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Mid-American Quarterfinals Preview

by - Published March 11, 2004 in Conference Notes




Mid-American Conference Quarterfinals Preview

Preview by Jeremy Speer

Eight teams will participate in a battle for an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament during the MAC Tournament beginning Thursday at Cleveland’s Gund Arena.

Western Michigan, the No. 1 seed, is the only team with a legitimate shot at an at-large bid into the tourney if they were not to win the tournament.

The Broncos are hoping not to leave it to the committee and stand as the favorites for the three-day competition.

No. 1 Western Michigan vs. No. 8 Marshall
Revenge will be on the mind of Western Michigan as it plays against Marshall.

On the verge of reaching the top 25 two weeks ago, the Broncos went into Huntington, W.Va. and left with a crushing 82-76 loss that put a damper on Western’s dream season.

Marshall (12-16, 8-10) will have its hands full in an attempt to spring its first quarterfinal victory since 2000.

Mike Williams has been the MAC’s best player this season and will attack the Herd defense with his mid-range game. Williams averages 18.4 points and 7.3 rebounds on the season.

Junior Ben Reed has been the conferences best outside threat, and posts 16.5 points per game behind 47 percent three-point shooting.

Thick-skinned senior Anthony Kann presents a strong presence in the middle. Kann put up 12 points and seven rebounds per game this season.

Western (23-4, 15-3) also has a solid collection of role players, including steady point guard Brian Snider and three-point specialists Reggie Berry and Rickey Willis.

Senior forward Marvin Black, who carried the Herd into the quarterfinals with a victory against Eastern Michigan Monday, leads Marshall. Black posts 14 points and seven rebounds per game.

Point guard A.W. Hamilton is among the MAC’s leaders in assists while Ronny Dawn stretches defenses with his three-point shooting.

The game will feature a matchup between first year coaches – Western’s Steve Hawkins and Marshall’s – Ron Jirsa.

No. 2 Kent State vs. No. 7 Bowling Green
With their hopes for an at-large bid slammed shut, the Golden Flashes know the road to the NCAA Tournament must now go through Cleveland.

KSU (20-7, 13-5) struggled mightily throughout the final portion of the season with four consecutive losses.

They will look to reverse the trend against Bowling Green, another team that struggled in the latter part of the season with three straight losses.

MAC Defensive Player of the Year John Edwards leads Kent. The seven-footer leads the team with 13 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game.

Senior Eric Haut also contributes to the Flashes’ balanced offense. Haut puts up 12 points per game on 41 percent three-point shooting.

Sophomore point guard DeAndre Haynes leads the MAC with 5.9 assists per game.

Ron Lewis carried the Falcons on his back during the team’s Monday victory against Ohio. Lewis scored all of his 19 points in the second half and had two blocked shots in the final two minutes to preserve a 56-54 victory.

Lewis is the team’s leading scorer at 17 points per game.

John Reimold’s outside shooting and Kevin Netter’s inside play give BG (14-16, 8-10) solid complementing players.

No. 3 Miami vs. No. 6 Ball State
RedHawks coach Charlie Coles has his team aiming for its first NCAA Tournament appearance since the Wally Szczerbiak era.

The quest begins Thursday against the balanced Cardinals.

Coles’ crew employs stifling defensive pressure, spearheaded by senior captain Juby Johnson. Johnson, one of the MAC’s best all-around players, also averages 17 points per game.

Despite standing less than 6-foot-5, Chet Mason and Danny Horace form one of the MAC’s best rebounding tandems. The two combine to average 20 points and 14 rebounds per game.

Miami’s key could be the streaky outside shooting of Josh Hausfeld, whose percentage dipped as the season went along.

Ball State coach Tim Buckley trusts his fortunes in the hands of an even six-man rotation.

Dennis Trammell leads the team on the stat sheet with 13 points a game, but Cameron Echols, Robert Owens, Matt McCollom, Terrance Chapman and Peyton Stovall also provide key contributions.

Stovall, the point guard, was named to the MAC’s All-Freshman team.

Miami won the previous meeting between the teams 62-55 on the road.

No. 4 Toledo vs No. 5 Buffalo
Buffalo may be the No. 5 seed, but there are no doubts the Bulls are the favorite against Toledo Thursday.

Coach Reggie Witherspoon has completed a miraculous turnaround in Buffalo this season. After finishing last in the MAC East last season, Buffalo posted 17 overall wins and 11 in the conference.

A darkhorse to supplant Western Michigan, the Bulls have won eight straight games heading into the Toledo game.

Junior Turner Battle leads a solid seven-man rotation with 14 points and four assists per game.

Freshman Yassin Idhibi (9.8 ppg, 5.7 rpg) has been a force inside, as has junior Mark Bortz.

Mario Jordan and Daniel Gilbert are valuable swingmen while Jason Bird and Roderick Middleton provide deadly and accurate three-point marksmanship.

Toledo (19-9, 12-6) is no slouch. All-MAC candidate Keith Triplett who posts 20 points and five rebounds per game leads the Rockets.

Sophomore Sammy Villegas averages 14 points and had a career-high 28 points in UT’s narrow play-in victory against Central Michigan Monday.

Freshman point guard Justin Ingram was named the MAC’s Freshman of the Year and posts 10 points and 3.5 assists per contest.

Toledo won the only meeting between the teams, 88-83 in January.

The winner will likely lock horns with Western Michigan in the semifinals.

Mid-American First Round Recap

by - Published March 11, 2004 in Conference Notes




Mid-American Conference First Round Recap

Preview by Jeremy Speer

Every top-seeded home team was victorious in the play-in round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament Monday.

Toledo, Buffalo, Ball State, Bowling Green and Marshall all will travel to Cleveland Thursday for the quarterfinals of the tournament. Western Michigan, Kent State and Miami all received first round byes into the quarterfinals.

No. 4 Toledo 91, No. 13 Central Michigan 88
The Chippewas almost made good on a disappointing season with an upset at Toledo.

With as many as a 13-point lead in the first half, it took a strong second half effort for the Rockets to put the feisty Chippewas away.

Sophomore Sammy Villegas had a career-high 28 points and put the Rockets up three with six seconds left.

CMU senior guard T.J. Meerman dribbled the ball up court and had a good look from three-point range, but it rimmed out allowing Toledo to slip into Cleveland.

It was a rough game for Meerman, who missed the front end of a one-and-one late in the game that would have tied the score. The Chippewas could have taken a lead were Meerman to hit the foul shots.

Central senior center Gerrit Brigitha closed out his career in style, hitting for a career-high 33 points. He averaged 29 points in three contests against Toledo this season.

Kevin Nelson scored 16 points on four three-pointers for CMU while Sefton Barrett added 10 points.

Keith Triplett, a likely All-MAC selection, netted 17 points for the Rockets while freshman Florentino Valencia contributed a clutch 14 points.

No. 5 Buffalo 90, No. 12 Northern Illinois 73
The MAC’s hottest team will now roll into Cleveland after a convincing victory against Northern Illinois.

The win marked Buffalo’s first ever in the MAC Tournament. It also was also its eighth straight victory.

Yassin Idhibi, fresh off being named to the MAC’s All-Freshman team, led the charge with 23 points and eight rebounds.

Junior guard Turner Battle chipped in 16 points for the Bulls, who had five players hit double figures, including Calvin Cage (15), Jason Bird (13) and Mark Bortz (10).

Buffalo used 16 Huskies turnovers to convert into 22 points.

Northern Illinois was led by its strong senior duo of Perry Smith and Marcus Smallwood. Smith netted 28 points while Smallwood added 15 points.

No. 6 Ball State 76, No. 11 Akron 72
The Cardinals bounced back from a regular season-ending loss to Central Michigan with a hard fought victory against Akron.

A 7-0 Cardinals run spurred by three-pointers from Terrance Chapman and Matt McCollom broke a late-game tie and put Ball State ahead for good.

Robert Owens led the Cardinals with 20 points and nine rebounds while Dennis Trammell added 18 points and Chapman 15.

Senior Derrick Tarver, the MAC’s leading scorer, led the Zips with 25 points. Dru Joyce III and Rick McFadden added 15 and 14 points, respectively.

The game featured 11 lead changes.

No. 7 Bowling Green 56, No. 10 Ohio 54
Sophomore Ron Lewis was the hero as Bowling Green survived a late charge from the Bobcats.

Up two with three seconds left, Ohio’s Jaivon Harris missed a three-pointer. Thomas Stephens raced to pick up the rebound and his shot attempt was blocked by Lewis.

Ohio’s Jeff Halbert quickly picked up the loose ball and hoisted a shot at the buzzer, which was again blocked by Lewis.

Lewis also was important on the offensive end. He scored 19 points, all of which came in the second half. A 14-3 run late in the game gave Bowling Green the lead for good.

Junior John Reimold and senior Kevin Netter each added 11 points for the Falcons.

Terren Harbut led Ohio with 24 points while Stephens added 14 points.

No. 8 Marshall 78, No. 9 Eastern Michigan 59
The Thundering Herd used its homecourt advantage to its favor in a blowout victory against Eastern Michigan.

Marshall shot 63 percent from the field in the first half to bust open an insurmountable lead. The Eagles would not get closer than nine points in the second half.

The Eagles have not won a game in the MAC Tournament in six seasons. The last time time they did, the Eagles advanced to the NCAA Tournament behind Earl Boykins.

Senior Marvin Black collected 16 points and 14 rebounds for the Herd, while guard A.W. Hamilton also scored 16 points.

Junior JaQuan Hart led the Eagles with 19 points while John Bowler had 14 points and 11 rebounds.

Mid-American Notebook

by - Published March 2, 2004 in Conference Notes



Mid-American Conference Notebook

by Jeremy Speer

It was a black weekend for the top teams in the Mid-American Conference, as the top three teams in the conference fell to lesser opponents.

The losses especially hurt Western Michigan and Kent State, who were looking at potential NCAA Tournament at-large bids, if they were not to win the upcoming MAC Tournament.

With Western’s loss to Toledo and Kent State’s to Akron, both teams may now have to win the tournament in order to be included in the field of 65, even despite the MAC’s recent solid track record in the tourney.

Buffalo continues to be the best story in the conference, and with its victory against Miami, the Bulls now are still alive to secure second place in the MAC East.

This is coming in an era of mediocrity in Buffalo. The Bulls had only won 14 conference games the past four years combined, but carry a 9-7 MAC record into the conference’s final week.

Williams injured in Broncos loss

Western’s disappointing defeat to Toledo in a game at Savage Hall may not be the Broncos biggest loss of the weekend.

During the first half of the game, MAC Player of the Year front-runner Mike Williams suffered an ankle injury. His status is unknown for this week’s games against Bowling Green and Northern Illinois.

Western obviously was affected by Williams absence, and the Rockets took advantage with a 93-84 victory.

Keith Triplett, the MAC No. 3 scorer, was limited to just eight points in the first matchup between the teams, a Broncos’ victory. Triplett avenged his performance Saturday, putting up 29 points. The Rockets shot 58 percent in the game.

Western’s second-leading scorer, Ben Reed, attempted to pick up the pace with 26 points. The junior reached the 1,000 point plateau in the game.

Western and Kent State are now deadlocked with identical 13-3 MAC records. What happens the next two games will determine which team receives the No. 1 seed in Cleveland’s MAC Tournament. Both have clinched first round byes.

Toledo jumped into the front-runners’ seat for the third and final first round bye of the tournament. With an 11-6 record, Toledo is a half game ahead of Miami for the important spot.

All seeds higher than the top three must win a play-in game at a campus site in order to receive an invitation to Cleveland. Seeds four through eight will have home first round play-in games.

The Rockets close the season Wednesday at Central Michigan, looking to secure the bye.

Miami falls in crucial contest

At the beginning of the week, the Miami RedHawks thought they may receive a first round bye. This may be not be the case now, however.

Buffalo took care of the RedHawks 87-73 victory in Oxford, Ohio – one of the toughest places in the conference to spring a victory.

Reserve Calvin Cage netted 22 points on four triples to lead UB’s cause. Junior leader Turner Battle added 18 points in the victory.

All-MAC candidate Juby Johnson pitched in 27 points to lead the RedHawks.

Miami could help itself with wins this week at Kent State and Ohio. If the RedHawks win both games, they would receive the bye, as they defeated Toledo earlier this season.

Any Miami loss coupled with a Toledo win against Central Michigan would give the bye to the Rockets.

With its recent surge, Buffalo is looking at a home play-in game, something it has not had since joining the MAC six seasons ago.

Having won five consecutive games, the Bulls enter the MAC Tournament as a potential darkhorse who could ruin the Tournament hopes of Western Michigan or Kent State.

Zips flash past Kent State

Kent State was on the verge of hopping into the Top 25 last week, but now may be on the verge of an NIT bid if it does not win the MAC Tournament.

The Flashes came short in a disappointing 64-61 loss to Akron Sunday.

Derrick Tarver, the MAC’s No. 2 scorer was the Zips catalyst all game, netting 33 points. His lay-up late in the game put Akron ahead for good.

Dru Joyce III and Tarver combined to 6-for-6 from the foul line late in the game to seal the victory.

Tied with Western, Kent State still could clinch the No. 1 with victories against Miami and Ohio. The Flashes earlier victory against Western gives them the tie-breaker.

The rest of the seeds

If the MAC Tournament were to start today here’s how the seeds would fall.

No. 1 Kent State, No. 2 Western Michigan and No. 3 Toledo would have first round byes.

No. 4 Miami would host No. 13 Central Michigan

No. 5 Buffalo would host No. 12 Northern Illinois

No. 6 Ball State would host No. 11 Ohio

No. 7 Bowling Green would host No. 10 Eastern Michigan

No. 8 Akron would host No. 9 Marshall

Play-in games are Monday March 8 with the quarterfinals beginning Thursday, March 11 at Cleveland’s Gund Arena.

     

Mid-American Notebook

by - Published February 25, 2004 in Conference Notes



Mid-American Conference Notebook

by Jeremy Speer

Thrust onto the national spotlight during Saturday’s Bracket Buster, it was a make-or-break weekend for Mid-American Conference teams. The MAC’s three best teams were faced with tough challenges and the trio passed with flying colors. Western Michigan and Kent State continue to add to their NCAA Tournament resumes with victories against College of Charleston and Creighton, respectively.

Miami, who has been hot of late, looks to be in good shape for at least an NIT bid with a win against Southwest Missouri State. The MAC’s other potential postseason team, Toledo, took a hit as guard Keith Triplett broke his nose in a loss at Nevada.

Kann clutch in Western win

In front of the largest crowd ever at Kalamazoo’s University Arena, senior forward Anthony Kann calmly lifted his team to victory. Down two points with less than three seconds to go against College of Charleston, the Broncos inbounded the ball to Kann. Rather than rushing an off-balance jumper, Kann used a shot fake, which the Cougars defender bit on. Kann collected himself and drilled a mid-range jumper to push the game into overtime. Kann had 13 points in the game. Mike Williams continued his elevated play, collecting 28 points and eight rebounds. He is the MAC’s second leading scorer. Junior Ben Reed contributed 15 points in the win, as the Broncos pushed their record to 20-3. Western hosts archrival Central Michigan Wednesday before traveling to Toledo Saturday.

Creighton’s nemesis: The MAC

Creighton coach Dana Altman would be wise to stay away from MAC schools in the future.

Last season, pitted against Central Michigan in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the Blue Jays fell to the Chippewas. This year, Creighton faced Kent State in front of a nationally televised audience and fell 70-55. After an even first half, the Flashes were brilliant in the second half, embarking upon a 19-0 run which put Creighton away. Jason Edwin continued his improvement with a 25-point performance while Eric Haut chipped in 18 points. With the win, Kent State (20-3) reached the 20-win plateau for the sixth consecutive season. It is the only school in MAC history to do so.

The Flashes are at Buffalo and Akron this week.

Early lead propels Miami

Looking to remain hot for the MAC Tournament, Miami opened a large first-half lead the win against SMS. Senior leader Juby Johnson connected on 4-of-5 three pointers for a game-high 24 points. Johnson also was 10-of-12 from the free-throw line. Miami connected on 13 three-pointers on the game. Josh Hausfeld also had four triples and finished with 16 points in the game. If their position stands as it is today, the RedHawks would secure a first-round bye in the upcoming MAC Tournament. However, with a 10-4 conference mark, Miami cannot look past No. 4-seed Toledo, who would not get a bye as it stands today.

The RedHawks are at Northern Illinois Wednesday before hosting Buffalo Saturday.

Triplett’s nose busted in loss

Despite losing MAC third-leading scorer Keith Triplett in the first half, Toledo nearly pulled a momentous upset at Nevada. The Wolf Pack’s Garry Hill-Thomas connected on a tip-in to lift Nevada to a 60-58 win in Reno. Triplett, who is the focal point of Toledo’s offense, left with just five points in the first half.

Sammy Villegas attempted to pick the scoring up in Triplett’s stead and connected on a three-pointer to tie the game with under a minute left. Villegas led the Rockets with 14 points and eight rebounds. The win was Nevada’s 13th consecutive home victory and bodes well for its ability to slip into the NCAA Tournament. The Rockets need Triplett back for a pair of crucial games this week at Bowling Green and home against Western Michigan.

Other Bracket Buster Action

Every other MAC team was in action on Bracket Buster Saturday and winners were Central Michigan against Evansville, Bolwing Green against Youngstown State, Eastern Michigan against Cleveland State and Buffalo against Indiana State. Falling were Ball State against Detroit, Akron against Drake, Ohio against Butler, Northern Illinois against Bradley and Marshall against Western Kentucky.

     

Mid-American Notebook

by - Published February 17, 2004 in Conference Notes



Mid-American Conference Notebook

by Jeremy Speer

Western is toppled in overtime

Last season, Central Michigan looked as if it would not lose another MAC game before a middle-of-the pack Akron squad stunned the Chippewas in a mid-February upset. In a very similar scenario, Western Michigan’s surprising loss to Marshall snapped the Broncos six-game winning streak and put a dent in its chances for securing an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.

Marvin Black’s career-high 30 points were the difference in the Herd’s 82-76 come-from-behind victory. Black led a late second half charge when he canned a short jumper that tied the game up and sent it into the extra session.

Coming into the game, Marshall boasted a modest 8-12 overall record including a 5-7 clip in the MAC, compared to Western’s marks of 18-2 overall and 11-1 in the MAC. Marshall, who traditionally plays much better at Huntington’s Henderson Center, now is on a two-game winning streak under first year coach Ron Jirsa.

The Broncos had cruised through the conference after a January setback at Kent State. A key was the ineffectiveness of Mike Williams, who came in averaging 19 points a game. Williams was held in check for just four points, helping the Herd escape with the win. Junior Ben Reed netted 25 points in the losing effort.

Broncos still in good shape

Despite the loss, Western still looks good atop the MAC West standings. After Eastern’s upset victory against Toledo Saturday, Western still maintains a game and a half lead over the Rockets, whom they hook up with in Kalamazoo Wednesday. A win against Toledo would give Western a likely insurmountable lead in the MAC West, and continue to add to their resume for the NCAA Selection Committee.

Eagles rising from the basement

Were it not for Marshall’s victory; Eastern Michigan would have notched the MAC’s biggest upset of the weekend with its 84-79 victory against Toledo. The Eagles have heated up of late, and have now won four of six games. Junior Markus Austin, who has always displayed a wealth of talent, is beginning to play more consistent, highlighted by his 27-point performance against the Rockets.

Eastern also boasts the MAC’s best inside tandem in John Bowler and James Jackson. The two are among the conference’s top five in rebounding and take full advantage of the lack of true centers in the conference.

Despite disappointing seasons from more-publicized players Ricky Cottrill and JaQuan Hart, coach Jim Boone has done a good job reestablishing some credibility in Ypsilanti.

Don’t count out the Bobcats

A notorious slow-starting bunch, rarely does a game go by without Ohio losing at halftime.

Despite the early set backs, the Bobcats have nailed down a come-from-behind victory in each of their past four games. Ohio struggled through non-conference play and at the onset of the MAC season, but with an 83-79 victory against Akron Saturday, the Bobcats now are tied for third in the MAC East with a 6-7 record.

Jaivon Harris has emerged as one of the conference’s most adept long-range bombers. He collected five of the team’s eight three-pointers against the Zips. Harris finished with 22 points in the game.

Senior Delvar Barrett, who has been a solid post presence, chipped in 16 points in the victory.

Ohio hopes to continue to climb the MAC East standings with a key matchup with second-place Miami Wednesday.

Young Bulls a tough defeat

While it may be a bit early to look ahead to next season, an early 2004-2005 MAC favorite may reside in the unlikely location of Buffalo, New York. The Bulls, who now have won five of seven games with a75-66 defeat of Central Michigan Saturday, do not have a senior on their roster. Four of the team’s top eight players are juniors, while the rest are underclassmen.

Leading the pack is do-it-all point guard Turner Battle, who had 14 points, eight rebounds and five assists against the Chippewas. Battle, who has heated up in MAC season, is making a strong push for All-MAC honors. Junior Daniel Gilbert led the way with 17 points while sophomore Roderick Middleton added 15 points, all which came on three-pointers. Buffalo is in a three-way tie with Marshall and Ohio for third in the MAC East and heads to Eastern Michigan Wednesday.

NIU’s Judson hands out the discipline

A struggling team took more of a hit this week, when Northern Illinois coach Judson suspended Preseason All-MAC forward Marcus Smallwood for undisclosed conduct. Smallwood, who had been benched recently, currently is the MAC’s leading rebounder. Smallwood’s absence was felt last Wednesday, when the Huskies fell to Central Michigan, a team that had no prior MAC wins.

Senior P.J. Smith and sophomores Anthony Maestranzi and Todd Peterson have attempted to pick up the scoring load, but a lack of inside presence has been apparent for the MAC’s biggest disappointment of the season.

     

Mid-American Notebook

by - Published February 10, 2004 in Conference Notes



Mid-American Conference Notebook

by Jeremy Speer

As the MAC season begins to hit its stretch run, as many as four MAC teams may qualify for postseason play.

Western should be an NCAA lock

Even if it does not capture a MAC tournament title, chances are good the Broncos will reach the NCAA Tournament this season. At 16-2, Western is eyeing its second consecutive 20-win season ever. The team continues to put itself among the MAC’s best, with a balanced offense including a shooter (Ben Reed), a slasher (Mike Williams) and a strongman (Anthony Kann).

Coupled with the heady play of sophomore Brian Snider and long-range contributions of Rickey Willis and Levi Rost, the Broncos are at the head of the class in the MAC. Steve Hawkins deserves a good look at not only MAC Coach of the Year, but also national coach of the year.

Kent State flashing toward NCAA bid

Like always, the Flashes are in good position for an at-large birth. They are 16-3 overall and 10-1 in the conference, including a crucial victory against Western Michigan. What separates the Flashes from Western may be experience. While Eric Haut is a tested three-point bomber, Kent State relies on a host of young players to carry the load. Bryan Bedford, Jason Edwin and DeAndre Haynes all have limited experience, while seven-footer John Edwards is receiving the largest workload of his career. Despite these questions, Kent State continues to win. With four more victories, they will become the first MAC team in conference history to reach six consecutive 20 win seasons. A dynasty certainly has been created in Kent.

Johnson the main cog in Miami’s offense

On paper, the team does not look all that good, but Miami just gets it done.

For example, they held Toledo, one of the MAC’s highest scoring offenses to 57 points in a crucial victory Saturday in Oxford. The offense continues to run around Juby Johnson, the MAC’s leading active scorer. In Miami’s past three games, Johnson has been the only RedHawks player to reach double figures. Over the past week, Charlie Coles, who also coached at Central Michigan, became the MAC’s third winningest coach in conference history. The RedHawks have a pair of winnable games against Akron and Ball State this upcoming week.

Toledo’s fuel comes from unlikely source

They took a hit with the Miami loss, but the Rockets have made one of the best turnarounds in the MAC this season, and should have a hold on at least an NIT bid. While the Rockets do boast Keith Triplett’s 20-point average and one of the best sophomores of the MAC in Sammy Villegas, the team is fueled from an unlikely source, freshman Justin Ingram. Ingram hails from Lansing (Mich.) Waverly High School, home of another collegiate point guard, former MSU Spartan Marcus Taylor. Unlike Taylor, Ingram is making the most of his opportunity. When he came to Toledo this summer, coach Stan Joplin had considered redshirting him, but his hard work and dedication landed him a starting spot. His consistent play at the point has helped with Triplett and Villegas’s surging play.

Three unlikely teams making noise

They were not expected to be that good, but Buffalo, Eastern Michigan and Ohio have caught fire. Ohio came up with back-to-back overtime victories this past week and now the Bobcats have claimed four straight MAC wins. They are led by guard Jaivon Harris and center Delvar Barrett, and with a 5-6 conference mark, are tied for third in the MAC East.

Buffalo continued its hot streak and now has won five of six games. Heady point guard Turner Battle, who not only was the MAC Player of the Week last week, but also was the MAC Scholar Athlete of the Week, leads the Bulls.

Eastern also has won three of its last four. The Eagles have benefited from inserting James Douglas in the starting lineup and have received unlikely contributions from big men John Bowler and James Jackson. Bowler leads the MAC with seven double-doubles while Jackson had 25 points in a win against Akron Saturday.

Shakeups in DeKalb

Frustrated with his team’s fleeting play, NIU coach Rob Judson has benched starters Anthony Maestranzi, Todd Peterson and Marcus Smallwood.

The biggest shock is Smallwood, who was considered as the favorite for MAC Player of the Year. While he is posting the MAC’s best rebounding numbers, his scoring average of 14 points per game is below expected.

Maestranzi and Peterson both enjoyed strong freshman seasons last year, but have struggled to find their shots. Each player is shooting a dismal 37 percent from the field.

1,000 point scorers

Two MAC players reached the 1,000 point milestone this past week – Akron’s Derrick Tarver and Bowling Green’s Kevin Netter.

Tarver’s accomplishment is simply amazing, as he reached it in just 47 games. That is the fastest player to reach the mark in school history.

     

Mid-American Notebook

by - Published February 3, 2004 in Conference Notes



Mid-American Conference Notebook

by Jeremy Speer

The top teams in the Mid-American Conference are beginning to surface, as a pair of two-team races is developing. Western Michigan maintains a one-game lead over Toledo in the West Division while Kent State enjoys a game and half advantage over Miami in the East Division.

As those four teams went undefeated in the past week, the rest of the conference’s teams have fallen to the middle of the pack.

It’s all in the family for Western’s Rost

A member of the First Family of Western Michigan basketball, Levi Rost burst onto the scene in a pair of wins against Ohio and Eastern Michigan. While he averaged 21 points in the two victories, he may not be the best Bronco in his family. His sister, Casey, is the MAC’s leading women’s scorer on Western’s women’s team, which also sits in the first place.

During this week, Levi got the better of his sister. While Casey averaged just 15.5 points in a win and a loss, Levi scored a career-high 26 points in the Broncos 96-73 defeat of Ohio. He then followed it up with a game-high 16 points in a 20-point victory against Eastern Michigan.

Levi Rost is a junior college transfer in his first year of Division I basketball. He starred the previous two seasons at Lansing Community College. His contributions continue to improve a Western squad loaded with weapons.

Bulls, Turner Battle back

Buffalo has been the streakiest team in the MAC this season, and again finds itself in the midst of a hot streak, led by its skilled guard, Turner Battle. The Bulls opened the season on a three-game losing skid before going on a December stretch of five consecutive victories. As January and the onset of conference play began, Buffalo again began to struggle, dropping six straight games. Now the Bulls have caught fire once again. With a pair of victories against talented Ball State and Akron squads, the Bulls have now won three consecutive games. They are 4-5 in the MAC, and sit tied for third place in the MAC Eastern division.

Battle, a preseason All-MAC selection has picked up his game, averaging 23 points in the past two games. The Bulls have gone the way Battle has. Battle has been the team’s leading scorer in six of the eight UB victories, but has been the leading scorer in just one of the team’s nine losses.

He has received solid contributions from players like Mark Bortz (20 points and 10 rebounds vs. Akron), Mario Jordan (15 points and nine rebounds vs. Ball State) and Jason Bird (three consecutive three-pointers vs. Ball State). With Battle heating up, the Bulls hope they can ride their hot streak all the way to the top of the MAC East.

Central’s struggles persist

This season has been nothing short of a nightmare for Central Michigan. While the team’s 0-9 MAC start is tough enough to swallow, it is only the base of the problems the team has endured.

Prior to the team’s season-opening trip to the Maui Invitational, walk-on forward Brent Edwards passed away in a automobile accident. Tragedy again struck for the Chippewas this week, as Gemma Comstock, wife of assistant coach Marc Comstock, passed away from melanoma, a form of skin cancer. The team was notified of Gemma Comstock’s death Thursday, making a Saturday loss to Ohio a bit more understandable. CMU looks for its first conference win this week with three home games against Western Michigan, Kent State and Northern Illinois.

BG Guards light it up

In the season’s most impressive backcourt performance, Bowling Green guards Ron Lewis and John Reimold combined for 59 points and 10 three-pointers in an 88-73 victory against Marshall Saturday. Lewis, a sophomore, connected for 31 points on four triples, while Reimold, a junior, had 28 points on six treys. The Falcons improved to 5-4 in the conference and will look to gain ground with road games against Miami and Western Michigan this week.

Miami grinds one out

They are last in the MAC in total offense, but first in the conference in total defense.

A slow-down, fundamental tempo is something Miami coach Charlie Coles has preached for years, and it worked to perfection in a 51-48 overtime victory against Marshall. After allowing the Herd to creep back into the contest and send it into overtime, the RedHawks held Marshall down in the overtime period, allowing for the victory. A Danny Horace putback put Miami up 51-48, and strong defense preserved it.

The RedHawks main scoring option, Juby Johnson, netted 17 points in the win.

Despite improving to 6-2 in the MAC East, the RedHawks remain behind the 8-1 Kent State Golden Flashes, who knocked off Akron Saturday, holding MAC leading scorer Derrick Tarver to 14 points.

Rockets blast off

Toledo’s formula for victory is simple – when Keith Triplett plays well, the team wins.

And as evidenced by UT’s 9-2 MAC mark, Triplett is playing well. He is second in the MAC in scoring at 20 points a game and eclipsed his average in recent victories against Ball State and Northern Illinois.

Toledo also has received consistent contributions from sophomore Sammy Villegas and freshmen Florentino Valencia and Justin Ingram, giving the Rockets many versatile options.

UT looks to gain ground on Western with a key showdown at Miami Saturday.

     

Mid-American Notebook

by - Published January 28, 2004 in Conference Notes



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.

     

Mid-American Notebook

by - Published January 22, 2004 in Conference Notes



Mid-American Conference Notebook

by Jeremy Speer

Forget Wally’s Miami team. Forget Earl’s Eastern squad. Forget Kaman’s Central Michigan group.

This season’s Western Michigan team could possibly be the MAC’s best ever.

With the Broncos 72-63 victory at Eastern Michigan Saturday, Western won its 11th straight game overall and seventh consecutive on the road – its longest streak since the mid 1970′s.

Its no surprise the main production has come from the trio of Mike Williams, Anthony Kann and Ben Reed. Williams netted 18 points on 9-of-11 shooting, while Kann added 15 points and 10 rebounds. Reed chipped in 11 points and five rebounds.

With an RPI creeping into the top echelon of NCAA schools, the Broncos continue to roll up votes in the Top 25 polls. In last week’s polls, Western received 12 votes in the Associated Press Top 25 and five votes in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25. In his first year, coach Steve Hawkins has turned himself as a legitimate candidate for NCAA Coach of the Year.

The Broncos mettle will again be tested this week, with games against top MAC squads Kent State and Ball State.

Rockets and Cardinals just behind

In addition to Western, Ball State and Toledo have turned up the heat in the MAC West.

The Cardinals have been the conference’s other startling surprise. A team that had lost its two best players in Theron Smith and Chris Williams, suddenly finds itself in the midst of a four-game winning streak. The team posted a huge road victory Saturday, defeating Miami 56-50 in Oxford.

Matt McCollom, one of the team’s few veterans, continued his steady play, drilling a three-pointer with a minute left to help seal the deal for Ball State. The win snapped Ball State’s 11-game losing streak at Millet Hall.

Toledo is another team enjoying a solid season. With the MAC’s best backcourt in Keith Triplett and Sammy Villegas, the Rockets have flown to a 4-1 MAC record. They continued their strong play with a 87-79 win against a tough Akron squad, a game in which Triplett had 24 points while Villegas added 18. Tied with Ball State, the Rockets remain just a half game behind Western in the MAC West standings. And with the Broncos brutal schedule this week, both squads will be looking to make the jump.

MAC West deep and talented

It is not just the super three in the MAC West. Bowling Green has begun to turn its season around, and could become a major player in the outcome of the division. The Falcons shot lights out in a 86-61 blowout of Central Michigan Sunday. BGSU fired 64 percent from the field, including a 62 percent clip from three-point range.

After struggling through the early part of the season, the Falcons now have won five of six and are 4-2 in MAC play. John Reimold has asserted himself as one of the conference’s best shooters, and sophomore Ronald Lewis is a budding superstar. Coupled with the post production of Kevin Netter, the Falcons have the makings of a deep and talented squad.

No Kaman, No Problem

Making the biggest output jump this season is Central Michigan center Gerrit Brigitha.

The Chippewas had thought they had a huge hole to fill with the loss of dominant center Chris Kaman to the NBA, but Brigitha has equaled Kaman’s output this season. Through the first five games of the MAC season, Brigitha is posting averages of 26 points and seven rebounds. The problem is that all five of those games were CMU losses.

This can be directly attributed to the inability of CMU’s wing players to hit open shots. The Chippewas are the No. 7 shooting team in the conference, a number elevated because of Brigitha’s 59 percent shooting percentage.

Huskies continue to struggle

The fruit of the teams atop the MAC West may be coming at the expense of Northern Illinois.

The Huskies were blown out 80-59 at home by Ohio, a team predicted to finish near the bottom of the MAC East. A third option is a necessity for the Huskies to win games. Marcus Smallwood and P.J. Smith are quality players, but no one has been able to offer complementary production.

RedHawks rebounding

Despite the Saturday setback to Ball State, Miami had begun to heat up from a slow start with three consecutive victories. The key to the team has been the inside production of Danny Horace, Gene Seals and Chet Mason. The trio gives Miami a distinct rebounding advantage against opposing teams, and help guard Juby Johnson pick up the slack when it comes to scoring. With the conference’s best defensive attack engineered by coach Charlie Coles, Miami hopes to find itself atop the MAC East.

Harris leads Bobcats into win column

The team who had been sleeping at the bottom of the MAC East finally awoke this week, as Ohio notched back-to-back victories against Buffalo and Northern Illinois. Jaivon Harris was the main man in Oxford, connecting for a career-high 25 points against the Bulls and following it up with 16 points against Northern Illinois. Harris drilled nine-triples during the two game span and averaged seven rebounds. The Bobcats have a tough showdown Tuesday at Akron.

Flashes brace for Broncos

The leaders in their respective division will collide Wednesday, when Western travels to Kent State. KSU had its four-game winning streak snapped this past week in a loss to Miami, and is feeling the RedHawks breathing down its neck in the MAC East.

The Flashes want to hold serve on their home court, and it will need the backcourt of DeAndre Haynes and Eric Haut to come up with a strong game in order to earn a victory.

Hamilton heats it up

Marshall senior point guard A.W. Hamilton came up clutch in the Herd’s Saturday victory against Buffalo, scoring 15 of his 17 points in the second half. The victory snapped a three-game losing skid for Marshall. Buffalo, continued its six-game slide despite 17 points from freshman Yassin Idhibi.

     

MAC Notebook

by - Published January 6, 2004 in Conference Notes



Mid-American Conference Notebook

by Jeremy Speer

There isn’t a Ben Roethlisberger anywhere to be found. There isn’t the striking multitude of Top 25 defeats. There isn’t the increased television coverage.

While the Mid-American conference has jumped onto the national stage through its football exploits, MAC basketball has continued to play in relative obscurity. The MAC’s non-conference months go unhyped and unnoticed by most people outside of the Midwest.

However, just as Central Michigan did last season with Chris Kaman, the MAC is home to a couple of gems who could become household names come March.

Western Michigan has been the story of the season, with its 7-1 record including defeats of USC, Arizona State and UAB. With a high-powered perimeter attack, Toledo has itself a contender. Akron has a little bit of everything including the conference’s leading scorer (Derrick Tarver), a heady coach’s kid (Andy Hipsher) and three talented freshmen (Jeremiah Wood, Romeo Travis, Dru Joyce III). Northern Illinois has struggled in the onset but has the talent and coaching to make a long run. Miami plays the conference’s best defense and Kent State is in a familiar spot atop the MAC East.

Saturday marks the beginning of the brutal MAC schedule. Long a conference with deep parity, expect teams to beat up on one another for much of the next two months, jockeying for position for March’s all-important MAC Tournament in Cleveland.

The next couple of months will tell the story of which MAC school and players will the nation come to know upon the onset of March Madness.

MAC West Notebook

Western Michigan Broncos
Record: 7-1, 0-1
Big Wins: USC, Arizona State, UAB
Loss: Detroit

What this team has done is truly remarkable. Current South Florida coach Reggie McCullum began the program’s turnaround the past two seasons and his efforts have come into fruition under the leadership of first-year man Steve Hawkins.

The Broncos have done it with a winning formula of team play, clutch scoring and stifling defense.

A fully healthy Ben Reed (19.4 ppg) has been the catalyst. Coupled with leading scorer and rebounder Mike Williams (21.5 ppg, 7.3 rpg), it gives Western a dangerous one-two punch.

Bruiser Anthony Kann (11 ppg, 7 rpg) gives the Broncos an inside presence while Brian Snider has been a steady all-around guard in his sophomore season.

They have jumped to the top of the pack and folks in Kalamazoo are hoping they can remain there.

Toledo Rockets
Record: 6-2, 1-0
Big Wins: De Paul, Wright State
Losses: Detroit, Louisville

After finishing in the basement last season, the high-flying Rockets have jumped out to a 6-2 start behind strong guard play.

UT’s three-guard rotation is spearheaded by Keith Triplett (18.9 ppg). Sammy Villegas and freshman Justin Ingram have had strong starts to the season.

Toledo’s problem is its lack of a post presence. Coach Stan Joplin needs either Ricardo Thomas, A.J. Shellabarger, Allen Pinson or Anton Currie to step up in order for the team to make a series tourney run.

Eastern Michigan Eagles
Record 4-4, 0-1
Big Wins: None
Tough Losses: Yale, Illinois State

The 4-4 record is deceiving as the Eagles have beaten nobody. Only one Division I opponent (Marist) appears in the win column, and Eastern has struggled against stronger teams.

The most puzzling story in the conference is guard Ricky Cottrill, who two seasons ago was among the MAC’s leading scorers and shooters. Last season, Cottrill saw his scoring average decrease by more than ten points and his shooting decrease by more than 20 percent. The downward slide has continued this season, as Cottrill nets just four points a game in decreasing minutes.

The inside game has been a bright spot with the emergence of James Jackson (13.5 ppg, 9.4 rpg) and John Bowler (11.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg).

Northern Illinois Huskies
Record: 5-6, 0-1
Big Wins: Illinois-Chicago
Tough Losses: BYU-Hawaii, Baylor

NIU is not a team that should be losing games to the likes of BYU-Hawaii and Baylor.

The Huskies have the MAC’s most talented player in Marcus Smallwood and a deep and diverse supporting cast. However, they have struggled to find their niche in the early going and are surprisingly under .500.

The talent is there, as evidenced in a victory against Illinois-Chicago, a team destined to be this season’s Creighton or Butler. The Huskies need Smallwood (14.5 ppg) to put up more points and P.J. Smith and Todd Peterson to get out of their shooting slumps.

Ball State Cardinals
Record: 3-5, 0-0
Big Wins: Xavier, Butler
Tough Losses: IUPUI, Indiana State

Ball State started the season with a bang, but of late have been more of a fizzle.

The Cardinals opened the year with consecutive victories against Xavier and Butler, but have not been able to capitalize on the momentum. Ball State’s non-conference schedule degree of difficulty was second only to Central Michigan’s, making the team’s 3-5 record better than it looks.

Newcomers Dennis Trammell, Terrence Chapman, Skip Mills and Peyton Stovall have teamed with veterans Robert Owens, Cameron Echols and Matt McCollom to provide a solid seven-man rotation.

Bowling Green Falcons
Record: 4-7, 0-1
Big Win: Detroit
Tough Losses: American, Lamar

While NIU is a chief competitor, Bowling Green gets the distinction of being the MAC’s biggest 2003 disappointment.

They were slated to finish amongst the leaders of the MAC West, but recent losses to American and Lamar leave the team reeling with q uestions.

Preseason All-MAC center Kevin Netter (10.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg) simply has not played to expectations and an injury to sharpshooter John Reimold has hurt.

Sophomore Ronald Lewis continues to score in droves (18.5 ppg), but he cannot do it alone in order for BGSU to have MAC success.

Central Michigan Chippewas
Record: 3-7, 0-0
Big Win: Notre Dame
Tough Losses: Loyola-Chicago, Santa Clara

As if having to play perhaps the most difficult non-conference schedule in MAC history, CMU’s season has been overshadowed by the death of walk-on forward Brent Edwards.

A major bright spot came December 6, when Joe Carr’s last-second three-pointer stunned Notre Dame in South Bend.

Despite this, the Chippewas have lost to Dayton, Ohio State, Purdue and Michigan.

Help is on its way in the form of athletic swingman Marcus Moore, who is cleared academically to play in the second semester. Moore scored 11 points in his debut, a victory against Tri-State.

East Division Notebook

Kent State Golden Flashes
Record: 7-2, 1-0
Big Wins: Detroit, St. Bonaventure
Losses; Rhode Island, Boston College

Kent State did what MAC West heavyweights Western Michigan and Toledo were unable to do and beat Detroit.

The Flashes have rebounded nicely from the loss of powerful forward Antonio Gates to the NFL’s San Diego Chargers (no joke) with a strong non-conference effort.

A balanced attack has been the key, led by sophomore point guard DeAndre Haynes (10 ppg, 4.4 rpg, 5.7 apg), a player on the verge of stardom.

Seven-footer John Edwards (12.2 ppg, 6.9 rpg) is having a solid senior season and Eric Haut (11.4 ppg) continues to shoot lights out.

Akron Zips
Record: 6-2, 0-0
Big Wins: Wright State, Duquense
Losses: North Carolina, Cincinnati

Were it not for the nationally ranked TarHeels and Bearcats, the Zips would be undefeated.

Akron is home to the MAC’s best rookie class, led by forward Jeremiah Wood (10.4 ppg, 9 rpg). Romeo Travis, Dru Joyce III and Matt Futch also have given Akron solid first-year contributions.

But the team revolves around MAC leading scorer Derrick Tarver (23.4 ppg). If he is hot, Akron will win the majority of its games.

Buffalo Bulls
Record: 5-4, 1-0
Big Wins: Niagara, Bowling Green
Tough Losses: Canisius, Fairleigh Dickinson

Fans of the Bulls are not used to seeing above-.500 records, but that is exactly what Buffalo boasts heading into conference season.

The team had won five consecutive games before a recent loss to Fairleigh Dickinson.

Buffalo’s recipe to success: balance, balance and more balance. Senior point guard Turner Battle (13.2 ppg) leads the show, but Mark Bortz, Yassin Idhibi, B.J. Walker, Mario Jordan, Jason Bird, Roderick Middleton and Calvin Cage all average more than six points a game.

Coach Reggie Witherspoon deserves credit into molding his club into a tough MAC opponent.

Marshall Thundering Herd
Record: 4-4, 1-0
Big Win: UAB
Tough Loss: UNC Wilmington

The Herd have been average in Ron Jirsa’s first season, for the most part winning the games they should win and losing the games they should lose.

This team does have some talent, led by athletic forward Marvin Black (12 ppg, 7.3 rpg). Point guard A.W. Hamilton leads the conference in assists while Ronny Dawn (12.1) is one of the MAC’s biggest three-point threats.

Jirsa feels Marshall has the talent to make a run toward the top of the MAC East.

Miami RedHawks
Record: 4-5, 0-1
Big Win: Wright State
Tough Loss: None

Miami’s 4-5 record is deceiving. The RedHawks fell to Cincinnati, Xavier, SMU, Dayton and Western Michigan, all tough opponents.

However, coach Charlie Coles wont use that as an excuse, because he would have liked to see his squad spring at least one upset.

The team still follows Coles’ creed of ball-hawking defense, led by the MAC’s best defender, senior Juby Johnson (13.6 ppg).

Chet Mason and Danny Horace have been tough inside, and Josh Hausfeld gives Miami a defense-stretching long-distance threat.

Ohio Bobcats
Record: 3-7, 0-1
Big Wins: None
Tough Losses: San Francisco, Mercer

It has been rough sailing for the Bobcats, who have been unable to win the close game.

The team is playing like it misses graduated stars Brandon Hunter, Sonny Johnson and Steve Esterkamp, all of whom were among Ohio’s all-time leading scorers.

Someone from a group that includes Jaivon Harris, Thomas Stephens, Jeff Halbert, Delvar Barrett and Diamond Gladney need to step up in order for Ohio to find MAC success.

     

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