAC). The triumph snapped a two-game losing skid and improved the Rockets’ record to 13-2 overall and 1-1 in league play.
Junior guard Julius Brown paced UT offensively with 15 points and tied his career high with 12 assists for his third double-double of the season and seventh of his Rocket career. Junior forward J.D. Weatherspoon also notched his first career double-double with 14 points and a career-best 11 rebounds.
Also scoring in double figures were senior guard Rian Pearson (14 pts.), sophomore center Nathan Boothe (13 pts.), freshman guard Jordan Lauf (season-high 12 points) and junior guard Justin Drummond (11 pts., career-high six assists).
Toledo was extremely efficient offensively, shooting 57.1 percent from the field and collecting a season-high 23 assists with just 11 turnovers. UT also converted 8-of-17 three-point attempts (47.1 percent) and 22-of-27 (81.5 percent) free throws.
Sophomore guard Chris Fowler topped CMU with 21 points and eight rebounds.
UT limited the Chippewas to a 44.6 shooting mark, including a 23.8 percentage (5-of-21) from behind the three-point arc, en route to its fifth straight victory in its series with CMU.
Toledo led for nearly the entire contest and took its biggest lead of the opening stanza, 25-16, on Pearson’s jumper with 6:55 remaining in the first half. CMU battled back to within three on sophomore Blake Hibbitts’ jumper at the 1:39 mark, but a Weatherspoon jumper and trey on UT’s final two possessions provided the Rockets a 35-27 advantage at intermission.
Toledo increased its lead to 59-43 following two Lauf free throws with nine minutes to play, the Chippewas rallied to within six points, 68-62, following a Fowler layup with 4:13 left.
Brown knocked down a trey on UT’s next possession, and Drummond then sank four straight free throw for a 75-62 cushion with 2:19 to play. Toledo’s lead didn’t dip below 10 points the rest of the way.
The Rockets remain at home next week with a matchup vs. MAC East Division foe Buffalo (8-4, 2-0 MAC) on Wednesday, Jan. 15. Tip-off time in Savage Arena is set for 7:00 p.m.
Kent State 86, Ball State 74
KENT, Ohio – Darren Goodson, Kris Brewer and Derek Jackson led a second half surge that ended with Kent State capturing its first Mid-American Conference win of the season 86-74 over Ball State on Saturday at the M.A.C. Center.
After falling behind 39-32 at halftime while experiencing the same shooting woes that had haunted them during their previous three-game losing streak, the Golden Flashes turned around their fortunes by outscoring the Cardinals 54-35 in the final 20 minutes. 
"We needed a win. That goes without saying," said Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff, whose team improved to 10-5 overall and 1-1 in MAC play. "The way we played in the second half was as good as we've played maybe all year. I'm proud of the guys and this is something to build on to continue to get better."
Goodson led the way with 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting. He also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds in 28 minutes. Brewer added 18 points and Jackson scored 12, shooting a combined 8-for-11 in the second half after a combined 1-of-8 in the second half.
Goodson's big night helped Kent State outscore Ball State 35-15 off of the bench. It was also the payoff for the senior's hard work in recent weeks to break out of a prolonged slump. On Saturday afternoon, Goodson spent time in the gym taking extra shots and running drills with assistant coach Eric Haut.
"Darren has been working extremely hard since Christmas break," said Senderoff. "There is nobody who wants to play well more for the jersey and not for his own name than Darren Goodson. It is great for him to see the reward for all of that hard work."
The Flashes also found important contributions from Chris Ortiz, who chipped in nine points and five rebounds in just 13 minutes, and Melvin Tabb, who scored five points, but played a big role in limiting Ball State center Majok Majok in the game's final 30 minutes.
Majok was a big key to Ball State (3-10, 0-2) taking an early lead that reached 13 points by the 12:31 mark of the first half. He started the game 5-for-5 from the field, but finished with 14 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
"In the second half we did a very good job of making Majok Majok catch the ball further and further away in the paint," said Senderoff. "When he catches the ball at two feet he is a very, very good player."
Kent State still trailed by seven points five minutes into the second half before erupting for a 25-8 run. That stretch included 16 unanswered points highlighted by two old-fashioned three-point plays by Ortiz.
"Ortiz drove the ball hard to the basket in the second half and got fouled, and he had a big steal that set up another three-point play for Kris Brewer," said Senderoff. "Chris is getting better. He works hard and now he is starting to play with more and more confidence.
"I was also very happy with the way Kris Brewer responded in the second half. I pulled him early in the half because Ball State got a loose ball right in front of him and then he fouled when they had one second on the shot clock. When he came back in he responded the way your point guard, your captain and a leader is supposed to respond. He played great."
After turning the ball over eight times in the first half, the Golden Flashes suffered just one turnover after halftime. The Flashes also upped their shooting percentage from 41.4 percent to 64.3 percent in the second half.
Kent State goes on the road on Wednesday to play Northern Illinois before traveling to Buffalo on Saturday.
Buffalo 76, Eastern Michigan 66
BUFFALO, NY - The University at Buffalo men's basketball team outscored the visiting Eastern Michigan Eagles, 46-36, in the second half, winning 76-66, Saturday afternoon at Alumni Arena.  The victory is UB's fourth straight and it put the Bulls at 2-0 in the Mid-American Conference for the first time since the 2009-10 season.
UB was able to overcome an 8-point second half deficit thanks to clutch shooting from sophomore Jarryn Skeete and unselfish ball movement that saw the Bulls record 12 assists to just two turnovers over the final 20 minutes.
The Eagles began the second half on a 13-5 run to open up a 43-35 lead just four minutes into the half.  EMU continued to lead 45-38 when UB went on a 12-3 run to take a 50-48 advantage.  The Bulls shared the basketball as five different players scored during the run.
Eastern Michigan regained the lead at 55-53, but on the next possession Skeete was fouled on a three-point attempt and hit all three free throws, giving the Bulls a 56-55 lead.  The Eagles quickly tied it up, but Skeete was able to knock down a long three and the Bulls led for the final 4:51.
EMU made one final push as it pulled within 66-62 with 2:40 left, but UB than scored six straight, first coming on another triple from Skeete and than the exclamation point came on a steal and fast break layup from Jarod Oldham, who completed a three-point play following a foul.  Oldham hit another two free throws late to give the Bulls their largest lead of the game at 12.  UB went on to win 76-66.
It was an extremely even first half that saw the two teams go into the locker room tied at 30-30.  Eastern Michigan opened the game scoring six of the first eight points, but the Bulls stayed close despite trailing by as many as five early.  UB responded with a 17-6 run, which gave the Bulls their largest lead of the opening half, 24-18.  That run was capped off on a three-point play from junior Xavier Ford, who picked up his second start of the season.  Eastern Michigan tied the game back up at 30-30 with 2:05 left and neither team was able find the scoring column for the remainder of the half.
"I thought it was a heck of a game and Eastern [Michigan] is a very talented team and their record is reflective of it," said head coach Bobby Hurley.  "It was a great test for our team today and we did an outstanding job defensively creating turnovers and on the flip side I was proud of how unselfish our guys played and shared the basketball and 22 assists and eight turnovers is a great stat.  Overall, I couldn't be any prouder of these guys and their effort today."
Skeete tied his career-high with 19 points as the Bulls put four players in double figures for the second straight game.  Skeete went 4-for-7 from behind the arc, while also adding four rebounds.  Oldham added 11 points and a game-high seven assists, while junior Will Regan also finished with 11 points.
Despite not scoring in the first half, leading scorer Javon McCrea still finished with his sixth double-double, finishing with 10 points, 11 rebounds, five assists, three blocks and three steals.  Ford added eight points and six rebounds, while senior Joshua Freelove had seven points and a pair of assists.
The UB bench outscored the EMU bench, 29-4.  In addition to Skeete's 19 off the pine, freshman Shannon Evans had five points and five assists, including some nifty passing late in the second half.  Fellow freshman Deyshonne Much also added five points, including a long three pointer in the first half.
As a team, the Bulls finished with a season-high 22 assists, while turning it over just eight times.  The UB defense was stingy again, especially from three-point range as Eastern Michigan shot just 3-of-17 from behind the arc.
The Eagles (9-6, 1-1 MAC) also had four players in double figures led by 10 points and 10 rebounds from Glenn Bryant.
The Bulls will now hit the road for the first time in Mid-American Conference play as they head to Toledo on Wednesday night.  Tip off is scheduled for 7:00 pm.
Western Michigan 78, Miami 77 (OT)
OXFORD, Ohio - David Brown made a go-ahead free throw with two seconds remaining to give his team the final edge, and the Western Michigan men's basketball team extended its season-long win streak to four games by winning an overtime thriller 78-77 against Miami (Ohio) at Millett Hall on Saturday. With the win, the Broncos improve to 9-5 on the season, 2-0 in Mid-American Conference play.
Brown drove the lane on the Broncos' final possession and drew contact from Bill Edwards, putting the team's senior leader on the free throw line with the chance to take the lead. Brown sunk the first free throw to put the Broncos head, and Connar Tava picked up the offensive rebound of the second to ensure the RedHawks had no opportunity to send up a desperation shot.
The Bronco offense continued to be the model of shooting efficiency, going 23-of-41 from the field for a 56.1 shooting percentage. They built their lead in the first half by holding the RedHawks to just a 29.2 percentage in the first half, while the Broncos shot nearly 62 percent from the field themselves. The game stayed close due to the Broncos' trouble with turnovers; they gave the ball away 16 times in the game, compared to just six turnovers for the RedHawks.
Brown finished with a game-high 25 points, going 6-of-13 from the floor and 9-of-12 from the free throw line. Tava did not finish far behind him with 22 points, four rebounds, three assists, and two blocked shots; the sophomore missed just one field goal attempt, going 7-of-8 from the field, and shot a perfect 8-of-8 from the free throw line. Shayne Whittington added 12 points and a game-high eight rebounds.
The overtime period saw the teams trade points on consecutive possessions, with Tava making a pair of free throws on the Broncos' first trip with the ball to tie it at 67. Bill Edwards, who finished with a team-high 24 points for Miami, made two free throws on his next possession to re-take the lead, but Richie tied it with a pair of free throw on makes with 4:03 remaining in the period. The biggest spark came when the RedHawks committed a costly turnover at half court, leading to Tava driving to the hoop, making a lay-up, and drawing contact from Joshua Oswald in the process to put WMU up 72-69. The lead went as high as five points when Whittington made a pair of free throws with 2:50 remaining in overtime, but a 5-2 Miami run tied the game at 77 thanks to a jumper in the paint from Edwards with seven seconds remaining. Brown broke the RedHawks' full court press, drew a foul on the way to the hoop, and knocked home the game-winner to send the Broncos' home with a W.
The Broncos could not seem to miss in the opening minutes of the game, catching fire early on and leading by as many as 14 points in the first half. Brown made a three-pointer from the right corner at the 18:41 mark to give the Broncos a 5-2 lead, an advantage that would hold up until late in the second half. Tava converted on an and-1 to put the Broncos ahead 10-4, and Tucker Haymond sparked the team with three-pointer makes on consecutive possessions to make it 18-4 at the 11:38 mark of the first half. The lead briefly dipped below 10 points on a pair of free throw makes from Will Sullivan, but Taylor Perry pushed it to 14 points again with a baseline drive and lay-up to make it 28-14 with 6:05 left. Will Felder pulled the RedHawks to within six points with 59 seconds remaining, but Brown banged home another three-pointer to send the lead to 35-26 at the halfway point.
Miami came out with great sharpness in the second half, though, pulling to within one possession at the 16:34 mark on a transition lay-up from Felder. The lead dipped to just one point on a lay-up from Willie Moore at the 12:49 mark, but the Broncos did not relinquish the lead until Edwards drained a three-pointer from the head of the key to make it 58-56 with 4:57 remaining. Edwards made another three-pointer to keep it a two-point lead with 3:53 left in regulation, but Tava put WMU ahead 64-63 with two free throw makes at the 1:25 mark. Brown made it a two-point lead by making the front end of a 1-and-1, but Moore made a finger roll with two seconds remaining to tie the score and send it to overtime.