Central Michigan withstood a strong game from the MAC Freshman of the Year to beat Northern Illinois, 83-71.
The Chippewas held a steady lead for most of the game. NIU's Darion Anderson led both teams in points (22) and rebounds (seven), but it was not enough.
Giordan Watson, a second-team All-MAC player, scored 20 for CMU. He also had four assists and three steals.
Akron will play CMU at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
CMU beat Akron 65-64 when the teams played Jan. 26 in Mount Pleasant, Mich. Watson tipped the ball away from Nick Dials, preventing Akron from getting off a shot to win.
On the offensive end, it was forward Nate Minnoy, not Watson, whom Akron could not contain. Minnoy had 21 points and six rebounds in the win.
Minnoy has not played as many minutes since that game, but you can rely on coach Ernie Zeigler's memory of Jan. 26.
Thanks to the defense of Nate Linhart and Cedrick Middleton, Akron has limited Watson. That makes this a good matchup for Akron, and one that the Zips should win without much trouble.
The All-MAC teams came out. Jeremiah Wood is second team. Dials got honorable mention. Steve McNees earned a spot on the All-Freshman team.
Eastern Michigan beat Ball State today, 59-55. The Eagles will play Western Michigan in the quarterfinals (and possibly Akron in the semifinals). Before you mock my parenthetical tidbit, consider that EMU already knocked off WMU once earlier in the year.
Toledo beat Bowling Green, 52-48. The Rockets will play Kent State, whom it has already beaten. Toledo has talent, but lacks depth. Playing on back-to-back nights, the Rockets shouldn't give KSU a super-difficult test.
Buffalo will play Miami later tonight. RedHawks coach Charlie Coles is in the hospital after a heart procedure. The 66-year-old has a history of issues with his heart. Hopefully the doctors solve his problem. Coles is a genuinely nice guy.
I have been calling the MAC all week, trying to get confirmation of my press credentials. If I don't get it tomorrow, I can't blog during the game.
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