Friday's MAC Men's Basketball Results
James Madison 60, Northern Illinois 55
South Florida 75, Bowling Green 61
Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
James Madison 60, Northern Illinois 55
DEKALB, Ill. -- Trailing by 10 at the half, the Northern Illinois University men’s basketball team rallied to within a pair but could never retake the lead, falling to James Madison, 60-55, on Friday evening in the NIU Invitational at the NIU Convocation Center. Sophomore guard Travon Baker (Detroit, Mich./Detroit Consortium) led the way for the Huskies with 17 points, tying a career high.
Junior Aaron Armstead (Chicago, Ill./Hales Franciscan/San Jose City College) added 16 points in his first start as a Huskie. Senior Aksel Bolin (Akser, Norway/Asker) chipped in five points along with a team-best eight rebounds and three assists.
“It was a very competitive game. Unfortunately they were able to get ahead by 10 (at the half), but I thought our guys fought back in the second half,” said NIU head coach Mark Montgomery. “We cut it to two, three or four times, but we just couldn’t get over the hump when we had a shot to take the lead.
“The free-throw line was an Achilles heel again today, but I liked that our guys were taking the ball strong to the basket and getting fouled. James Madison is a good team, they were a (NCAA) tournament team last year, they have some experience mixed in with their young guys and you have to give them credit.”
NIU (0-2) shot just 53.8 percent (14-of-26) from the charity stripe, James Madison went 9-of-15 (60 percent) from the free-throw line.
Leading by one, 11-10, James Madison used a 10-2 burst to take a 21-12 lead with just over eight minutes left in the first half before Bake curbed the Dukes run with a driving layup.
James Madison (1-1) took its largest lead of the contest, 28-16, five minutes before the intermission on a three-point field goal by Charles Cooke. Sophomore guard Daveon Balls (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North) answered with a free-throw line jumper to trim the lead to 10.
That is where the lead would stay as the Dukes took a 10-point lead, 33-23, into the half. Ron Curry led all scorers with nine points for the Dukes. Aaron Armstead, freshman Dontel Highsmith (Dowagiac, Mich./Dowagiac) and Baker each had five to pace the Huskies. James Madison shot 50 percent (14-of-28) from the field in the first half while holding NIU to just 30 percent (9-of-30) shooting.
Highsmith finished with nine points and a pair of rebounds.
The Huskies scored nine of the first 11 points out of the half, trimming the James Madison advantage to just three, 35-32, just less than five minutes into the second stanza.
Following a basket by the Dukes, Aaron Armstead knocked down a triple to bring NIU within a pair, 37-35, but a triple and an old-fashioned three-point play pushed the James Madison lead back to eight, 43-35, with 13:19 to go.
NIU continued to chip away at the James Madison lead, getting back within two, 49-47, on a pair of free throws from Baker with 7:45 left. The lead ballooned back to four before Aaron Armstead converted on two from the charity stripe to once again get the Huskies within two, 53-51, with less than four minutes to play.
Back-to-back baskets from James Madison pushed the lead to a half-dozen, 57-51, and although the Huskies would once again pull within two, 57-55, they were unable to complete the comeback.
Curry led all scorers with 19 points for James Madison. Cooke added 13 points and nine rebounds while Andrey Semenov chipped in 10 points and 10 rebounds.
The Huskies will return to action on Saturday, Nov. 16, in the second day of the NIU Invitational. Action begins at 5:30 p.m. CT as James Madison takes on Milwaukee, followed by NIU against San Jose State beginning at approximately 8 p.m.
South Florida 75, Bowling Green 61
Bowling Green, Ohio – The Bowling Green State University men's basketball team saw early foul trouble put the home team behind early in the contest, as South Florida was able to hold off a late second half charge by the Falcons to come away with the 75-61 non-conference win at the Stroh Center on Friday night.
The Falcons were led by point guard Jehvon Clarke's 17 points, which matches his career-high, while both Spencer Parker and Richaun Holmes chipped in with 11 and 10 points apiece, respectively. Redshirt-sophomore Josh Gomez added a seven points off the bench, a career-high, while Holmes hauled in a team-high seven rebounds in the loss.
For South Florida, guard Corey Allen, Jr. led the way with a game-high 19 points and seven rebounds, while fellow starter Victor Rudd poured in 16 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor. Center John Egbunu tallied 12 points and eight rebounds, while American Athletic Conference Preseason All-Conference selection Anthony Collins had seven points and five assists.
Bowling Green started the game out with a fast break dunk from Parker to take an early 2-0 lead, but saw Holmes pick up two early fouls in the first three minutes of the contest and have to go to the bench early for the Falcons.
The Falcons' defense continued to play well, as it forced the Bulls into three turnovers over its first four possessions and held a slight 6-4 lead heading into the first media timeout.
Fouls continued to mount up for the Falcons, as both Cameron Black and Gomez picked up multiple calls over the next several minutes, as the home team remained in the game and took an 18-13 lead on a three-pointer from Clarke followed by an old-fashion three-point play by Parker with 8:21 to go in the opening half.
South Florida eventually took advantage of the Falcons' foul woes, as the Bulls went to the paint to go on a 10-0 run to take a five point lead at 23-18.
With just over two minutes to go before the halftime break, BGSU's Gomez tied the score up at 27-27 on a long jumper from just inside the top of the key, only to see the Bulls go to the free throw line four more times down the stretch of the half and take a 35-28 halftime lead.
The Falcons finished the half with both Black and Gomez each called for three fouls apiece, while Holmes sat out most of the second half with two early fouls to start the game.
Bowling Green got an early bucket from Black to start the second half and cut the South Florida lead to five, however, as was the trend for the rest of the contest, the Bulls had an answer as the visitors responded with a 6-0 run to take a double digit lead at 41-30 with 17:40 to go in the game.
Clarke would keep the home team in the contest over the next several minutes, as the junior scored 10 straight points over a four minute span to trim the Bulls lead back to five at 45-40 with 13:08 on the game clock.
That would be as close as the Falcons would get for the remainder of the contest, as BGSU cut the South Florida lead to single digits four more times over the final 10 minutes of play, yet could never put together a series of defensive stops as the Bulls pulled away late for the 14 point win.
South Florida outscored Bowling Green 44-34 in points in the paint and 17-9 in bench points.
The Bulls were 17-of-27 (63 percent) from the free throw line, including going 9-of-16 (56.3 percent in the first half, compared to BGSU's 11-of-20 (55 percent).
Bowling Green outscored South Florida 19-11 in points off turnovers, as the Falcons forced the Bulls into 14 miscues, and also held a slight 19-13 advantage in second chance points.
The Falcons (1-1) will open up a four-game road trip at Wisconsin on Thursday, Nov. 21, at 8 p.m. in Madison, Wisc. The game is the first of four that is part of the Cancun Challenge which will wrap up in Cancun, Mexico over the Thanksgiving break.