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Inside MAC Basketball 2017-18: Week Seven

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Last week in the Mid-American Conference…The battle for positioning in the upcoming 2018 MAC Men’s Basketball Tournament presented by visitMyrtleBeach.com began to heat up

At the top, Toledo’s win on Friday night at Miami coupled with a loss by Buffalo at Northern Illinois, gave the Rockets the number one seed for the first time this season. Ball State and Western Michigan had a pair of victories and currently hold the number three and four seeds and the final two ‘byes’ into the quarterfinals.


Elsewhere, Bowling Green won their fourth overtime game of the season, the Huskies shocking overtime win over the Bulls ended their four-game losing streak while Akron ended their four-game slide defeating Central Michigan.

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

EASTERN DIVISION:

AKRON:

Tuesday night the Zips traveled to Ohio and were routed by the Bobcats 99-75 as they gained a split of their regular-season series. It as also the fourth consecutive loss for UA a season high and still do not have a road victory all season. Daniel Utomi led the Zips attach with 21 points going four-of-six from three-point range while Malcolm Duvivier added 15 and Eric Parrish came off the bench to score 13. A 13-0 run by the home team midway through the first half gave them a lead they would not relinquish

Saturday UA ended their longest losing streak since the end of the 2015-16 season as they defeated Central Michigan for the tenth time in the last eleven games 69-63 at the JAR. Parrish scored a career high 21 points including an eight-point binge late in the first half to give the Akron Blue and Gold the lead to stay. Utomi added 20 and eight boards as the Zips improved to 11-2 at home.

This week they entertain Ball State at home before taking the short trek east on Ohio route 59 to meet arch-rival Kent State for the first time this season

BOWLING GREEN:

The Falcons headed into Ball State on Tuesday night and fell to the Cardinals 59-56 as the home team scored their winning points with 1.3 seconds remaining in regulation. BGSU played without Demajeo Wiggins it was not known if it was an injury of some sort of suspension. Antuwon Lillard came off the bench and led the Falcons with 15 points and 10 rebound with two assists and two steals. Dylan Frye added 14. In the game the Orange and Brown pulled down 40 rebounds for the ninth time this season

Saturday against Eastern Michigan, the Falcons came back from a 19-point deficit to defeat the Eagles 70-63 in overtime to split their season series at a game each. It was the third win in the last four games with BGSU who are 4-0 so far, this season if games have needed extra time. In addition, the Falcons shot only 6-of-24 from the field in the first half. In the final 25 minutes they were 16-of-29 from the floor. Wiggins, who missed the loss at Ball State, was back in the lineup and came up big with 17 points and 15 rebounds. Matt Fox (opff the bench) and Frye each added 12 as the Orange and Brown scored all 10 of their points in overtime from the free throw line.

This week BGSU faces Western Michigan on Tuesday then heads to Buffalo on Friday to meet the East Division leading Bulls

BUFFALO:

The East Division leading Bulls picked up their eleventh win in the last 12 games as they began a two-game road trip at Central Michigan defeating the Chippewas 86-82. UB led wire-to-wire however they almost squandered an 18-point lead as the Chips closed to within three in the closing moments. Jeremy Harris led Buffalo with 22 points and five rebounds while CJ Massinburg added 18 with seven rebounds, three assists, and a steal and West Clark had 16 and six ‘dimes’

On Saturday at Northern Illinois, the Bulls squandered a double-digit lead on the road for the second time this season as they lost to the Huskies 90-88 in overtime splitting their two-game road trip. It was a 13-point lead to the Huskies and 19-points when they lost at Kent State. UB had the lead with 40 seconds remaining but could not win the game in regulation as they split a pair of free throws. Perkins led the Blue and White with 22 points and Clark had 21.

UB heads home for a pair of games against the East with Kent State on Tuesday and Bowling Green on Friday

KENT STATE:

The Golden Flashes saw their five-game home winning streak come to an end Tuesday night at the hands of Eastern Michigan 1-67 the visitors first win at the MAC Center since February, 1998. It was the third time this season the Blue and Gold had lost at least two consecutive games. Jaylin Walker led KSU with 24 points going 6-of-13 from three-point range while Danny Pippen posted a double-double with ten points and thirteen rebounds. A main stat in the game 19 KSU turnovers converted into 22 EMU points

Friday night at Ball State, the Flashes fell to the Cardinals 87-68 splitting their two-game series as the home team shot 56.7 percent from the field. It was the third straight loss for the KSU tying their longest losing skid of the season. Danny Pippen led KSU with 17 points with seven assists and two blocked shots while Jaylin Walker added 15 with night boards and two assists as they fell to BSU for the first time since 2005.

This week the Flashes travel to Buffalo on Tuesday to battle the East Division leading Bulls then come home Saturday for a meeting with arch-rival Akron

MIAMI:

Tuesday night at Western Michigan, the Redhawks saw their two-game winning streak come to an end at the hands of the Broncos 68-64. MU had a chance to tie the game and send it possibly into overtime however their three-point chance missed as they let a seven-point halftime lead and even a six-point advantage with five minutes remaining slip through their hands. Nikre Sibande led MU with 13 points with three assists and two steals while Dalonte Brown had 12 with eight boards

Friday night, MU honored one its all-time greats as Wally Sczerbiak’s number was raised to the rafters on Millett Hall. In the game with Toledo, the Redhawks gave the West Division leading Rockets all they could handle before falling 73-67. It was their fourth loss in the last five games and their ninth consecutive loss to the Rockets. Logan McLane led MU with 15 points with seven rebounds and three assists while Darrian Ringo who leads the MAC in assists at 7.4 per game had 15 with five boards, two helpers, and a theft

This week the Hawke are on the road first to Eastern Michigan on Tuesday and then to Ohio on Saturday

OHIO:

The Bobcats ended their four-game losing emphatically with a 99-75 win over Akron at the Convocation Center splitting the two-game season series between the clubs. The night belonged to Jordan Dardis who scored a career high 38 points hitting ten three-pointers in the contest. In all, five Ohio players scored in double figures as they shot 54.2 percent from the field and posted their largest margin of victory over Akron since February, 2012

Following the win over Akron, the Bobcats traveled to Western Michigan on Saturday and loss to the surging Broncos 69-60 their fifth loss in the last six games. One of the keys stats in Ohio’s downfall in Kalamazoo was that they turned the ball over 20 times and WMU converted them into fifteen points. Teyvion Kirk, one of the top freshman in the MAC this season, led four Ohio players in double figures with fourteen points and four rebounds.

This week the Cats travel to Toledo on Tuesday to meet the Western Division leading Rockets then return home to the Convo on Saturday for a meeting with arch-rival Miami

WESTERN DIVISION:

BALL STATE:

The Cardinals rebounded from their loss at Eastern Michigan on Saturday as they returned home to Worthen Arena and defeated Bowling Green 59-56 for their third win in the last four games amnd improved their home record to 11-1. Tayler Persons gave BSU the win with 1.3 second remaining as he hit a pair of free throws part of an evening that saw him lead the Cards with 15 points, five assists and a steal while Trey Moses added 12 and seven rebounds, and Tajai Teague just missed a double-double with 11 and nine boards with three steals

Friday night, BSU had a score to settle with Kent State after losing to the Golden Flashes in overtime earlier in the season. They did just with with a dominating 87-68 win improving their record to 12-1 at home as they shot 56.7 percent from the field. Moses had a career high with 22 points while Teague had his fifth double-double of the season 20 points and a career mark 14 caroms as the Cards defeated KSU for the first time since 2005

It is a big week for the Red, Black and White as they travel to Akron on Tuesday then West Division leading Toledo comes to town on Saturday

CENTRAL MICHIGAN

Tuesday night the Chippewas entertained Buffalo at McGuirk Arena and the Eastern Division leading Bulls led wire-to-wire as they posted an 86-82 win ending their two-game winning streak after beating Ohio in a thrilling double-overtime game on Saturday. CMU fought all night closing an 18-point deficit down to three in the final 10 seconds but could get no further. Cecil Walker led the Chips with 22 points and nine rebounds while Shawn Rountree added 20

Saturday the Chips made their second trip to Northeast Ohio this season as they pulled into Akron and fell to the Zips fior the tenth time in the last eleven meetings 69-63. CMU was trailing by only two in the final minute and had a chance to tie the game but Cecil William’s short jumper with 28 seconds left was no good. Matt McKay came off the bench to lead the Chippewas with 14 points with 10 rebounds and two steals while Roundtree matched McKay’s point total while adding three assists

This week CMU travels to Northern Illinois on Tuesday and returns home for Eastern Michigan on Saturday

EASTERN MICHIGAN:

The Eagles began the week with a trip to Kent State on Tuesday night and defeated the Golden Flashes at the MAC Center for the first time since February, 1998 at span of 11-games 71-67. In addition, the Green and White won consecutive games for the first time since early December. Five EMU players scored in double figures led by Paul Jackson who has 17 points including the two-0free throws with less than ten seconds remaining to season the victory. The Eagles dominated in the paint scoring 48 points to 20 and turned 19 KSU turnovers in to 22 points

Saturday at Bowling Green, EMU let a 19-point first half lead slip away, they had a chance to win the game at the end of regulation but did not. In the end they fell to the Falcons 70-63 in overtime ending their two-game winning streak. Elijah Minnie led EMU with 17 points ith two blocked shots and an assist. James Thompson IV had a another double-double with 10 points, 11 rebounds and two blocked shots in the game he became the third player in Eagles/Hurons basketball history to have 1000 points and 1000 rebounds (Kennedy McIntosh and Brendan Bowery the others) as well as the only player in the MAC to average a double-double (leading the rebounders with 12 per contest)

This week EMU hosts Miami on Tuesday then travel to Central Michigan on Saturday

NORTHERN ILLINOIS:

Tuesday night the Huskies traveled to Toledo and gave the Western Division leaders all they could hand. It was a close game throughout the 40 minutes and was not decided until a three by the Rockets with 54 seconds left spelled defeat for the Red and Black 82-77. It was NIU’s fifth straight loss and sixth in the last seven games despite shooting 50 percent from the field, winning the rebound battle 36-32 and coming back from a 12-point second half deficit all for naught. Eugene German led NIU with a career high 30 points as well as eight rebounds and four assists with Levi Bradley adding 24 with four caroms and a steal

Saturday the Huskies pulled off their biggest win and one of the stunning upsets of the MAC season as they surprised Eastern Division leading Buffalo at the Convocation Center 90-88 in overtime. German who scored 30 points in the contest hit a layup with four seconds remaining in the extra session to end NIU’s thirteen-game losing streak to the Bulls and a current three-game losing streak. In addition, German who currently leads the MAC at 20 points per game added a seven rebounds and eight assists. Bradley added 17 with four assists and two steals

This week the Huskies are hone to Central Michigan on Tuesday and then face Western Michigan on Saturday

TOLEDO:

The Western Division leading Rockets picked up their tenth win in the last eleven games Tuesday night as they defeated Northern Illinois at Savage Arena 82-77. The game as close throughout until Marreon Jackson hit a three-pointer with 54 seconds left to give the home team a bit of breathing space. Jaelan Sanford had 22 points leading four UT players in double figures with Tra’Shawn Fletcher added 20 (going seven-of-ten from the field) with six rebounds and five assists

Friday night the Rockets traveled to Oxford and defeated Miami 73-67 for their eleventh win in their last twelve games coupled with Buffalo’s loss at Northern Illinois on Saturday it moved UT into first place overall in the conference. The win was also their ninth straight over Miami and are off to their best start since 2006-07. Nate Navigato led the Rockets with 19 points and six rebounds while Fletcher collected his eleventh double-double of the season with 18 points, 12 boards, three assists and a steal. In addition, Fletcher is second in the MAC at 18.8 points and third in rebounds at 8.6. Midnight Blue and Gold had eight blocked shots in the contest five alone by Luke Knapke coming off the bench

This week UT hosts Ohio on Tuesday then travel to Ball State on Saturday

WESTERN MICHIGAN:

The Broncos rebounded from their tough loss Friday night at Buffalo returning home to University Arena defeating Miami 68-64 in a close affair as they swept the season series from the Redhawks. The home team led by three with 20 seconds remaining, with Miami having a chance to tie they missed their three-point attempt with Thomas Wilder grabbing the rebound and insuring the victory with two free throws part of an evening that saw him score 12 points with four rebounds and three assists. Reggie Jones led WMU as he came off the bench to score 20 points with eight boards and five assists

Saturday the Ohio Bobcats came to Kalamazoo and the Broncos sent them to their fifth loss in the last six games while collecting their third straight at home 69-60. The key moment in the game was a 9-0 run late in the first half that would give the Broncos the lead they would not relinquish as well as forcing 20 Bobcat turnovers converting them into 15 points. Wilder whi is currently second in MAC scoring at 18.9 per game, led WMU with 19 points (fifteen of which came in the second half) with six rebounds, six assists and two steals. Jones came off the bench to score 13 while Brandon Johnson had 10 with six boards.

This week its on the road for the Broncos. First to Bowling Green on Tuesday then to Northern Illinois on Saturday

There you have it…INSIDE MAC BASKETBALL for week number seven.

Only three weeks remain in the regular season and Quicken Loans Arena, construction and all, are in the teams sights. Now it’s to get there.

The big games this week begin on Tuesday as Buffalo looks to get back on the winning track against Kent State then on the weekend some of the traditional rivalries take center stage with Miami-Ohio and Akron-Kent State

SEE YOU COURTSIDE

E.

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