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Mid-American Notebook

November 28, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Mid-American Conference Notebook

by Jeremy Speer

Cardinals pull another upset

Ball State continued its penchant for pulling off early season upsets, opening the 2003-2004 season in style with a 75-63 home defeat of Xavier. Two seasons ago, the Cardinals went to the Maui Invitational as underdogs, and defeated Kansas and UCLA – two top five teams. The Musketeers are ranked as high as No. 27 in national polls and are led by All-American candidate Romain Sato. Xavier shot 29 percent in the second half to spearhead the BSU victory. Senior Robert Owens opened the second-half scoring with a triple just three seconds out of the locker room. Owens had 23 points in the game. Newcomers Terrence Chapman (12 points) and Dennis Trammell (11) to help out. The Cardinals have a chance to knock off another favored team when they host Butler Dec. 3.

Tough going for Chippewas

A trip to the Maui Invitational for Central Michigan was overshadowed by the loss of junior Brent Edwards, who passed away in an automobile accident Wednesday night. Edwards, a walk-on from Flushing, Mich. was one of the team’s hardest working players and was known as an inspiration to teammates. “Buddha”, as he was known to teammates, was suffering from a back injury and did not make the trip to Hawaii. The team struggled on the court, dropping three consecutive games to Dayton, Ohio State and Santa Clara. In the OSU game, senior guard T.J. Meerman missed a three-pointer that would have tied the contest with less than a minute left. The Chippewas lost 77-71. Forward Gerrit Brigitha was a tough post presence, averaging 10 points and eight rebounds in the tournament.

Roller coaster start for Western Michigan

It was a strange week in Kalamazoo, as Western could not carry over momentum gained in an upset of USC in a disappointing loss to Detroit. The team opened the Steve Hawkins era with an 83-65 home thrashing of the Trojans. Senior Mike Williams had a career night, accumulating 31 points and nine rebounds. Junior Ben Reed added 20 points while Anthony Kann and Reggie Berry also reached double figures. The starters were ice cold in a 64-43 road loss at Detroit. The Broncos starting five combined for just 22 points on 7-of-22 shooting. As a team, Western was just 28 percent from the field, compared to the Titans 49 percent.

Hoopville Player of the Week: Northern Illinois forward Marcus Smallwood

Smallwood proved why he may be the conference’s best player with a huge opening week of the season. The senior opened the season with 17 points and 17 rebounds in a victory against Eastern Illinois, and followed it up with 21 points and 18 rebounds in a loss at Notre Dame. Smallwood was a Preseason All-MAC pick.

West Capsules

Northern Illinois Huskies (2-1)

Results: Eastern Illinois W 83-76; at Notre Dame L 74-65; Illinois State W 66-55
Looking Ahead: Dec. 5-6 at Hawkeye Challenge vs. Illinois-Chicago, Iowa and Eastern Washington.

The Huskies bounced back from a tough loss in South Bend with a victory against Illinois State in which Todd Peterson connected for a career-high 19 points. NIU heads to the tough Hawkeye Challenge where they await Illinois-Chicago, the frontrunner in the Horizon League.

Bowling Green Falcons (2-1)

Results: Urbana W 103-78; Findlay W 64-50
Looking Ahead: Nov. 29 at Bradley; Dec. 3 at Buffalo

2003 MAC All-Freshman pick Ronald Lewis did not start the season in a sophomore slump, scoring 34 points in the Falcons easy opener. Center Kevin Netter, a preseason all-conference pick overcame a poor opener with a 19 point, 11 rebound performance against Findlay. The Falcons will face their first Division I-A team Saturday against Bradley.

Eastern Michigan Eagles (2-1)

Results: Yale L 75-60; Marist W 82-62; Concordia 86-45
Looking Ahead: Nov. 29 at Nebraska; Dec. 2 Kent State

Junior JaQuan Hart has continued his off-court problems, with his three-game suspension for violating team rules. Hart will return to the lineup in the Eagles tilt at Nebraska. Markus Austin, Michael Ross, Danny McElhinny and Boo Jackson have led the way in Eastern’s first three games.

Central Michigan Chippewas (2-1)

Results: Dayton L 82-63; Ohio State L 77-71; Santa Clara L 76-62
Looking Ahead: Nov. 30 Marist; Dec. 3 Bradley

CMU needs more production from returning starters T.J. Meerman and Tony Bowne, who have averaged just 11 combined points in the first three games. It will be an emotional game Sunday against Marist- Central’s first home game since Edwards’ tragic death.

Western Michigan Broncos (2-1)

Results: USC W 83-65; Detroit 64-43
Looking Ahead: Dec. 6 Miami

Junior college transfer Levi Rost was a lone bright spot in the Detroit loss with 11 points. The Broncos have a week to prepare for Dec. 6 momentous conference opener against 2-0 Miami.

Toledo Rockets (2-1)

Results: IPFW W 71-53; Youngstown State W 78-74
Looking Ahead: Nov. 30 at Ohio; Dec. 3 at Arkansas State

Toledo survived a scare against Youngstown State, but guard Keith Tripplett’s 21 points and six rebounds helped salvage a victory. 2002-2003 MAC Freshman of the Year Sammy Villegas had 11 points while freshman Florentino Valencia chipped in 10. The MAC’s first conference game will be Sunday when the Rockets travel to Athens to face Ohio.

East Division Capsules

Akron Zips (2-1)

Results: at Cincinnati L 88-66
Looking Ahead: Nov. 29 at Radford; Dec. 1 at Hampton

Akron was not helped by a cold game from point guard Johnny Hollingsworth, a Preseason All-MAC pick. Derrick Tarver, the MAC’s leading returning scorer, had 20 points in the loss while St. Vincent/St. Mary product Dru Joyce III had 10 points in his college debut. The Zips travel to Virginia for games against Radford and Hampton this week.

Buffalo Bulls (2-1)

Results: Canisius L 60-58; at Rutgers L 78-53
Looking Ahead: Nov. 29 Penn State; Dec. 3 Bowling Green

It is the same story for the Bulls, who are 24-85 in the past four seasons. Guard Turner Battle’s 12-game double-digit scoring streak was snapped with eight points in the Rutgers loss. Battled did have 14 points and eight rebounds in the season opener.

Kent State Golden Flashes (2-1)

Results: Houghton W 112-55; IPFW W 67-66
Looking Ahead: Nov. 29 at SW Missouri State; Dec. 2 at Eastern Michigan

DeAndre Haynes lifted KSU to a dramatic victory against IPFW with a made 31-foot three-pointer with 1.1 seconds left. Eric Haut had a career-high 23 points including six treys while Clif Brown added 19 points and 12 rebounds. Junior college transfers Jason Edwin and Scott Cutley were strong against Houghton, with 13 points apiece

Marshall Thundering Herd (2-1)

Results: UNC-Wilmington L 65-56
Looking Ahead: Nov. 29 Morehead State; Dec. 1 vs Kentucky

Coach Ron Jirsa’s debut was ruined with a tough loss to the Seahawks, who embarked on a 20-3 run to start the game. A.W. Hamilton scored 14 and Enoch Bunch 11 in the loss.

Miami RedHawks (2-1)

Results: Liberty W 71-55; Ohio Dominican W 67-59
Looking Ahead: Dec. 3 at Dayton; Dec. 6 at Western Michigan

Miami geared for a tough week with two season-opening wins. The RedHawks are at Dayton Wednesday before playing at Western Michigan Saturday. The Flyers won the Maui Invitation while the Broncos defeated USC to open the season. Juby Johnson is five points shy of the 1,000 point career mark, and is averaging 20.5 thus far this season. Forward Danny Horace has began the campaign with back-to-back double-doubles.

Ohio Bobcats (2-1)

Results: Mercer L 67-64; Coppin State 51-47; UC Irvine L 66-63
Looking Ahead: Nov. 30 Toledo; Dec. 3 Boston

Ohio has some time off after struggling at the BCA Classic in Cincinnati, with one win and two losses. Jaivon Harris has been strong in the early going, with averages of 17 points and 5.3 rebounds.


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