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Mid-American Notebook

January 28, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments



Mid-American Conference Notebook

by Jeremy Speer

Kent State has no player who even bears the resemblance of a star. With no players among the MAC’s Top 15 scorers, the Golden Flashes are a team characterized by unimpressive statistics.

Except for one: First place.

With convincing victories against the MAC’s top two teams, Western Michigan and Toledo, Kent State has gained a one game advantage over Miami in the MAC East. With a 12-3 overall and 6-1 conference record, the team is proving you don’t need a superstar to be successful. The team is so anonymous that its leading scorer, senior guard Eric Haut (12.7 ppg) did not even play high school basketball his final two seasons of high school. And second leading scorer, senior center John Edward (12.5 ppg) was at one time considered a project that could not match up physically with stronger players.

Coach Jim Christian has crafted a team that relies on a different player to step up each game. During KSU’s 84-71 victory against the Western Michigan Broncos, sophomore point guard DeAndre Haynes played a near-flawless game, capped by his 16 points. Haynes, the team’s most talented player, leads the conference with 5.3 assists.

In the Flashes 92-56 blowout of the Rockets Sunday, junior forward Jason Edwin stepped into the starting lineup for the first time since Dec. 14. Edwin did not disappoint, leading the team with 20 points. What was even more impressive, however, was his defense of Toledo guard Keith Triplett. Triplett, the conference’s second-leading scorer was held to five points, 15 under his average. Haut did his part with 20 points, hitting three of KSU’s 12 three-point baskets.

The Golden Flashes look to keep this rolling this week with games against Bowling Green and Akron.

Western bounces back

After suffering its first conference loss of the MAC season, Western Michigan fended off Ball State to regain its lead atop the MAC West. With a victory, the Cardinals would have put themselves into the driver’s seat, but a late Western run helped extend the Broncos’ home win streak to 12 games.

Junior college transfer Levi Rost, whose sister Casey is the MAC’s leading women’s basketball scorer for Western, came up clutch in the game’s final minutes, hitting three free-throws and grabbing two rebounds.

Senior center Anthony Kann led Western (13-2, 6-1) with 17 points and 10 rebounds while senior forward Mike Williams added 14 points and three blocks.

Sharpshooters Ben Reed and Reggie Berry combined for 25 points and seven three-pointers.

Ball State (8-7, 5-2) had erased a 13-point lead with 3:00 left, but could not steal the win in Kalamazoo. Dennis Trammell led the way with 20 points.

RedHawks red hot

Miami (9-6, 5-2) continues to heat up with a pair of victories against Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan. Against CMU Wednesday, little-used center Monty St. Clair, who had not hit a three-point shot all season, stepped into the starting lineup. As the Chippewas double-teamed the RedHawks wing players on drives into the lane, St. Clair found himself open from behind the arc. He drilled 4-of-5 triples and scored 14 points to help break CMU’s back.

Saturday, Miami blitzed past Eastern 74-46. Despite standing only 6-foot-3, junior Chet Mason continued to be the RedHawks’ toughest player. Mason, the MAC’s No. 4 rebounder, scored 11 points and snagged 11 rebounds in the victory. Gene Seals had 13 points, while Juby Johnson and St. Clair each added 11 points.

Tarver: The scoring machine

He is the MAC’s leading scorer and now he is leading his team to victories. Akron’s Derrick Tarver helped the Zips to two consecutive victories this week, scoring 27 points against Ohio and 33 points against Central Michigan. Akron (9-6) improved to 3-4 in conference play after starting the MAC season 1-4.

The freshman forward duo of Romeo Travis and Jeremiah Wood have given Akron fans further reason for excitement. Wood had 11 points against the Chippewas while Travis netted nine points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Bulls prolong NIU woes

Buffalo defeated Northern Illinois 85-73 in a battle of struggling teams. Turner Battle helped erase a 10-point deficit with a 17-point performance. Yassin Idhibi had 16 points as every Buffalo (6-9, 2-5) starter hit double digits. NIU fell to 7-11 overall and 2-6 in the MAC.

Herd come up with rare rivalry win

Marshall defeated Ohio 74-60 in a battle of rival schools. Ohio had won the previous four meetings between the schools and had never lost to the Herd during Tim O’Shea’s tenure in Athens. Enoch Bunch came up with 15 points off the bench for Marshall (7-8, 4-3) and helped spark a 29-7 second half run. Sonny Troutman led Ohio (5-12, 2-5) with 13 points.

     

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