The last chance for a possible at-large bid for any team not to win the MAC championship all but vanished Wednesday night when the Ohio Bobcats surrendered a 14 point, second-half lead to Marshall University. The Bobcats lost 70-60 and head into conference play at 9-4. The Bobcats had probably the best chance to get an at-large bid, should they play well in the conference portion of their schedule. Well they theorhetically could still end up with an at-large bid, the loss to Marshall sure didn’t help anything.
The Bobcats were on a roll of a 3-game win streak which included a neutral court win over Cincinnati last Saturday night.
Last night was not a good chance for the MAC’s chances of having more than one team in the Big Dance come March. Every single MAC team in action lost last night along with the team that is supposed to carry the league, Akron. When your best team is losing to Arkansas Little-Rock with a chance to play Texas Tech on national television looming, you have the feeling that this could be a long year. Last night for some reason was upset special all around the country with Boston College losing to Vermont at home, Notre Dame losing to Butler at home and Indiana almost losing to Layfeytte in the preseason NIT. Akron shot 51 percent from the floor but could not get rebounds when it mattered the most. The Trojans outscored the Zips 21-11 on second-chance points and also outrebounded them 36-24. That just goes to show that you can’t just win games with talent, you have to actually go out there and perform and Akron didn’t do that last night. They’ll have another chance tonight to pick up what appears to be an easy W over Gardner-Webb at 7 PM tonight.
A night after getting blown out by Youngstown State, the Central Michigan Chippewas responded with a 71-58 win over Brown in the consolation game of the 2K Sports College Hoops Classic benefiting Coaches vs. Cancer. It was also the first win for head coach Ernie Ziegler while at CMU. The previous day Brown had slowed the tempo and controlled possessions as they held Michigan State to only 45 points but still losing by 11. Ziegler wanted to push the tempo against Brown and got his first win.
CMU shot 50 percent from the floor, got 11 steals and 12 offensive rebounds. Sefton Barrett scored a game high 14 points. Giordan Watson came off the bench to score 13 points and add six assists. Eddie Spencer also added 12 points and 6 rebounds. CMU pushed the lead to as many as 21 points before Brown added a late rally to close the game to the final deficit of 13 points.
University of Akron head men's basketball coach Keith Dambrot announced on Thursday that Brett McKnight, Steve Sweich and Ronnie Steward have signed national letters of intent to play at the school starting in the 2007-08 season. All three are currently in their senior season of high school.
McKnight, a 6-foot-6, 245-pound forward from Lancaster, Ohio, attends Lancaster High. McKnight averaged 12 points and six rebounds in leading Lancaster HS to a 25-2 record last season. He has been named as the fourth-best wing/forward in the state by PrepSpotlight.
Steward, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound guard from Columbus, Ohio, attends Eastmoor Academy. He averaged 18 points and six assists last season, and is on pace to be the first player at Eastmoor to score 1,000 career points. Last season he earned honorable mention all-state recognition and is a two-time first-team all-city pick and was twice named to the second-team all-district squad. Steward is the No. 2-ranked point guard in the state according to PrepSpotlight.
The Bobcats' current 2007 recruiting class includes Tommy Freeman (Muncie, Ind.), Zach Nagtzaam (Ayr, Ontario), Maurice Pearson (Silver Springs, Md.) and DeVaugh Washington (Virginia Beach, Va.).
Freeman has helped lead Muncie Central High School to the Indiana state title game in each of the past two seasons. A 6-5, 185-pound guard, Freeman knocked down three-pointers at a 45-percent rate as a junior and averaged 10.3 points. Playing guard and forward, Freeman led Central with five rebounds per game and drew a team-best 26 charges.
Nagtzaam, a native of Ayr, Ontario, will become the second player of foreign descent on the Bobcat roster next year. As a 6-11, 235-pound center, Nagtzaam averaged 20 points and nine rebounds last year to lead Southwood Secondary School to a 33-12 record. He also played on the Ontario provincial team that took home the national championship at the Canadian Summer Games and is a two-year member of the Canadian Junior National Team. Nagtzaam was one of 20 players chosen to participate in this past summer's Nike All-Canada Camp.
The Western Michigan men’s basketball program has announced the signing Juston Hairston to a National Letter of Intent.
Hairston was an Indiana Junior All-Star and member of the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association 16-player Underclassmen All-State Team after leading South with 17 points and five rebounds on its way to a 14-7 record and Summit Athletic Conference co-championship last season. Hairston averaged 15 points and four rebounds per game during a 13-9 sophomore season. He has been named to the all-conference team each of the last two seasons.
The 6-foot-6, 200-pound forward from Ft. Wayne (Ind.) South High School will have four years of eligibility beginning with the 2007-08 season.