Tuesday's MAC Men's Basketball Results

Updated 12/18/2013
Tuesday's MAC Men's Basketball Results
Toledo 78, Arkansas State 65
Jacksonville State 82, Central Michigan 73
Marquette 91, Ball State 53
Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
Toledo 78, Arkansas State 65
JONESBORO, AR – A dominating second-half performance along with an equally impressive showing on the glass kept Toledo unbeaten in a 78-65 triumph at Arkansas State (5-4). The Rockets’ 10-0 start to the season is their best in 15 years and equals the third-best start in school history.
After trailing 44-40 at halftime, UT outscored the RedWolves, 38-21, in the final 20 minutes. The Rockets also controlled the boards by a 44-25 margin.
“We came out focused in the second half when we went up by 10 points I think we took the spirit out of Arkansas State,” Head Coach Tod Kowalczyk said. “I’m very proud of the way we play against a quality team on the road. It’s great to bring back a 10-0 record to Toledo.”
Junior guard Justin Drummond paced a balanced Toledo attack with 19 points with sophomore center Nathan Boothe (14 pts.), senior guard Rian Pearson (11 pts.) and junior forward J.D. Weatherspoon (10 pts.) also in double figures.
Freshman guard Jordan Lauf topped Toledo on the glass with a season-high eight rebounds with Weatherspoon grabbing seven.
The Rockets shot 46.8 percent from the field and 82.6 percent (19-of-23) from the charity stripe. UT made all 12 of its free throws in the second half.
Senior forward Kirk Van Slyke led Arkansas State with 22 points.
UT limited the RedWolves’ leading scorer, Melvin Johnson III, to just two points. Johnson entered the contest averaging 17.9 ppg and was the nation’s leading three-point shooter at 63.8 percent.
“We did a tremendous job defensively on Johnson,” Kowalczyk said. “We didn’t give him any good looks and it was a great team effort.
Toledo returns to action on Saturday, Dec. 21 with a 2:00 p.m. matinee vs. Horizon League foe Cleveland State (5-5).
Jacksonville State 82, Central Michigan 73
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – Central Michigan failed to secure the non-conference series sweep with Jacksonville State on Tuesday night, falling to the Gamecocks, 82-73, at Pete Mathews Coliseum. The Chippewas won the first meeting, 66-61, on November 30 in Mount Pleasant but JSU shot 54 percent from the field, including making 9-of-18 three-pointers, to claim the victory. 
Despite the setback, several CMU players posted standout performances. Sophomore forward John Simons just missed notching a double-double, totaling 18 points and a game-high nine rebounds, while the team’s leading scorer, Chris Fowler, added 17, just below his season average. 
Austin Stewart and Austin Keel also contributed strong efforts. Stewart had 10 points and six rebounds while Keel tallied nine points, five rebounds and four assists. 
Down 62-54 following a three-pointer by JSU’s Avery Moore with 5:37 remaining, Central Michigan (6-5) clawed its way back into the game from the free throw line. DeAndray Buckley, Rayshawn Simmons and Stewart each went 2-for-2 from the line over the next 1:30, pulling the Chippewas to within two at 62-60.
But Jacksonville State was able to hit big shots down the stretch, outscoring CMU 13-4 to push its lead to double digits at 75-64 with just under one minute to play, effectively putting the game out of the Chippewas’ reach.
Jacksonville State (5-8) raced out to an early 7-0 lead but CMU countered, tying the game at 9-9 on a Simmons layup and then taking its first lead of the game at 12-11 with a three-pointer from freshman Nick Carlos. 
The teams traded baskets for much of the remainder of the first half, with momentum going back and forth fueled by five lead changes. The Gamecocks managed to gain the upper hand late in the half, however. After two free throws from Keel knotted the game at 27-27, JSU scored six unanswered points and took a 33-27 lead into the break. 
Following halftime, CMU wasted no time getting back into the game, taking the lead at 41-39 on a three-pointer from Buckley, who finished the game with nine points, with 14:53 left to play. Central would stake its largest lead of the second half at three points at the 13:30 mark with a free throw by Keel but a 12-0 Jacksonville State run permanently turned the tide. 
Moore, who did not play in the first meeting between the teams, led four Gamecocks in double figures with 19 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field, including three three-pointers. 
CMU was 7-of-20 (35%) from beyond the arc, with Simons accounting for five of the makes and narrowly outrebounded JSU, 32-31.
Central Michigan will return to action following the New Year, hosting Marygrove (0-12) on Friday, Jan. 3 (7 p.m.) in the Chippewas’ final non-conference game of the 2013-14 season. CMU will open MAC play five days later, on Wednesday, Jan. 8 when it welcomes Miami (Ohio) (1-5) to McGuirk Arena for a 7 p.m. game. 
Marquette 91, Ball State 53
MILWAUKEE -- Marquette put its height and athleticism to use Tuesday night on the way to a 91-53 victory over Ball State in men’s basketball action at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.
The Golden Eagles of the Big East Conference scored more than 85 percent of their points either in the paint (56) or at the free throw line (22) against the undersized Cardinals.
Freshman point guard Zavier Turner led all scorers with 16 points for Ball State (2-6), while fellow freshman Mark Alstork matched his career best with 11 points for the second straight game. Marquette (7-4) placed seven scorers in double figures led by big man Chis Otule with 14.
“Some of their points in the paint came off steals, but they’re a physical and strong team in the post,” Ball State head coach James Whitford said. “(Davante) Gardner and Otule are two really high-level big guys, and they caused problems for us.” 
The Golden Eagles scored 30 of their first 36 points in the paint and shot 51 percent in the first half on the way to a 42-24 lead at the break.
Ball State used a pair of Turner 3-pointers and a basket from Franko House to cut the deficit to 13 just over three minutes into the second half, but Marquette responded with a 21-3 run over the next six-plus minutes to take a commanding lead at 66-35 midway through the second half.
House, another freshman, added seven points for the Cardinals. Rookies combined to score the first 15 points of the night for Ball State and finished with 37 of the team’s 53 for the game.
“In a 200-minute game tonight, we played 110 minutes of true freshmen,” Whitford said. “There aren’t many teams in the country doing that, and to bring them on the road in this environment was a tough task.”
The Cardinals struggled at times against Marquette’s 40 minutes of full court pressure with the Golden Eagles forcing 23 turnovers. They turned those into 30 points, generating high percentage looks that helped them shoot 54 percent for the game.
“They’re a really good pressing team,” Whitford said. “I really believe in our point guard Zavier, but it’s not an easy thing to deal with. They’re fast, athletic and very long.”
Ball State walk-on Kindon Crowder saw action for the second time this season and scored his first career points. The former team manager played a career-high nine minutes off the bench and knocked down a first-half 3-pointer.
Tuesday’s game continued a challenging non-conference schedule for Ball State. The Cardinals entered the day with a schedule strength ranked among the top 50 in the country, and that number only got better.
Ball State will be back in action Saturday at Southern Illinois. Tipoff is set for 2:05 p.m. CT (3:05 p.m. ET) in Carbondale, Ill., in the Cardinals’ last game before Christmas.