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Mid-American Notebook

January 14, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Mid-American Conference Notebook

by Adam Trumble

You’d have to excuse followers of the Mid-American Conference looking at the latest standings for thinking the standings are flipped.

Ohio and Ball State were picked to win the East and West divisions,
respectively. Today, they stand at 1-2 and 0-3.

Meanwhile, Marshall, picked third in the East, leads
the division at 4-0 and Bowling Green, supposedly rebuilding this season, is also 4-0.

Falcons unflashable

Bowling Green rallied from a 24-point deficit to snap Kent State’s 17-game conference winning streak Saturday.

John Reimold scored 23 points in the 78-74 win, which also snapped the Golden Flashes 17-game home-court winning streak.

The Falcons didn’t use a huge streak to cut the deficit just kept chipping away at the deficit before Kevin Netter sank the second of a pair of free throws to make the score 73-72 with 1:03 to play in the game.

The Falcons held Kent State’s Antonio Gates, the MAC’s third-leading scorer, to just eight points, seven rebounds, six assists and six turnovers.

Earlier in the week the Falcons knocked off Ball State
61-57. Netter again led the Falcons scoring 17 points. Bowling Green’s defense held Ball State to just 23.8 percent shooting in the game.

Ball State’s struggles on the road continued as the Cardinals have yet to win a game away from Muncie this season. The Cardinals also
fell at home to Northern Illinois on Saturday 66-64.

In fairness, though Ball State was picked in the preseason to win the West Division, they’re missing the double-double scoring and rebounding of Preseason MAC Player of the Year selection and All-American candidate Theron Smith. Smith saw limited action in the early part of the season before announcing that his knee, which he had surgery on
over the summer was not healed properly and he would be sitting the rest of this season out and seeking a medical redshirt to play next year.

Herd rolling over the MAC

The Marshall Thundering Herd is off to a hot start in the MAC East at 4-0 and 8-3 overall. The Herd knocked off Toledo 79-58 Saturday. Junior guard Ronald Blackshear scored 32 points to lead Marshall.

The Herd opened the game with a 9-0 run and never
trailed en route to improving to a perfect 4-0 in MAC
play for the first time in school history.

Toledo never got on track thanks to another strong
Marshall defensive effort. The Rockets, who many
thought would cruise through the West after Ball State’s Smith went down, are 1-2 in the conference and just 7-6 overall. Preseason All-MAC West selection Nick Moore managed to score only nine points on 3-of-17
shooting. The senior guard was 3-of-10 from three point range.

Ronald Blackshear scored 22 points to lead Marshall to
a 69-63 road victory at Buffalo. The Bulls, who were picked to finish last in the East Division, played the Herd tough before giving way late in the second half. Sophomore Ronny Dawn hit a decisive three-point shot at the 1:31 mark with the shot clock nearly depleted to put Marshall up 64-55.
Buffalo couldn’t make up the nine-point deficit.

Hot-shooting Chippewas get miracle finish

Heading into the Wednesday nights contest against Central Michigan, the Western Michigan Broncos had not surrendered more than 70 points in any game this season, boasting the nation’s third ranked defense.

CMU used lights out shooting to score 80 in beating the Broncos on the road 80-75. The Chippewas shot 72 percent from the floor in the second half and better than 60 percent from three point range in the contest (13-of-21).

Senior forward Mike Manciel scored 23 points to lead
the Chippewas. But it was senior guard JR Wallace who
put the game out of reach, draining a basket while falling out of bounds with one second on the shot clock late in the contest to take the crowd of 4,472 out of the game.

JuCo transfer Mike Williams led the Broncos with 24
points off from the bench after not practicing for a
week.

The Broncos, 9-4 overall, have had three of
their defeats handed to them by MAC teams. They did
respond from the 0-3 start by beating
Eastern Michigan Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Chippewas returned home to play Ohio. Again, it was Wallace with an amazing shot, this time a half-court shot as time expired to give the Chippewas a 78-75 victory.

The Bobcats trailed by five with less than a minute remaining but tied the game with 7.4 seconds left before Wallace caught the inbounds pass, dribbled twice and let the shot go from just past half-court.

Two of the nation’s leading rebounders — Central’s seven-foot center Chris Kaman and Bobcat forward Brandon Hunter — battled throughout the game. Hunter, the nation’s leading rebounder, was held to just five boards but scored 20 points. Kaman, sixth in the nation, grabbed eight in addition to 22 points.

Were it not for Wallace’s heroics, it would have been the second straight OT game for Ohio after the Bobcats won an epic 112-104 battle with Akron in four overtimes on Wednesday. Hunter scored 30 points and had 26 rebounds in 53 minutes of play to lift the Bobcats.

Zach Kiekow stepped up in the final OT, scoring six of the Bobcats’ 14
fourth overtime points.

Derrick Tarver scored 41 points for the Zips. The win is crucial to the Bobcats as they would have been 0-3 to start the conference.

Hoopville’s MAC Players of the Week

East Division

Akron junior guard Derrick Tarver. Tarver scored 41 points in a 4-OT loss at Ohio and 31 in a 89-71 win at Buffalo.

West Division

Central Michigan senior guard JR Wallace. Wallace scored 17 points including a key shot with the shot clock running out to ice the game against Western Michigan. He then scored 19 points including the game winning half-court shot as time expired to defeat Ohio Saturday. Wallace scored all of his points in the second half.

     

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