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MAC Notebook

December 3, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

Mid-American Conference Notebook

by Adam Trumble

Preseason West Division favorite Ball State suffered a major setback as Theron Smith is out for the season. Smith, the Cardinals’ leading scorer is suffering from reoccurring tendinitis in his right knee as a result of surgery in June. He will apply for a medical redshirt after the completion of the season.

If approved, Smith will return for the 2003-04 season with a fifth year of eligibility at Ball State. A preseason All-American and John Wooden Award candidate, Smith played in BSU’s first three games of the season at the BP Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska. He averaged 15.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in 33.3 minutes of action. He also ranked first in the Mid-American Conference and second in the nation with 23 double-doubles last season.

The Cardinals began life without Smith Saturday in a 71-45 loss at Butler. The Cardinals received a career-high 22 points from junior college transfer Cameron Echols but fell to 2-2 on the season. Ball State will try to get back on track Tuesday hosting IUPUI in its home opener. The Cardinals play their next three games at home.

Bad news for BSU is good news for WMU

With Ball State struggling without Smith and Toledo also struggling out of the gate, Western Michigan is ready to make a run at a West Division title. The Broncos are off to an early 3-1 start including a 56-52 victory at Michigan Saturday. Western Michigan was led by senior guard Robby Collum. Collum drained six free throws down the stretch to put the game away.

He led all scorers with 17 points on his 22nd birthday. The preseason All-MAC guard has the Broncos off to their best start since the 1997-98 season when they started 4-0. The Broncos host their home-opener Monday before starting the Mid-American Conference season Friday at Miami.

Sleeper Zips?

Many people predicted Akron to be a sleeper in the Mid-American Conference’s East Division and the Zips are looking the part. They’re off to a 2-1 start after coming back for a 88-84 road win at Oakland.

The Zips were down as many as 10 points before a 13-0 run gave Akron a lead it would not relinquish. City College of San Francisco transfer Derrick Tarver led the Zips with 23 points. The guard finished 8-for-16 shooting in 37 minutes. Guards John Hollingsworth and Darryl Peterson scored 22 and 17 points respectively. The Zips lack of depth was apparent as the starters scored 80 of the team’s 88 points, a problem that will likely plague Akron all season long.

A 2-1 start for the Zips is good but their level of competition hasn’t been the toughest with their other win over Capital and the loss coming to Wright State.

Kent home win streak continues…barely

Kent State (2-0) extended its home winning streak to 15 games with a 88-84 overtime victory against Southwest Missouri State. SMS came back to force overtime after being down by as many as 16 in the opening half and even took a 77-71 lead before the Golden Flashes rallied back with 42 seconds to play. Senior forward Antonio Gates and junior guard Eric Haut brought Kent State back. Gates hit a lay-up and was fouled and Haut hit a running jumper to force overtime.

Poor free throw shooting by SW Missouri State down the stretch cost them the game, as they missed six-of-eight free throws in the final minute. Gates led all scorers with 27 points, while Haut had 15 points. The Golden Flashes have won their last four overtime games, including a 78-73 victory over Pittsburgh in the Sweet Sixteen last year.

Hoopville’s MAC Players of the Week:

East Division: Marshall junior guard Ronald Blackshear. Blackshear scored 23 points in a 112-78 victory over Kentucky State.

West Division: Western Michigan senior guard Robby Collum. Collum scored 17 points with three assists in a 56-52 victory over Michigan and 17 points with five assists in a 70-51 victory over Fordham.


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