Saturday's MAC Men's Basketball Results

Updated 2/8/2014
Saturday's MAC Men's Basketball Results
Toledo 80, Ball State 73
Ohio 82, Miami 75
Eastern Michigan 70, Kent State 53
Buffalo 79, Central Michigan 70
Stories courtesy of MAC Sports Information Departments
Toledo 80, Ball State 73
MUNCIE, IN – Toledo notched its 20th victory at Ball State on Saturday afternoon but it certainly wasn’t easy. A young, scrappy Ball State squad put up a strong fight against the Rockets, but UT made the plays it needed to down the stretch to come away with an 80-73 victory.
The win kept Toledo on top of the MAC’s West Division with a 20-3 overall record and an 8-2 win-loss mark in league play. UT’s 20-win campaign is its first since 2005-06 as well as the 19th in the history of the Rockets’ program.
Senior guard Rian Pearson paced Toledo with a game-high 20 points and came up with two huge plays in the final minute.  Pearson first knocked down a baseline jumper for a 76-71 lead with 29 seconds left before diving for a steal on the Cardinals’ ensuing possession to secure the victory.
Joining Pearson in double figures were junior guard Julius Brown (18 pts.), junior guard Justin Drummond (12 pts.) and sophomore center Nathan Boothe (11 pts.). UT was forced to play without Boothe and Brown down the stretch after the duo fouled out with 5:20 and 4:33 remaining, respectively.
Freshman guard Zavier Turner topped the Cardinals offensively with 19 points, while senior center Majok Majok registered a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Toledo shot 49.1 percent from the field but was just 2-of-12 (16.7 percent) from behind the three-point arc. The Rockets limited the Cardinals to a 39.2 FG% and forced BSU to turn the ball over on 21 occasions leading to a 25-9 advantage in points off turnovers. Both teams made 26 free throws as 50 fouls were called in the contest.
Pearson also tallied six rebounds and four steals in the game to help the Rockets garner their most thefts (11) against a Division I opponent this season. Junior forward J.D. Weatherspoon led UT with 11 rebounds, but Rockets lost the battle of the boards by a 39-33 margin.
Toledo built double-digit leads in each half only to see the Cardinals rally each time.  UT established a 33-18 cushion midway through the opening stanza only to see BSU score 17 straight points to take a two-point lead. Pearson ended UT’s 8:11 scoring drought before the half to send the teams to their locker rooms tied at 35-35.
The Rockets again broke away from the hosts with a 13-2 spurt for a 53-42 lead with 12:26 remaining, but Ball State responded with a 10-0 burst to cut its deficit to 62-61 with seven minutes left. 
Brown’s jumper put Toledo up five, 68-63, with 4:46 to play. but that was the last basket the Rockets’ point guard would score.  Brown appeared to block Turner’s shot on the Cardinals’ next trip down the court, but he was whistled for a foul as well as a technical leading to the first disqualification of his collegiate career.
Turner proceeded to knock down four straight free throws to again make it a one-point game, 68-67, with 4:33 on the clock.
UT immediately answered the ball without its floor general on its next possession as a Drummond layup put the Rockets up 70-67. Pearson then hit a jumper for a 73-69 lead with 2:34 to play before Turner hit a pair of free throws with 1:01 left to make it a one-possession game (74-71). Toledo then held the ball for the majority of the shot clock before a Pearson jumper following a Rocket timeout secured the win.
UT returns to action on Wednesday, Feb. 12 when it hosts MAC East Division foe Ohio (17-6, 7-3 MAC) in Savage Arena for its second “Whiteout” game of the season. Tip-off time is set for 7:00 p.m. with the contest being televised by Time Warner Cable’s SportsChannel as well as ESPN3.
Ohio 82, Miami 75
ATHENS, Ohio - The Ohio University Men's basketball team (17-6, 7-3) used yet another second half surge to defeat Miami (9-12, 5-5) 82-75 in the Convocation Center Saturday.
The Bobcat outscored the Redhawks 50-28 in the second half and held Miami to just 12.5 percent shooting.
Junior Travis Wilkins and senior Nick Kellogg led the way for Ohio. The two guards combined for 50 points and ten 3-pointers. Kellogg's 27 points and Wilkin's 23 were both career highs.
Junior forward Maurice Ndour chipped in 14 points and eight rebounds in the winning effort.
Miami got off to a hot start out of the gate, racing out to a 13-5 lead. The Redhawks shot 7-of-10 from beyond the arc in the first half to take a 47-32 lead into halftime.
Ohio scored the first four points of the second half prompting Miami to take a timeout just two minutes into the half. Miami responded to take a 54-38 lead with 15:16 left to play.
From that point on it was all Ohio. Wilkins' three 3-pointers fueled Ohio's 22-5 run over the next 10 minutes of the second half. A jump shot from senior Jon Smith gave Ohio a 60-59 lead with 5:58 remaining in the game.
After two lead changes, and the game being tied at 65, Kellogg converted on his fourth 3-pointer to give Ohio a 68-65 lead that they would not surrender.
Ohio will be back in action on the road at Toledo on Wednesday (Feb. 12). Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Eastern Michigan 70, Kent State 53
YPSILANTI, Mich. ( – The Eastern Michigan University men's basketball team broke a losing skid that lasted 17 games defeating Kent State University the first time since the 1996-97 season. The Eagles used a complete game on both sides of the floor to soar past the Golden Flashes, 70-53, Saturday afternoon, Feb. 8, at the Convocation Center.
EMU evens its conference mark at 5-5 with the victory while improving to 13-10 overall on the 2013-14 campaign. With the loss, Kent State falls to 12-11, including 3-7 in MAC play.
Guards Darrell Combs (Chicago, Ill.-Thornwood) and Raven Lee (Detroit, Mich.-Romulus) each recorded 15 points apiece to pace the Eagles in scoring. Karrington Ward (Lockport, Ill.-Lockport Township) also reached double figures with 10 points while grabbing five rebounds. Eastern shot 21-for-47 for the game at a 44.7 percent clip. The Green and White lived at the foul line in the second half, draining 20-27 from the stripe to add to its 69.7 percentage (23-33) for the entire 40 minutes. EMU's bench outscored the reserves of Kent State, 29-13, and the Eagles dominated the paint, 30-18.
Kent State shot 34.6 percent from the field, sinking 18-of-52 buckets. The visitors struggled from three-point land, making only four out of 26 tries. KSU was led in scoring by a pair of Golden Flashes, Darren Goodson and Derek Jackson, who each tallied 11. KSU only out-rebounded the Eagles by one, taking down 34 boards compared to 33.
After the Golden Flashes scored the opening basket of the game, EMU countered with a Daylen Harrison (Akron, Ohio-St. Vincent St. Mary) deuce and a three from Lee. Kent State responded with a bucket, but Lee and Harrison continued to provide the offensive spark for the Green and White. Lee drilled a jumper from the elbow, and Harrison provided a tip-in, putting the Eagles up, 9-4. Both teams were hot from the start as KSU converted three of its first four from the field. However, Eastern made five of its first eight shots to remain ahead by five, 11-6, with 15:27 left in the opening half.
Kent State cut the margin to one, but Combs kept the Eagles in front with seven- straight points. As the shot clock was winding down, he drilled a step back basket before hitting a three from the wing. Feeling it, the Chicago, Ill. native then took the ball straight to the hoops for the left-handed layup to increase the EMU advantage to eight. Lee added a layup to build the lead to double digits, and Coach Rob Murphy's squad tightened up on defense, creating problems for the Golden Flashes' offense.
Eastern's 12-0 run ended as Devareaux Manley hit a jumper just inside the arc. The bucket broke a scoring drought that lasted nearly seven minutes. EMU answered with a trey from Ward, doubling up Kent State on the scoreboard, 28-14. The Golden Flashes added a three-ball of their own, but Combs drained one on the other side of the court to keep the difference at 14.  Going into the locker room, the Green and White maintained the double digit advantage, 35-25.
EMU shot an impressive 56 percent from the floor in the first 20 minutes, sinking 14-of-25. The Eagles made half of its attempted threes and free throws, going 4-of-8 and 3-of-6, respectively. Combs tallied 12 first half points off the bench, and Lee followed with nine points. Eastern found success in the paint, recorded 18 points there while also scoring seven points off eight forced turnovers.
In the first half, the Golden Flashes were led by eight points from Manley and seven points from Jackson.  KSU shot 10-of-22 from the field for a 45.5 percent clip, but struggled from beyond the arc, making only three of its 10 looks. At the halfway point of the contest, Kent State held a slight rebounding advantage, 14-11.
Coming out for the final 20 minutes, Kent State cut the lead in half with a pair of buckets. The visiting team added two free throws, but Harrison ended the 7-0 run by converting two from the charity stripe. After making a stop defense, Mike Talley (Detroit, Mich.-Melvindale ABT) drove right down the lane for a finger roll. EMU's starting points guard attacked the KSU defense again for a bucket inside, bringing the lead back to nine. Glenn Bryant (Detroit, Mich.-Oak Hill Academy) then brought the house down with a sequence of plays. The senior blocked a three before running out in transition. Recovering the blocked shot, Ward found the streaking Bryant down the floor, and the Detroit, Mich. native threw down the dunk, forcing Kent State to take a timeout as the Eagles led, 43-32, with 15:49 remaining in the game. Two possessions later, Bryant blocked another three before taking the ball to the bucket and drawing a foul. He knocked down both from the line to increase the EMU run to 10-straight points.
The Eagles' 2-3 zone continued to cause problems for Kent State, and Eastern built the advantage up to 20.The Green and White' s monstrous run grew to 20-3 before the Golden Flashes made their first bucket in a nine-minute span. Back-to-back baskets by KSU didn't sit well with Coach Murphy, who asked for timeout with 8:19 left and a 16-point cushion, 55-39.
The Golden Flashes got back in the game with a 14-1 run in four minutes, bringing the margin to seven. However, that would be the closes they would get as EMU countered with seven straight to lead by 14, 63-49, with under three minutes to go. The Eagles would end the losing skid against Kent State with the final margin of victory, 70-53.
EMU hits the road for its next MAC matchup, venturing to Muncie, Ind. to battle the Cardinals of Ball State University, Feb. 12. Tip from John E. Worthen Arena is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Buffalo 79, Central Michigan 70
MT. PLEASANT, MI – Senior Javon McCrea had a career night with 25 points and a career-best 20 rebounds as the Bulls defeated Central Michigan, 79-70, Saturday night at McGuirk Arena.  The victory improves the Bulls to 13-7 and 7-3 in conference play, tying their MAC win total from last season.
While McCrea was dominant, he got some help from freshman Shannon Evans in the first half as the duo combined to score 31 of UB's 39 first-half points.  Evans had a stretch in the opening half where he scored 11 straight.  However, the Chippewas continued to lead 28-26 with 6:12 left in the half, when the Bulls made a run getting six straight points from McCrea.  The Bulls went on to take a five-point advantage following two free throws from Evans and went on to take a 39-36 lead into the half.
The Bulls continued to lead by just three, 42-39, when they went on a 20-5 run to break the game open.  The final four points came on fast-break layups from senior Jarod Oldham.  The 62-44 lead was the largest of the game for UB.  The Chippewas, who hit 11 three-pointers on the night, stayed in the game with their long-range shooting, but never pulled any closer than seven.  The Bulls capped off the victory with a minute left when Joshua Freelove threw down a huge one-handed dunk to put the Bulls up 13.
McCrea became the first UB player to go for 20 points and 20 rebounds since Feb. 13, 2007 when Yassin Idbihi finished with 28 points and 20 rebounds in an overtime victory against Bowling Green.  The 20 rebounds are tied for eighth in a single game and tied for the most in the modern era.  McCrea went 12-of-22 from the floor and pulled down 15 defensive rebounds.  He also added an assist and two blocks.
McCrea paced four players in double figures as Evans finished with 19 points, 15 of those in the first half.  He went 6-for-8 from the free throw line and added five rebounds, two assists, a block and two steals.  Oldham added 11 points, all in the second half, adding five assists and three steals.  Freelove finished with 10 points, while junior Will Regan added nine points and two rebounds.
The Bulls shot 51.8% for the night, including 52.0% in the second half.  UB also outrebounded Central Michigan, 40-27, highlighted by McCrea's 20.
Central Michigan was led by 17 points each from Blake Hibbitts and Chris Fowler.  The Bulls have now completed play against the MAC West with a 6-2 mark against the division.
UB will face MAC East opponents for the rest of the way, beginning on Wednesday night at Miami (OH).  Tip off is at 7:00 pm.