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Plenty of MACtion in Tournament Quarterfinals

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With four games in Cleveland’s Quicken Loans Arena Thursday, the 2016 Mid-American Conference Tournament is in full swing. Here is a look at all the action from all the MAC Tournament quarterfinal games.

Akron 65 Eastern Michigan 63

In what is likely the most surprising thing about Thursday’s action, the top-seeded Akron Zips found itself trailing Eastern Michigan by 10 halfway through the second half. However, in what was one of the least surprising things about Thursday’s action, the Zips managed to claw their way back into the game.

A Reggie McAdams 3-pointer cut the Eagles’ lead to 56-53 with 6:30 left in the game, and then Antino Jackson canned a 3-pointer to make it 58-57 at the 3:16 mark. That was as close as the Zips got to taking the lead until Noah Robotham sank a long ball after a timeout to give Akron the 62-61 lead with just 53 seconds remaining in the game.

A pair of Raven Lee free throws reclaimed the lead for Eastern Michigan, but Isaiah Johnson banked in a shot from the right block to give Akron the 64-63 lead with 26 seconds left. Akron added a free throw after Eastern Michigan picked up a technical foul for trying to call a timeout when it had none left.

Bowling Green 62 Central Michigan 59

After knocking off the fifth-seeded Kent State Monday, the No. 12 Bowling Green Falcons pulled off their second straight upset. This time the Falcons defeated the No. 4 Central Michigan Chippewas.

Much like Akron, Bowling Green had to overcome a late second half deficit to get the win. Trailing 49-41 with 8:49 left in the game, the Falcons went on a 5-0 run to make it a one-possession game. After that run, the Chippewas still maintained their lead until the final minute, though.

With 1:07 to go in the contest, freshman guard Antwon Lillard went to the line for the front end of a one-and-one, but he missed it, keeping Central Michigan in the lead 56-55. After a John Simons layup pushed the Falcons’ lead to 58-55, Lillard drove to the basket and finished a layup despite being fouled. However, the freshman’s free throw attempt again went begging, so Bowling Green still led 58-57.

Central Michigan’s Rayshawn Simmons split a pair of free throws on the following possession, making BG’s lead 59-57. With 18 seconds remaining in the game, Bowling Green inbounded the ball to Lillard who confidently stepped into a deep 3-pointer that found the bottom of the net, giving the Falcons the 60-59 lead.

A Central Michigan turnover led to a pair of Ismail Ali free throws that salted the game away for Bowling Green.

Ohio 79 Northern Illinois 62

Fans at the Q were treated to two drama-filled games to start the day, but there was little drama in Ohio’s convincing win over the Huskies. The No. 2 Bobcats started the game with a steady diet of MAC Player of the Year Antonio Campbell. The junior forward scored six points and grabbed four rebounds in the first six minutes of the game. He was not the only Bobcat that got off to a good start, though.

As a team, Ohio shot 61.5 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range through the first 8:15 of the game. Even with that hot shooting, the Bobcats still only led by four halfway through the first half.

In fact, Ohio did not really distance itself until it held Northern Illinois scoreless for the final 5:07 of half number one. During that time, Ohio guard Jaaron Simmons drilled a contested 3-pointer from the wing to give Ohio the 36-27 lead that it took into halftime.

The second half continued just like the end of the first half, as Ohio outscored Northern Illinois 21-6 through the first 5:44 of the first half. Campbell and forward Kenny Kaminski fueled that run, scoring 14 on the 21 points.

Campbell finished the night with 21 points and eight rebounds while Kaminski totaled 17 points on 5-8 shooting from 3-point range. Simmons was outstanding as well, scoring 16 points and dishing out 11 assists.

From that point on, the closest that the Huskies got to the Bobcats was when Laytwan Porter hit a 3-pointer with 7:18 left in the game to make it 64-51. Ohio eventually got its lead back up to 74-56 and cruised to the victory.

Buffalo 94 Miami 81

Buffalo’s matchup with Miami played out similarly to Ohio’s win over Northern Illinois. The Bulls led 37-31 at halftime but pulled away in the second half thanks to some hot shooting.

Early in the second half, Buffalo hit three straight 3-pointers to push its lead out to 46-34. The 12-point deficit was as close as Miami got for the remainder of the game, as the Redhawks struggled knocking down shots Thursday. Miami shot just 37.7 percent from the field against Buffalo.

Buffalo, on the other hand, had no difficulty lighting up the scoreboard, as the Bulls shot 50 percent from the field and 44 percent from 3-point range. Five players scored in double figures for the Bulls with Willie Conner leading the way with 25 points on 6-12 shooting.