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Mid-American Notebook

March 4, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Mid-American Conference Notebook

by Adam Trumble

The Bracket Buster Weekend continued on to be a Bracket Buster week for the Mid-American Conference as all the teams continued to beat up on each other, ruining all chances for two teams to make the NCAA Tournament.

In the East Division, the race has come down to the Miami RedHawks (11-5) and the Kent State Golden Flashes (11-6). In the West, Central Michigan (12-4) holds a one game lead over Norhtern Illinois (11-5) heading into their last meeting Wednesday in Mount Pleasant, Mich.

If CMU wins, it wins the West and earns a bye in the first round of the MAC Tournament and also clinches at least a share of the overall title. But the Chippewas will need a win at Ball State Saturday to win the title outright, the only problem for the Chippewas being that they are 0-17 in Muncie. Maybe they should become fans of the Late Show.

Zips streaking late

After Feb. 22’s emotional win at Northern Illinois, the Chippewas looked to take control of the MAC with a home game against Akron. The Chippewas were the only undefeated team at home in the conference, but Akron changed that with a 94-92 win. The Chippewas had a chance to tie as they got the ball back with 14.2 seconds left in the game but failed to get a shot off as they passed the ball back and forth.

On Saturday, Akron kept the upsets coming, winning at Kent State 85-70. Led by Johnny Hollingsworth, who scored 24 points including seven during a 16-0 first-half run.

Hollingsworth had three lay-ups, a free throw, an assist and a steal during the 16-0 run, which gave the Zips (8-8 in the MAC) a 39-29 lead at halftime.

The Zips put the game out of reach with a late 13-4 run which widened a 66-50 with 7:40 left lead to 79-54. Hollingsworth capped the run with two free throws with 3:28 to play.

Chippewas bounce back

CMU’s losses this season have come against DePaul, Valparaiso, Miami, Kent State, Eastern Michigan and Akron. Before the Akron loss, the Chippewas worst loss on their profile was to the Eagles.

That loss in Ypsilanti had the Chippewas looking for revenge and Saturday they got it. A 45-45 game at halftime soon got ugly as the Chippewas won easily 106-89. CMU shot 80 percent in the second half led by the nation’s best-kept secret — Chris Kaman.

Kaman, a seven-foot center, is only a junior but is expected to enter the NBA Draft this season and is projected by some as a lottery pick. Scouts from the Toronto Raptors and the New York Knicks are among those high on Kaman, who has great footwork and a good touch.

He scored 29 points, grabbed 13 rebounds and had six blocks in the win on Saturday. On senior day, Mike Manciel added 25 points and four rebounds while fellow seniors J.R. Wallace and Whitney Robinson scored 17 and 11 respectively.

Ryan Prillman led the Eagles (13-12, 7-9) with 21 points, while Michael Ross scored 18 and Danny McElhinny added 11.

The game marked the first time since 1998 that the Chippewas have scored 100 points or more, and the first time since 1993 that they’ve done it in regulation time.

NIU keeps pace

After falling to CMU last Saturday, Northern Illinois faultered Tuesday, dropping a 59-56 decision to Miami.

The Huskies came back Saturday though behind Jay Bates, who scored 18 points as Northern Illinois beat Toledo 85-75 for the Huskies’ 15th victory of the season.

The Huskies (15-11, 11-5) had a 39-25 rebounding edge behind 11 apiece from Marcus Smallwood and Jamel Staten.

Smallwood and P.J. Smith also scored 17 points each for Northern. Keith Triplett scored 29 points and Nick Moore 17 for Toledo (11-15, 5-11). Triplett made five of Toledo’s 12 three-pointers, keeping the Rockets close.

The win sets the Huskies up with a chance to tie the Chippewas if they can win at Mount Pleasant Wednesday night.

Miami drops chance at overall lead

Bowling Green spoiled Miami’s opportunity to tie for first in the overall MAC race with CMU as the RedHawks fell 51-48 Saturday.

Kevin Netter scored 14 of his 22 points in the second half as Bowling Green rallied from a four-point first half deficit. Netter was 6-of-8 from the field and 10-of-14 from the foul line and led the Falcons (11-14, 7-9) with eight rebounds.

The Falcons outscored Miami 27-11 in the first 13:46 of the second half to take a 44-33 lead. Miami (13-12, 11-5) pulled to 48-47 with 13 seconds left, but Gene Seals missed a free throw that would have tied the game. Chet Mason scored 14 points to lead Miami. The victory gave Dan Dakich (100-71) his 100th win at Bowling Green in six years with the Falcons.

Mason and Seals led a closing 18-7 run that rallied Miami over Northern Illinois.

Mason and Seals each scored seven points as Miami overcame an eight-point deficit in the final six minutes. Seals’ lay-up put Miami ahead to stay 51-50 with 1:57 left.

The RedHawks made all of their six free throws in the final minute, sending Northern Illinois to its first conference loss on the road this season.

P.J. Smith led Northern with 20 points, but missed a 3-point attempt to tie it with 6 seconds left. Teammate Al Sewasciuk got the rebound and missed another 3-point shot just before the buzzer.

Hoopville’s MAC Player of the Week

Johnny Hollingsworth from Akron. The point guard had back-to-back games with more than 20 points (26 vs. CMU and 24 against Kent State).


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