March Madness Mid-American Conference NCAA Basketball

Inside MAC Basketball 2017-18: Week Eight

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Last week in the Mid-American Conference…The Buffalo Bulls clinched the Eastern Division title outright for just the second time in their history with their win over Bowling Green along with returning to the top of the overall conference standings thanks to Toledo’s loss at Ball State.

A team that is surging late in this season is Ball State. The Cardinals swept the season series from the West Division leading Rockets on Saturday and have now won four straight games and six of their last seven currently holding the third seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament.


Here is “The week that was” on the hardwoods of the MAC

EASTERN DIVISION:

AKRON:

Tuesday night ending a two-game homestand the Zips fell to Ball State 90-77 losing both ends of the season series and falling to defeat for just the third time this season. It was UA’s fifth loss in the last six games. Malcolm Divivier led the Zips with 26 points going six-of-eight from three-point range. Jimond Ivey had 13 with five assists and a steal while Eric Parrish chipped in 11 with five rebounds

Saturday UA made the short trip on Ohio Route 59 to battle arch-rival Kent State for the first time this season. A close game throughout before the Golden Flashes outscored the Zips 24-10 over the final five minutes for an 86-76 victory handing Akron their second straight loss and sixth in the last seven games. Duvivier had another hot game from the three-point arc scoring 27 points while Daniel Utomi added thirteen with two steals.

This week the Zips travel to Bowling Green to battle the Falcons then return home on Saturday to face Miami

BOWLING GREEN:

Tuesday night the Falcons came up with their biggest win of the MAC season as they defeated Western Michigan at the Stroh Center 83-81. BGSU trailed by as much as 15-point and were trailing by two with 4.7 seconds remaining when Antuwon Lillard was fouled attempting a three-pointer. He made all three foul shots to propel the Orange and Brown to their fourth win in the last five games. In the contest, Lillard had 18 points, four rebounds, three assists, a steal and two blocked shots. Justin Turner led BGSU with 29 points with three boards, two assists and two steals.

The Falcons saw their two-game winning streak come to an end on Friday night as they traveled to Buffalo and fall to the eventual Eastern Division champion Bulls 95-82. BGSU was down by fifteen at halftime however the closed to within four halfway through the second half before a 9-0 UB run put the game out of reach. Turner again led the Falcons in scoring with 23 points the ninth time this season the redshirt freshman scored 20 or more points this season., Wiggins had his twelfth double-double of the season with 13 points and 15 boards.

This week the Orange and Brown face Akron at the Stroh Center on Tuesday then head to Kent State on Saturday

BUFFALO:

After losing a heartbreaker in overtime Saturday at Northern Illinois, the Bulls returned home and got a measure of revenge on the Kent State Golden Flashes as they defeated them 84-72 to split their season series after losing to the Flashes in Kent on January 30th 82-79 along with ending as a three-game losing streak to Blue and Gold.

UB shot 58 percent from the field in the first half opening a 21-point halftime advantage and were never headed. Jeremy Harris scored a career high 24 points going 9-of-10 from the field with six rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Wes Clark had 19 points with four boards and three assists and Nick Perkins collected his third double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 boards

Friday night before a near sellout crowd the Bulls defeated Bowling Green 95-82 to win the Eastern Division title only their second outright division title since joining the conference. The win coupled with Toledo’s loss at Ball State on Saturday put UB back atop the overall conference standings. An 11-2 run gave the Bulls a lead they would not relinquish as they improved to 12-1 at home before a national television audience. CJ Massinbuirg led four UB players in double figures with 24 points, twelve rebounds, five assists and a steal while Perkins added 22.

Tuesday the Bulls head to Miami then return home to face Ohio

KENT STATE:

Tuesday night the Flashes traveled to Buffalo for a second meeting with the Eastern Division leaders and this time the Bulls did not let a double-digit lead get away from them like they did on January 30th at the MAC Center as they downed KSU 84-72 to split the two-game series and incur a fourth consecutive loss on the Flashes their longest of the season. Kevin Zabo led four KSU players in double figures with 17 points coming off the bench

Saturday the Blue and gold faced the arch rival Akron Zips for the first time this season and came out on top 86-76 to snap their four-game losing streak longest of the season so far. The game was close throughout before Jalen Avery took the game into his own hands as he scored all of his 16 points in a 3:15 span late in the second half to give KSU the win. Jaylin Walker had 27 points and four assists while BJ Duling had 13 and a pair of steals.

This week KSU travels to Ohio to battle the Bobcats before returning home to face Bowling Green

MIAMI:

Tuesday night, MU traveled to Eastern Michigan battling the Eagles close throughout before the home team emerged victorious 58-57 handing the Redhawks a third consecutive loss. Jalen Wright led MU with a career high 21 points and five rebounds. In defat, the Hawks shot 54.2% from the field in the second half going seven-of-eleven from three-point range

Saturday, MU traveled to Athens to face Ohio for the first time this season ‘battle of the bricks’ basketball style. They came back from a 15-point second half deficit to force overtime. They had a four-point lead in the extra period before the Bobcats pulled it out in the end 92-87 the fourth consecutive loss for the Hawks. Sibande led Miami with his first career double-double 22 points and ten rebounds as four players scored in double figures including Darrin Ringo who had 16 and nine assists. Ringo leads the MAC in assists at 7.5 helpers per game

This week, Miami faces the Eastern Division champs Buffalo at home then head to Akron on Saturday to battle the Zips

OHIO:

The Bobcats traveled to Toledo on Tuesday night and fell to the West Division leading Rockets for the second time this season 82-74. UT scored the game’s first 15 points within five minutes to quickly decide the contest. The loss sends the Cats to their sixth loss in the last seven games. Kevin Mickle who came to Ohio after playing four seasons at Florida Gulf Coast led the Green and White with 24 points, six rebounds, and two blocked shots while Teyvion Kirk picked up his third double-double of the season with 21 points and 10 boards

Saturday, the Bobcats faced arch-rival Miami in their first ‘battle of the bricks’ meeting on the court defeating the Redhawks in overtime 97-87. Ohio let a double-digit lead get away in the second half as the Hawks forced overtime. Jordin Dardis led the Cats with 23 points and six rebounds as five Bobcats scored in double figures. Dardis also scored on a layup with 49 seconds remaining in the extra session to secure victory and end the Green and White’s to-game losing streak

This week the Cats are home to Kent State on Tuesday then travel to Buffalo on Saturday to meet the East Division holders the Bulls

WESTERN DIVISION:

BALL STATE:

The Cardinals used two major runs (11-2 at the end of the first half and then a 13-2 burst in the second half) in defeating the Akron Zips 90-77 sweeping the two-game series. It was BSU’s third straight in and fifth in the last six games claiming a victory in the Rubber City for the first time since February, 2001. Trey Moses and Tajai Teague were the Cards main men in the game both registering double-doubles with Moses scoring 22 with 13 rebounds while Teague had 21 and 10 boards, three assists and two blocked shots. Tayler Persons had 18 and four helpers

Saturday the Cards met Toledo in a rematch this time at Worthen Arena and dominated the game from the opening tap winning 99-71 to sweep the season series from the West Division leading Rockets. It was also BSU’s fourth straight win and sixth in the last seven games as they solidified the third seed currently in the upcoming MAC Tournament. Ishamel El-Amin had a career day with 18 points as he ant Persons (who also had 18) led four players in double figures while Teague again had a double-double with 16 points and twelve rebounds.

This week the Cards finish their home schedule with Northern Illinois on Tuesday and Western Michigan on Saturday

CENTRAL MICHIGAN:

Tuesday night, CMU traveled to Northern Illinois and defeating the Huskies 80-77 to sweep the season series as well as ending a two-game losing streak as well as collecting their first road win since January 20th at Bowling Green. Kevin McKay came off the bench to score a career high 33 points (going 14-of-20 from the field five of six from beyond the arc with seven rebounds. Shawn Rountree added 16 and Cecil Williams had 10 as the Chippewas picked up their first win in DeKalb since 2013

The Chips returned home Saturday to face Eastern Michigan. They let a 10-point second half lead slip through their hands as the Eagles took control late in the game and swept the season series with a 72-67 victory. McKay again came off the bench registering his third double-double in as many games 14 points, 16 rebounds, and seven assists. Luke Meyer added 13 and five boards but it was not enough as CMU absorbed their third loss in the last four games.

This week the Chips are on the road first to Northern Illinois on Tuesday and then to Toledo on Saturday

EASTERN MICHIGAN:

The Eagles rebounded from their tough loss at Bowling Green on Saturday night, returning home to the Convocation Center Tuesday night and defeated Miami 58-57 for their third win the last four games and sweeping the season series from the Redhawks. Elijah Minnie led EMU with 24 points and nine rebounds. The ninth time this season the transfer from Robert Morris has scored 20 points this season. James Thompson IV recently becoming the third EMU player in history with 1000 points and 1000 rebounds registered his eighteenth double-double of the season with 14 points, 14 rebounds and four blocked shots

Saturday EMU traveled to Central Michigan and overcame a 10-point second half deficit to defeat the Chippewas 72-67 to sweep the season series. The big play for the Eagles was a blocked shot by Tim Bond who then helped put them in the lead for good hitting both ends of a one-and-one free throw. Thompson had his 19th double-double of the season with 22 points, 14 rebound and four blocked shots. Thompson leads the MAC in rebounds at 12.1 caroms per game and remains the only player in the conference to average a double-double in points and boards while Paul Jackson added 16 for EMU’s second MAC road win of the season.

This week the Eagles play their final two home games of the season as Toledo on Tuesday and Northern Illinois on Saturday come into the Convocation Center

NORTHERN ILLINOIS:

After beating the East Division leading Buffalo Bulls on Saturday, the Huskies could not carry that momentum into their Tuesday night tilt with Central Michigan falling to the Chippewas for the second time this season 80-72 in a game that saw 15 ties and 17 lead changes. Eugene German led four NIU players in double figures with 23 points, seven rebounds two assists and a steal as the Red, Black, and White lost for the fifth time in the last six games.

Saturday the Huskies finished a three-game homestand as they defeated Western Michigan 75-67 to gain a split in their two-game series. German who currently leads the MAC in scoring at 20.5 points per game (the only player in the conference averaging 20 points a game) scored a career high 31 going 11-of-22 from the field while Levi Bradley added 21 with five rebounds and a steal as the Huskies shot 53.2 percent from the field (61.2 percent in the second half) to gain their second win in the last three games

This week the Red, Black, and White head on the road first to ball State on Tuesday and then to Eastern Michigan on Saturday

TOLEDO:

The Western Division Rockets picked up their eleventh win Tuesday night as they defeated Ohio at Savage Arena 82-74 sweeping the season series when they defeated the Bobcats in convincing fashion at Athens 91-57. Midnight Blue and Gold scored the game’s first fifteen points within the first five minutes and never looked back. Jaelan Sanford led UT with 21 points, five rebounds, three assists and a steal. Tre’Shawn Fletcher added 17 with eight boards and Nate Navigato had 15 with five boards and four ‘dimes’

Saturday the Rockets traveled to Ball State and were routed by the Cardinals 99-71 sweeping the season series from UT who never led at any time in the game while shooting just 39 percent from the field. The loss was snapped a four-game winning streak overall and five straight on the road for Midnight Blue. Luke Knapke came off the bench to lead the Rockets with 17 points while Fletcher, currently second in MAC scoring, came close to a triple double with 15 points, eight rebounds, and four assists.

This week the Rockets make the short trip up US Route 23 to Eastern Michigan then return home to face Central Michigan

WESTERN MICHIGAN:

The Broncos traveled to Bowling Green on Tuesday night and saw their two-game winning streak come to a screeching half at the hands of the Falcons 83-81. WMU had a two-point lead with 4.7 second remaining when Thomas Wilder fouled Antuwon Lillard who was attempting a three-pointer. Lillard made all three foul shots. Broncos had one final chance but Reggie Jones’ desperation three at the buzzer failed. Wilder led four Broncos in double figures with another solid game 18 points, three rebounds, five assists and six steals while Josh Davis added 15 with seven boards

Saturday the Broncos ended their road trip with a stop at Northern Illinois and fell to the Huskies 75-67 splitting their two-game series.

WMU trailed for most of the game closing to within two points within the final 30 seconds but could not get any closer and they suffered their second straight loss. Wilder who is second in MAC scoring at 18.9 points per game and third in assists at 4.3 helpers paced the broncos with 20 points and five assists while Bryce Moore had 15 with four rebounds and a pair of assists.

This week the Black and Gold are home to Central Michigan on Tuesday then travel to Ball State on Saturday

There you have it…INSIDE MAC BASKETBALL for week number eight. We know Buffalo has punched their ticket to Cleveland and the quarterfinals. Toledo has a two-game lead over Ball State however the Cards and coming on and have the third seed and there are four teams battling for that fourth and final ‘bye’ into the quarterfinals.

Just two weeks left in the regular season and still much to be decided in terms of seeding and who would get a home game in the first round.

SEE YOU COURTSIDE!!!

E.

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