Mid-American Conference NCAA Basketball

Inside MAC Basketball 2017-18: Week Three


This past week in the Mid-American Conference, the Buffalo Bulls showed they are the class of the Eastern Division in this young season as they improved to 4-0 in MAC play.

In the West, Western Michigan and Toledo lead however Ball State is lurking just behind them.


Here is a look at the week that was on the hardwood in the MAC

EASTERN DIVISION:

AKRON: Tuesday night in their MAC home opener the Zips fell to Buffalo 87-65. It was the first loss at Rhodes Arena for the Blue and Gold in addition it was their third straight loss and sixth in the last seven games. UA never led in the game as the visitors scored the first 11 points of the contest. The first half was a total nightmare as they went 3-of-23 from the field and missed all nine of their shots from three-point range. Vishon Cotton had a career high 23 points to lead the Zips while Jimond Ivey added 16

Saturday Akron bounced back with a total team effort in picking up their first MAC win of the campaign defeating Bowling Green at the JAR 80-78 as Cotton who matched his career high with 23 points hit the game winning three-pointer from the top of the key with 3.7 seconds remaining. The freshman was one of four Zips in double figures as Ivey had 19 plus nine rebounds. Jaden Sayles had a career best 14 and four boards. It was UA’s 18th win in their last 19 games against the Falcons.

In addition, UA was playing shorthanded as Emmanuel Olojapoke left the Buffalo game in the second half. It was diagnosed he had a heart problem and had open heart surgery on Thursday and will be lost for the season.

Daniel Utomi leads the Zips in scoring at 16.9 points and rebounds at 6.4 while Ivey leads in assists at 3.9 ‘dimes’. The Zips on Tuesday head to Eastern Michigan then return home on Saturday against Northern Illinois

BOWLING GREEN: The Falcons picked up their fourth win in the last five games as they improved to 2-1 in MAC play defeating Northern Illinois at the Stroh Center 66-57. BGSU opened a 17-point lead early in the second half only to see the Huskies chip away closing to within one 52-51 with 5:59 remaining. The Falcons steadied their ship used a 7-0 run of their own to reestablish control of the game. Demajeo Wiggins led BGSU with 15 points and 15 rebounds while Justin Turner added 14 with five boards two assists and two steals

BGSU on Saturday lost at Akron 80-78 as they battled back from a 14-point deficit in the second half tying the game on two occasions in the closing moments but the home team hit a three with 3.7 seconds which proved to be the winning margin. Turner led all scorers in the game with 30 (three short of his career best 33 in the Falcons opening game win over Drexel) with five assists and three steals. Wiggins had 18 points and 12 rebounds for his sixth double-double of the season

Turner leads BGSU in scoring at 16.1 points per game. Wiggins is second in the MAC rebounds at 8.9, while Rodrick Caldwell leads in assists at 3.5. Tuesday the Falcons head to Miami to complete their season series with the Redhawks then on Saturday host Central Michigan at the Stroh Center.

BUFFALO: The Bulls extended their winning streak to four games and 3-0 in MAC play as they went to Akron and routed the Zips 89-65. UB scored the first 11 points of the game and were never headed. Five Bulls scored in double figures led by Jeremy Harris and Nick Perkins each with 17 points with Perkins coming off the bench. It was Buffalo’s first win over UA since defeating them 74-71 in the 2016 MAC Tournament Championship Game and their first win in the Rubber City since February, 2012

Saturday at home against Miami, UB extended their winning streak to five games and remains the only undefeated team in MAC play with an 82-66 win over the Redhawks. In the decisive second half, the Bulls shot 57 percent from the field and used a 12-0 run to take control of the game. Harris had 23 points and 10 rebounds to lead the home team with Massinburg adding 14 and 11 boards and Clark also had 14 with seven assists.

Massinburg is second in the MAC scoring at 18.7 per contest and is averaging 8.3 rebounds while Davonta Jordan is averaging 3.8 assists per contest.

This week the Bulls remain at home to face Northern Illinois then head to Kalamazoo on Saturday for a big match with the Broncos

KENT STATE: KSU is in a stretch of four game in five at home. The lone road game of this stretch came Tuesday night at Miami where they lost to the Redhawks 80-69 for their third loss in the last four games. The home team used an 18-0 run midway through the first half take the lead. The Flashes battled uphill closing to within eight with 1:24 remaining thanks to a 17-6 run of their own. They scored 44 points in the second half, however that first half deficit was too much to overcome. Adonis De La Rosa led KSU with 16 points and seven rebounds. Jalen Avery had 12 and two assists while Kevin Zabo had 11 along with a pair of helpers

Friday night was snowy and Icy outside the MAC Center however the Flashes improved to 2-0 in MAC play at home defeating Ohio 70-69 thanks to Zabo who had a career high 24 points. Walker came off the bench adding 15 but it was DeLaRosa’s layup with 21 seconds left that put the home team ahead to stay.

Walker leads KSU in scoring at 17.1 points per game (fifth in the MAC) De La Rosa is taking down 7.2 boards per game while Avery is handing out 3.9 assists per game

This week the Flashes face the top two teams in the Western Division as they play host to Western Michigan on Tuesday night then head to Toledo on Saturday to battle the Rockets.

MIAMI: The Redhawks bounced back after losing at home to Western Michigan and defeated Kent State t Millett Hall 80-69. MU used an 18-0 run midway through the first half to break the game open and held as much as a 29-point lead in the second half. Freshman Nike Sebende led the Hawks with 17 points adding six rebounds, two assists, and two steals to the score line while Darrian Ringo had 16 and seven helpers

Saturday the Hawks made the long trip to Buffalo where they lost to the East Division-leading Bulls 82-66. It was their second loss in the last three games after opening the campaign with a win at Bowling Green. The home team’s 12-0 run early in the second half broke the game open. Nike Sibande led MU with 16 points while Darrian Ringo had 14 with seven assists.

Sibande leads the Hawks in scoring at 14 points per game with Ringo leading the MAC in assists at 7.9 helpers per game while Dalonto Brown is averaging 6.2 rebounds per game.

This week MU stays home in the cozy confines of Millett Hall as they complete their season series with the Falcons on Tuesday night then on Saturday entertain Ball State.

OHIO: The Bobcats fell on Tuesday night at home to Ball State 75-68 ending an eight-game winning streak over the Cardinals as a 12-0 run midway through the second half paved the way to victory for the men from Muncie. Treyvion Kirk led the Cats with 17 points with four rebounds three assists and two steals. Mike Laster, who had a career high in Ohio’s win over Northern Illinois had 13. The pair was a group of four Bobcats in double figures

Friday night in Kent, the Cats came back from a 12-point deficit to take a one-point advantage with 2:01 remaining. However, the home standing Golden Flashes scored with 21 seconds remaining to take a 70-69 victory. Kirk led four Ohio players in double figures with 17 points with seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals.

Laster leads the Green and White in scoring at 16.5 per game while Doug Taylor leads in rebounds at 7.6 and Gavin Block leads in assists a t 3.3 (both per game numbers)

This week the Bobcats entertain Toledo at home Tuesday night then travel to Eastern Michigan on Saturday

WESTERN DIVISION:

BALL STATE: After their seeing their nine-game winning streak come to an end Saturday at the hands of Buffalo, the Cardinals traveled to Ohio on Tuesday night and defeated the Bobcats 75-68. BSU used an 12-0 run midway through the second half to take a lead they would not relinquish. Trey Moses led the Cards with 16 points with 11 rebounds and four assists leading four in double figures for the victors. A couple of keys to the victory was shooting 57.7 percent from the field in the second half including 5-of-11 from beyond the arc as well as a 39-33 rebounding edge and going 50 percent (28-of-56) over the 40 minutes

Saturday BSU traveled to Western Michigan where they ran into a buzz saw in the West co-leaders as the Broncos hit their first nine shots from the field to take control en route to a 78-53 victory. The Cards were down as much as 20 points in the second half cutting the deficit in half with 3:45 remaining but could not get any further. Tayler Persons led BSU with 13 points and five assists while Sean Sellers scored nine to reach the 1,000-point mark in his career the 30th player in Ball State history to reach that plateau.

Persons leads in points (14.3) and assists (4.2) with Moses leading the rebounders at 7.8 per contest.

This week BSU hosts Central Michigan at Worthen Arena then heads to Miami on Saturday to battle the Redhawks.

CENTRAL MICHIGAN: The Chips ended a two-game road trip at Eastern Michigan Tuesday night falling to the Eagles 79-74. The home team held an eight-point lead in the second half only to see CMU closed the margin two 74-72 in the final moments on a conventional three-point play by Kevin McKay. Cecil Williams led the Chips with a career high 23 points and eight rebounds rebounding after scoring just six and fouling out in the loss Saturday night at Kent State. A key stat in the game, CMU committed 15 turnovers and EMU converted them into 17 points.

Saturday against West Co-leading Toledo at home the Chips were down 15 early in the contest and could never catch up as the Rockets came away with a 93-82 victory. Shawn Roundtree had a career game with 26 points going 9-of-16 from the field. Williams added 14 with five rebounds and three assists while McKay added 14 with five boards and seven assists.

Williams leads CMU at 14.9 points per game. David DeLeo is pulling down seven rebounds and Roundtree is handing out 3.6 assists per contest.

This week another travel week for CMU as they head to Ball State on Tuesday then to Bowling Green on Saturday

EASTERN MICHIGAN: The Eagles ended their two-game losing streak as they defeated Central Michigan Tuesday night at the Convocation Center 79-74 as they shot 53.4 percent from the field as they collected their fifth consecutive victory over the Chippewas. Elijah Minnie led the home team with 25 points and four rebounds. James Thompson I had his 11th double-double of the season with 17 points (going eight-of-nine from the field) and 12 rebounds

Saturday EMU traveled to Northern Illinois where they squandered a six-point halftime lead only to regain their composure to trail by only two with two minutes remaining. In the end, the Huskies made the big play when they were needed and came away with a 72-66 victory. Paul Jackson led EMU with 19 points while Thompson had 15 and 12 boards.

Minnie leads the Green and White in scoring at 16.9 points per game. Thompson leads the MAC in rebounds at 11.7 remaining the only MAC player so far, this season to average double-digits in points and rebounds while Jackson is second in MAC assists at 4.6 per game

This week the Green and White host Akron then head to Ohio on Saturday to battle the Bobcats

NORTHERN ILLINOIS: The Huskies dropped their second straight and third in the last four game Tuesday night falling at Bowling Green to the Falcons 66-58. The home team built a 17-point lead early in the second half only to see NIU gnaw away at their deficit closing to within a single point 52-51 with 5:59 remaining on the heels of a 14-0 run. However, that one point that would be as close as they would get for the rest of the game. Eugene German led the Huskies with a game-high 19 points while Levi Bradley had 13 and five rebounds

Saturday NIU ended their two-game losing streak as the defeated Eastern Michigan 72-66 at the Convocation Center. The Huskies built an 11-point second half as they scored the first 10 points of the period part of a 17-4 run that erased a six-point halftime deficit. Only to see the Eagles close the margin to two with three minutes remaining. However down the stretch the home team persevered making big plays when it was needed. German led the huskies with 26 points and four assists

German leads the MAC in scoring a 18.9 points per game. Levi Bradley is pulling down 6.2 rebounds per contest while Dante Thorpe is averaging 2.3 assists per game.

This week the Huskies are on the road heading first to Buffalo to battle the East Division leading Bulls then on Saturday at Akron

TOLEDO: Tuesday night at Savage Arena, the Rockets picked up their fifth win in the last six games as they defeated Western Michigan 84-61 handing the Broncos their first loss in MAC play. UT used a 14-4 run early in the second half as they shot a sizzling 72.7 percent from the field in the second period and 50 percent for the game. Tre’Shawn Fletcher came close to a triple-double with 21 points, eight rebounds and eight assists. He was one of four UT players in double figures as Jaelan Sanford and Luke Knapke each added 16 and Marreon Jackson had 13

After beating WMU in their early west showdown on Tuesday the Rockets traveled north to Mount Pleasant and beat the Chippewas 93-82 as they opened a 15-point lead early in the game and would not be caught. It was UT fourth win in their last five away from home as they hit 14 shots from three-point range in the contest as Sanford led UT with 21 points becoming the 45th player in Toledo basketball history to reach the 1,000-point plateau. Fletcher added 22 an Nate Navigato had 18 coming off the bench.

Fletcher is third in MAC scoring at 18.2 points per game, third in rebounding at 8.4 and leads UT at 3.9 assists per contest.

This week the Midnight Blue and Gold venture back into the Eastern Division heading to Athens on Tuesday night to face Ohio and then home for Kent State on Saturday

WESTERN MICHIGAN: The Broncos saw their four-game winning streak come to an end Tuesday night in Toledo to the Rockets 84-61. The home team lead the entire game however the men from Kalamazoo narrowed their deficit to six points early in the second half. However, UT used a 14-4 run to put the game out of reach. Thomas Wilder had a double-double with 28 points and 10 rebounds and four assists (a half dozen shy of a triple double) and Bryce Moore added 16 with three steals

Saturday at home against Ball State, WMU hit their first nine shots from the field opening a double-digit lead within the first five minutes and were never headed as they routed the Cardinals 78-53. The 3-1 MAC start is the best for the Broncos since 2014. Again, it was Wilder leading the Way with 14 points, five rebounds assists and two steals while Bryce Moore had 12 and Josh Davis had 11 with nine boards.

Wilder is fourth in MAC scoring at 18.1 points per game and third in assists at 4.6 with Davis pulling down 7.7 boards per contest.

This week the Broncos head to Kent State on Tuesday night to face East Division-leading Buffalo at University Arena.

There you have it, the Week three edition of Inside MAC Basketball. This week the leaders have some “land mines” awaiting them especially on Tuesday when Toledo heads to Ohio and Western Michigan goes to Kent State while Buffalo awaits the Broncos on Saturday

SEE YOU COURTSIDE

E.

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