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Inside MAC Basketball 2017-18: Week Ten


Last week, in the Mid-American Conference…Four teams have punched their ticket to Quicken Loans Arena and the 2018 Mid-American Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament presented by visitmyrtlebeach.com as Eastern Michigan joined Buffalo, Toledo, and Ball State to grab the final ticket to the North Coast.

The rest of the dance card is set with Kent State, Western Michigan, Miami, and Central Michigan all having home games in the first round beginning on Monday night


Here is how the final week of the regular season unfolded

EASTERN DIVISION:

AKRON:

Tuesday night, the Zips traveled up Route 90 to Buffalo and gave the Eastern Division title holders everything they could handle for a while.

They had a six-point lead at halftime but then the Bulls flexed their muscle and the Zips had no answer falling to defeat 80-68 as UB swept the season series and secured the top seed in the 2018 Mid-American conference Tournament. UA suffered its fourth loss in the last five and were led by Daniel Utomi who had 19 points. Jimond Ivey had fifteen with seven rebounds and six assists while Virshon Cotton came off the bench to score twelve

Friday the Zips ended their home schedule with a 67-65 win over Kent State at the JAR to split the season series with their arch rival and ended both a two-game losing streak overall and a two-game skid at home. The game was close throughout played within a span of thirteen points, the lead changed hands fifteen times and was tied on eight occasions.

It came down to Eric Parrish making two free throws with 3.9 seconds remaining in regulation to give UA the victory. Four players scored in double figures led by Utomi with 20 points and eight rebounds.

Monday night, the Zips travel to Western Michigan to face the Broncos in the first round. These two teams opened their MAC schedules in Kalamazoo an it was the Broncos emerging victorious 87-85. The winner gets third seeded Eastern Michigan on Thursday night at “The Q”

BOWLING GREEN:

After two heartbreaking losses to Akron and Kent State last week, the Falcons traveled to Ohio Tuesday night and were routed by the Bobcats 75-59 as they gained a split in the season series. It was BGSU’s fourth consecutive loss and were led by Demajeo Wiggins who had eighteen points and fifteen rebounds his sixth consecutive double-double and the fifteenth this season. Justin Turner was the only other Falcon in double figures with fourteen, four rebounds, and three steals

Friday night was senior night at the Stroh Center and the Falcons ran into a buzz saw in the Eastern Division champs Buffalo totally dominating the Orange and Brown to the tune of 100-70 as they shot a sizzling 56.7 percent from the field as the visitors built a seventeen point lead at halftime and cruised to the season sweep handing BGSU their fifth consecutive loss.

The home team was led by Justin Turner with 21 points while Wiggins picked up his seventh consecutive double-double and sixteenth on the season with fifteen points and ten rebounds. Wiggins along with Eastern Michigan’s James Thompson IV are the only players in the regular season averaging a double-double in points and rebounds

BGSU opens the Tournament on Monday night at Central Michigan. Their regular-season meeting was in Northwest Ohio on January 20th and the Chips picked up an 84-75 victory.

BUFFALO:

The Bulls defeated Akron 80-68 in their final home game of the season. The win also insured UB the number one seed in the 2018 Mid-American conference Tournament. It was UB’s 22nd win of the season their fourteenth in MAC play a school record and finished with a 14-1 mark in Amherst.

CJ Massinburg led the Bulls with 26 points going 10-of-12 from the field and West Clark added 8 and five assists for their fourth win in the last five games

Buffalo ended one of the most successful regular-seasons in school history as they routed Bowling Green 100-70 Friday night at the Stroh Center for their 23rd win of the season and fifteenth MAC win a school record.

In addition, it was UB’s third straight win and fifth in the last six games as they swept the season series from the Falcons. Nick Perkins in his customary role off the bench led UB with nineteen points and nine rebounds while Ikenna Smart added seventeen and five boards.

UB is the number one seed as both the Eastern Division and regular season champion and will play their first game on Thursday against the winner of. Also, the Bulls have a ‘safety net’ for post season play as they are guaranteed at least a spot in the National Invitational Tournament. They will play on Thursday afternoon against the winner of Bowling Green-Central Michigan.

KENT STATE:

The Golden Flashes ended their regular-season home schedule Tuesday night with a thrilling 89-83 overtime win over Miami. KSU came back from a five-point deficit with 53.5 seconds in regulation then took the lead early in overtime and were never headed in a game that saw 10 ties and 21 lead changes almost exactly like the Flashes win over Bowling Green on Saturday.

Kevin Zabo led five KSU players in double figures with 21 points while Danny Pippen had 17 with 18 rebounds and his five points in overtime pointed the Flashes to victory

For the third time in the last four games, the Flashes played a one-possession game this one against arch-rival Akron. It was a game that as tied eight time and saw fifteen lead changes. It came down to the Zips hitting a pair of free throws with 3.9 seconds remaining to take the victory and square the season series with the ancient enemy.

Zabo led KSU off the bench with sixteen points, eight rebounds, and four assists while Jaylin Walker added fifteen.

The Flashes will play at home on Monday night as Northern Illinois come to the MAC Center. The two teams opened conference play in DeKalb with the Huskies emerging victorious 75-61. The winner gets the fourth seed Ball State on Thursday afternoon

OHIO:

The Bobcats collected their third win in the last four games Tuesday night as they defeated Bowling Green 75-59 to split the season series with the Falcons. Mike Laster led the Cats with sixteen points along with Teyvion Kirk. The win was Head coach Saul Phillips’ 200th as a head man in College Basketball as his Cats opened a 20-point lead in the first half, it was down to 12 at halftime before it was put away

Friday night the Cats traveled to Miami and completed a season sweep of the Redhawks with a 75-66 victory for their fourth win in the last five games taking their fourteenth win in the last fifteen and seventh straight against Miami. Mike Laster led Ohio with 22 points while Jordin Dardis added 20.

The Green and White open the tournament on Monday night as they return to Millett Hall to face MU for the third time this season with the winner facing the second seed Toledo on Thursday afternoon

MIAMI:

After beating Akron in dramatic fashion coming back from 17-points down Saturday. The Redhawks remained in Northeast Ohio and fell to Kent State Tuesday night 89-83 in a game that saw ten ties and 21 lead changes. MU had a chance to win in regulation, however the officials through video review waived off Nike Sibande’s made three pointer as pictures indicated that he still had the ball in his hands when the clock hit triple zeroes. The Hawks trailed the entire overtime but got their deficit to one in the closing moments but no further. Sibande led four Miami players with seventeen points and four rebounds while Isiah Coleman-Lands added fifteen scoring all his points from three-point range going five-of-seven

The last part of the season has not gone well for MU Friday night on Senior Night at Millett Hall, the Hawks lost to Ohio 75-66 their second consecutive loss and sixth in the last eight games as they were swept in the season series by the ancient enemy. Jalen Adaway led MU with thirteen points and four rebounds while Delonte Brown and Logan McLane each scored 10.

MU opens the tournament on Monday night as the two arch rivals meet for a third time this one in Oxford with the winner getting second seed Toledo on Thursday afternoon

WESTERN DIVISION:

BALL STATE:

Tuesday night, the Cardinals saw any chance of gaining a share of the Western Division title end as they were dominated by Central Michigan on Senior Night 75-51 handing BSU just their second loss at Worthern Arena this season.

In addition, it was their second straight loss the first time that has happened since the PK Classic in Portland when they lost to Oregon and Bucknell. Tajai Teague was the only Cardinal in double figures with 10 points and seven rebounds. What led to the Cards demise was two-fold. First shooting only 36.5 percent from the field as well as turning the ball over sixteen times which resulted in 21 CMU points

The Cardinals ended the regular season with a trip to Northern Illinois where they lost in the final moments to the Huskies 66-65 for their third straight loss their longest of the season and splitting the season series with NIU.

Tayler Persons led the Cards with 23 points and three assists while Teague added fourteen with six boards and three blocked shots. BSU are the number three seed and will play their first game on Thursday

CENTRAL MICHIGAN:

Tuesday night the Chippewas traveled to ball State and picked up their biggest win of the MAC season defeating the Cardinals at home for just the second time this season and gained a split in the season series 75-51. Cecil Williams led the Chips with 18 points, four rebounds, five assists and four steals that ended a three-game losing streak for CMU which led for more than 38 minutes in the contest

CMU and the Mount Pleasant community was stunned and saddened by the shooting by a student in a dorm room in which both of the students’ parents past away. The campus was on lock down and the game with Western Michigan was moved to Northwood University in nearby Midland where it was played in front of parents and relatives.

The game was won by the Chippewas 85-74 to split the season series with the Broncos ending a two-game losing streak. Four CMU players scored in double figures led by Shawn Roundtree with 27 points, seven rebounds and five assists while Cecil Williams & Luke Meyer each added 18.

CMU opens the tournament at home as Bowling Green comes to McGuirk Arena. Their only regular season meeting was at the Stroh Center where the Chips picked up an 81-67 victory. The winner gets top seeded Buffalo in the quarterfinals on Thursday afternoon.

EASTERN MICHIGAN:

The Eagles continued their late season surge as they clinched a bye to Cleveland the quarterfinals of 2018 MAC Tournament as they defeated Western Michigan in Kalamazoo 74-58 to split the season series with the Broncos as well winning their fifth consecutive game and seventh in the last eight. Paul Jacksomn led the Green and White with 21 points while Elijah Minnie added sixteen with nine rebounds

Friday night in Toledo, the Eagles showed their win over the West Division champion Rockets was no fluke as they went into Savage Arena and picked up a 75-73 win to sweep the season series thanks to shooting 5.7 percent from the field.

It was EMU’s sixth straight win and eighth in the last nine games. Minnie, the transfer from Robert Morris had 25 points with eight rebounds and two steals while Jackson had sixteen with two assists and scored the winning points for the Green and White.

EMU has the third seed in the tournament and their first game comes on Thursday night as they face the winner of the Akron-Western Michigan battle.

NORTHERN ILLINOIS:

Tuesday night the Huskies traveled to Toledo and were dominated by the Rockets who went onto win the Western Division title 96-67 handing NIU their third consecutive loss and fourth in the last five games. Eugene German led Red, Black, and White with a game-high 27 points with Levi Bradley added fourteen and nine rebounds

The Huskies rebounded from their loss to the West Division Rockets to defeat Ball State on Senior night at the Convocation Center 66-65 to gain a split of the season series with the Cardinals. Eugene German hit a jumper with 12.4 seconds remaining in regulation for the winning points NIU came back from a seven-point deficit in the second half for the victory. German, the MAC’s leading scorer at 20.4 points per game, led the Red, Black, and White with 25 points while Bradley had eighteen points and a career high seventeenth rebounds the seventh double-double of his career.

Monday night the Huskies travel to Kent State to take on the Golden Flashes in the first round. The two teams opened MAC play in DeKalb back on January 2nd and NIU emerged victorious 75-66

TOLEDO:

Tuesday night the Rockets clinched the Western Division title and their 21st win of the season as they routed Northern Illinois 97-67 to seep the season series. Midnight Blue shot a sizzling 56.7 percent from the field as they used a 15-2 run during the first half to seize control.

UT was led by Tre’Shawn Fletcher who registered just the second triple double in school history with 20 points-11 rebounds and 11 assists which was a career high. Jaelan Sanford added sixteen points and seven rebounds. UT will be the second seed in the 2018 Mid-American Conference Tournament in Cleveland as East Champ Buffalo cinched the top spot Wednesday night with their win over Akron

Even though the Rockets have the Western Division title in their back pocket, they fell on Senior Night to Eastern Michigan 75-73 as the Eagles completed a season sweep.

It ended UT’s two-game winning streak and absorbed their first loss at home since Ball State defeated them on January 30th. Nate Navigato led the Rockets with a career high 28 points while Luke Knapke added eleven with seven rebounds.

Midnight Blue has the second seed in the tournament ant their first game comes on Thursday evening when they face the winner of Ohio-Miami

WESTERN MICHIGAN:

The Broncos saw any chance of gaining a bye into the quarterfinals end Tuesday night as they were routed Eastern Michigan Eagles on Senior Night at University Arena 74-58.

Thomas Wilder playing his final home of his career was held to just nine points with two rebounds and an assist in 38 minutes. Josh Davis led the Broncos with thirteen points while Brandon Johnson added ten with six rebounds

Friday the Broncos traveled to Central Michigan to play the Chippewas.

However, the tragedy in a dorm room and lock down at CMU forced a postponement. The traveling party was safe and the game was played on Saturday in front of family and relatives at Northwood University in nearby Midland.

CMU won the game 85-74 to gain a split of the season series handing the Broncs their second consecutive loss. A historic moment happened in the game as Thomas Wilder became just the second player in WMU Basketball history to score 2,000 points in his career.

Going into the MAC Tournament, Wilder has 2018 points after scoring 22 against CMU. Seth Dugan came off the bench to score sixteen with eight rebounds and a steal while Reggie Jones scored fourteen and had four thefts.

WMU opens the tournament at home on Monday night against Akron. These two teams met in the MAC opener back on January 2nd with the Broncos picking up the victory 87-75.

There you have it our final regular season edition of INSIDE MAC BASKETBALL.

The Tournament begins on Monday night with the winners heading to the North Coast for the quarterfinals.

SEE YOU AT COURTSIDE AND AT THE “Q”

E.

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