MAC Recap: 11-17
The MAC had three teams in action and while they went 2-1 none of the two teams that won had very impressive wins. Toledo was in action against Iowa in the Virgin Islands for the Paradise Jam Tournament, Miami won big over Florida A&M, and Buffalo won a close one at home over Cleveland State. On to the recaps:
Toledo fought hard against Iowa but came up short 78-65 in the opening round of the Paradise Jam Tournament. The seniors held the Rocket’s in this game though. Senior guard Justin Ingram paced the Rockets with 22 points, 4 steals and 4 rebounds and was a point shy of his career scoring high. Senior forward Keonta Howell chipped in 16 points and six rebounds and senior forward Florentino Valencia scored 12 points and came down with a team high 8 rebounds. Freshmen forward Tyler Smith scored a game high 28 points for the Hawkeyes. The Rockets were able to shut down Iowa’s leading scorer, Adam Haluska, limiting him to only 10 points. However, that opened the door for Smith’s big night. Iowa also destroyed Toledo on the boards with a 51-30 rebounding edge. Toledo will face Middle Tennessee State tonight as the Blue Raiders dropped their game last night against 10th ranked Alabama.
Miami dominated their game against Florida A&M coming away with a 52-33 win. Junior forward Tim Pollitz scored 16 points and came down with 11 rebounds. The 33 points were the fewest opponents points since Miami gave up 32 points to Wright State back in 1947. The RedHawks also only gave up 11 points in the first half, which tied a school record. Miami returns to action by playing at home again on Tuesday and hosting the University of Illinois-Chicago.
The other MAC team in action last night was the Buffalo Bulls and they picked up a good 77-73 win over Cleveland State. It was the opening game of the America’s Youth Classic in Evansville, Indiana last night. For the second straight game, senior Parnell Smith posted a career high in scoring, this time with 24 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. It wasn’t an easy win for the Bulls as they fell behind early and were trailing 35-28 at the half. However, they quickly responded to open the second half as they outscored the Vikings 36-14 in the first 12 minutes. The Bulls ran the lead all the way up to 13 points before Cleveland State battled back to make it a close game at the end. Following two missed free throws by Buffalo, the Vikings had a shot at the win. However, Vadim Fedotov drew a charge with six seconds remaining for the Bulls and Eric Monroe drilled a pair of free throws to give the victory to Buffalo. Buffalo takes on Miami (FL) tonight in the second round of the America’s Youth Classic.
Tonight’s game matches Kent State hosting Detroit, Eastern Michigan on the road at Marquette, Toledo playing Middle Tennessee State in the Virgin Islands, and Buffalo playing Miami (FL) in Evansville, Indiana. I’m predicting that Toledo will be the only team that will win out of the MAC tonight. Last night’s record: 3-0. Overall record: 5-1.