MAC Tourney Day 1:NIU huskies fight their way back after falling behind big in the first half

Cleveland, OH: Had this been a fight the referee would have called it early, but good thing they didn’t…

In the second quarterfinal game at The Q saw the fifth seeded Ohio University Bobcats squaring off against the fourth seeded Northern Illinois University Huskies. OU came into the game feeling good about their win on Monday against the 12 seeded Eastern Michigan Eagles; while NIU had been eagerly waiting to play, having played well enough in the regular season to get a first round bye.
Early on it seemed as though we would witness the first blow out in The Q; the Huskies looked stagnant and rusty from sitting out first round play on a bye. NIU’s zone was thwarted in large part because OU could not miss anything; the Bobcats shot an astounding 57% from 3PT range in the first half. OU came off the tip running and gunning and started the first quarter of play with a 14-5 run. The Lady Bobcats continued to play solid D and drill 3’s up until halftime; when play paused at the midway juncture The Q saw the score sitting at 41-24 in favor of OU. Although NIU was facing a serious deficit there was something that happened right before the halftime buzzer that seemed to have provided a spark of moment for the Huskies. NIU’s Renee Sladek hit a buzzer beating 2 point shot at the baseline, which didn’t seem like much at the time but it would give the Huskies enough belief to start a comeback.
If you live by the three, then you will most certainly die by the three…
The halftime break seemed to put Ohio’s three-point shooting on ice; the Bobcat’s Cavalier-like 3-point shooting percentage dropped from 56% to a pedestrian 34% in the second half. While OU was building a neighborhood with their bricked threes; NIU continued to penetrate the paint and dominated the second half outscoring the Bobcats 48-30. The whole stadium could sense the momentum shift, as NIU seemed like an unstoppable force that saw the Bobcats wishing time would tick faster off of the clock. NIU took the lead with 49 seconds to go in the game and never looked back. OU had a chance to win the game on a last second three as the Bobcat litter looked on in disbelief watching their MAC tourney dreams rim out with the last second shot.
NIU moves on to the semi-finals where they will take on the eighth seeded Western Michigan Broncos who also come off a nail biting comeback game against one seeded Central Michigan. NIU and WMU play Friday in The Q; tip off is 11am

Buffalo Bulls to face Akron in MAC Championship

Cleveland, OH- The nightcap Men’s semi-final game was a heavyweight bout that saw the 2nd-seeded Ohio Bobcats face off against the 3rd-seeded Bulls of Buffalo. The Bobcats sported the MAC player of the year in Antonio Campbell who averaged 17.6 PPG during the regular season. The Bulls looked towards a return to the MAC championship to defend their title.

 

The first half got off to a sluggish start offensively for both teams. The first ten minutes of the half only yielded a combined 27 points and neither team shot better than 33% from the field. The stifled offenses were less a product of great defense and more a product of blown layups and shoddy shooting from the perimeter by both teams.

 

Towards the end of the first half the shooting warmed up a little bit for both teams as the percentages crept up near the 40-45% range from the field. Buffalo started to pull away with a minute and a half until halftime, taking a double-digit lead at 36-24. The score at the midway break was 41-29 in favor of the Buffalo Bulls. Nick Perkins and Willie Connor led the scoring for Buffalo 12 points a piece; the leading scorer for the Bobcats was Antonio Campbell with 11.

 

Both teams seemed to benefit from the halftime shoot around, the Bobcats started the half 4-5 and the Bulls started 3-4 from the field. The score after three minutes of play was 53-40 in favor of the Bulls. Nobody wanted to miss in the second half, a far cry from the first half of play. Ohio went on a 10-3 run to pull within five with 14 minutes to play. Buffalo’s Willie Connor took matters into his own hands to stop the bleeding, hitting a three pointer and layup to push the lead back up to ten points, making the score 60-50.

 

The Bobcats got the deficit under double digits at 67-58; Ohio started to make a few shots and Buffalo’s offense became stagnant and ineffective with less than 10 minutes to play in the game. Two straight offensive fouls going against Buffalo allowed Ohio to once again cut the lead down to five, making it 67-62. The Bulls went on a 12-2 run that opened up a fifteen-point lead on the Bobcats that all but ended the game. Buffalo emerged victorious, the final score on the jumbo-tron at The Q read 88-74.

Buffalo will play Akron in the MAC Championship tomorrow.

Football Preview: Akron Zips vs. Ohio Bobcats

By Jacob Allen

The Akron Zips football team will look to begin conference play on a good note when they take on the Ohio University Bobcats on Saturday in the annual homecoming game.

The Zips come in at 2-2 following back-to-back wins over Savannah State and Louisiana-Lafayette. The Bobcats, meanwhile, are 3-1 after a tough loss to Minnesota. It will be the first of eight conference games for each team.

Akron’s offense has been a big factor in the previous two wins, thanks in large part to the emergence of sophomore quarterback Thomas Woodson. After not throwing a pass in the first two games against Oklahoma and Pittsburgh, Woodson has thrown for 445 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions while completing fifty percent of his passes. Woodson has also run the ball 22 times for 186 yards and two touchdowns.

The Zips are only passing for 181 yards per game, which is second to last in the MAC. Only Kent State has thrown for fewer yards in the conference. However, Akron does rank fourth in the MAC in rushing yards per game with 174.

The only Zip with more rushing yards than Woodson is senior running back Conor Hundley. Hundley has 51 carries over four games for 299 yards and four touchdowns. Donnell Alexander has also provided a spark for the offense rushing for 159 yards on 30 carries.

Also make sure to keep an eye on receiver Jerome Lane, who has caught seven passes for 228 yards with two touchdowns. Senior Imani Davis will also seek attention from the Bobcat’s secondary.

Keeping the ball off the turf will be a big factor also for the Zips, as Ohio has recovered six fumbles this season, which is more than any team in the country.

The Bobcats come in to this matchup flying high offensively. Ohio ranks third in the MAC in rushing with 175 yards per game and sixth in passing with 244 yards per contest.

Ohio is led by Lincoln, Nebraska native Derrius Vick at quarterback. Through four games Vick has completed 51 of his 75 passes for 742 yards with 6 touchdowns and only 2 interceptions. Finding a way to slow down the senior signal caller will be vital for an Akron victory.

The Zips will also need to find a way to stop the Bobcats two-headed monster at running back. Both Daz’mond Patterson and A.J. Ouellette have rushed for over 200 yards and have combined for 5 scores.

Ohio also has several pass catchers to look out for, as Sebastian Smith and Brendan Cope has each eclipsed over 200 yards, and Keith Heitzman, Papi White, and Jordan Reid each have reached the century mark in receiving.

These two MAC rivals will face off Saturday at 2 p.m. at InfoCision Stadium- Summa Field.