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Mid-American Notebook

February 18, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Mid-American Conference Notebook

by Adam Trumble

The week in Mid-American Conference basketball action saw the East and West leaders separate themselves from the rest of the pack, as Kent State and Miami opened leads in the East and the West race has been narrowed down to Northern Illinois and Central Michigan.

Huskies scratch out victory

Marcus Smallwood scored all six of Northern Illinois’ points in overtime and finished with 18 as the Huskies pulled out a road win at Eastern Michigan 70-68 Saturday.

Northern Illinois (14-9, 10-3 Mid-American) retained a half-game lead in the MAC West despite shooting 35.8 percent from the field and going more than eight minutes without a field goal in the second half.

Steve Pettyjohn scored 16 points and had seven rebounds, but missed a 3-pointer at the end of regulation that would have won the game for the Eagles (10-11, 4-8).

Jay Bates chipped in 17 points with nine rebounds and six assists, and Al Sewasciuk added 14 points off the bench for the Huskies, who are 7-0 on the road in conference play.

The Huskies overcame a six-point deficit with 3:23 left to play to force overtime.

Earlier in the week the Huskies defeated Ohio 80-53. Brandon Hunter scored 18 points for the Bobcats and pulled down 13 rebounds but Hunter has proven all season he can’t do it himself.

Flashes streaking in wrong direction

Hunter got some help Saturday as he scored 16 points and 14 rebounds and the Bobcats knocked off Kent State 74-71.

Ohio hit all six of its foul shots in the final 42 seconds to hold onto the victory.

The Bobcats (8-12, 5-7 Mid-American Conference) let the Golden Flashes (17-5, 10-4) cut their deficit from eight points to one by missing 11 of 15 free throw attempts between the 3:50 and 1:00 marks.

It was the Golden Flashes’ third straight loss, the first time Kent has lost three straight since 1998.

Antonio Gates led the Golden Flashes with 30 points and 13 rebounds, and Eric Haut added 14 points. Earlier in the week against Ball State, Gates reached a milestone, but had the night spoiled as Ball State upset the Golden Flashes 83-75.

Gates became the 21st player in school history to reach the 1,000-point plateau, doing so in 57 career games. He would finish with 22 points, shooting 11-of-19 from the floor.

Chris Williams led a quartet of Cardinals in double figures with 22 points, while Matt McCollum tallied 20 points.

The loss was Kent State’s first on the road in MAC play this season, snapping a streak of 13 straight wins in conference away games for the Golden Flashes.

RedHawks gain ground

Miami defeated Marshall 69-49 to remain at 8-4 in the conference staying firmly in second place. Senior Juby Johnson scored 21 points on Saturday.
Danny Horace added 14 for Miami (10-11). Ronald Blackshear had 13 for Marshall (11-11, 7-7).

Both teams shot 43 percent from the field, and were equally accurate at the line, Marshall converting 13-of-16 free throws and Miami 14-of-18.
But Miami had a 35-22 edge in rebounds, and was 9-of-22 from three-point range, while Marshall was 2-of-14.

A 3-pointer by Josh Hausfeld put Miami ahead for good at 9-6, just over three minutes into the game, and Marshall was never able to challenge. The RedHawks led 36-23 at halftime, and maintained a double-digit lead the rest
of the way.

Chippewas keep pace

Junior center Chris Kaman keeps putting up double-doubles and is quickly becoming a household name around the Mid-American Conference and will give Gates a run for conference player of the year honors.

Kaman had 30 points and 16 rebounds, dominating Toledo for the second time this season as Central Michigan beat the Rockets 66-64 Saturday night.

J.R. Wallace added 14 points for the Chippewas (16-5, 9-3 Mid-American Conference), who stayed a half-game behind first-place Northern Illinois in the MAC West.

Keith Triplett led the Rockets (10-12, 4-8) with 22 points, Nick Moore had 12 and Sammy Villegas 10.

The game was tied five times in the second half before Whitney Robinson scored his only points on two free throws to give the Chippewas a 54-53 lead with 5:57 to play. Wallace then made a 3-pointer to make it 57-53. Central Michigan made 5-of-6 free throws over the final 2:21, and Kaman scored a key basket with 1:30 to play to help hold off the Rockets.

Kaman had 17 points, 14 rebounds and eight blocked shots in a 83-74 home win over Toledo on Jan. 22. Earlier in the week it was his 37 points and 14
rebounds leading CMU to a blowout win over Western Michigan.

The actual number of rebounds may have been even higher, as TV station statisticians and myself had him down for 17. He had three offensive rebounds on the game’s first possession and had five rebounds in the first
1:21 of the game.

Kaman was 15-20 from the free throw line as the Broncos played Hack-a-Kaman, a take off on the NBA’s infamous Hack-a-Shaq.

Senior Robby Collum was the only player in double figures for the Broncos who dropped the season series to the Chippewas. The battle for supremacy in the West will be on the line Saturday when the Chippewas play at Northern Illinois.

Hoopville’s MAC Players of the Week

Central Michigan center Chris Kaman. Kaman scored 67 points and grabbed 30 rebounds in two CMU wins last week.

In the East Division, senior forward Brandon Hunter. Hunter grabbed 27 rebounds and scored a third of the Bobcats points in a loss to Ball State then rebounded with 16 points and 14 rebounds with four assists as Ohio defeated Kent State 74-71.


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