With only six games on the schedule and a busy weekend looming, it’s easy to forget about Friday night college basketball. Luckily, your good friends at Mid-Major Madness dot com have you covered.
Here’s what you missed from an entertaining Friday night in the mid-major world.
Detroit shows no Mercy
What do Babe Ruth and Detroit Mercy guard Chris Jenkins have in common? Both men (allegedly) called their shot and delivered.
Behind a 39-point, 11 rebound performance from Jaleel Hogan, the Titans took down the Grizzlies, 93-88. Detroit Mercy (3-15, 1-4) came into the game with a 1-14 record against Division I opponents, and were projected to lose by 20 per KenPom’s projections. It’s obviously a huge win for Bacari Alexander, and is exactly the kind of win a first-year head coach needs to build some momentum. As for Oakland (14-4, 4-1), the loss eliminates a lot of the praise they earned from their win over Valparaiso last week, and could come back to bite them.
Also: we mocked Jenkins in our Slack chat after his proclamation, but they walked the walk, so we have to give them props for backing it up.
Chippewas get in the win column
Central Michigan’s 0-3 start in the MAC left a lot to be desired, and the Chippewas entered Friday night as the only team in the conference without a league win. That changed in a fast-paced shootout with Toledo (9-8, 2-2), as Central Michigan (11-6, 1-3) prevailed 96-88.
Braylon Ronson and Marcus Keene did their thing as usual, scoring 28 and 20 points, respectively. David DiLeo chipped in with 17 points of his own off the bench to provide a third option for a team that was badly in need of another scoring punch.
For Toledo, Jonathan Williams poured in a season-high 30 points in the loss. Double-double machine Steve Taylor Jr. picked up his 13th of the season with a 20-point, 16-rebound showing.
Vermont continues to roll
The Catamounts once again proved why they’re the team to beat in the America East with a 81-72 win over UMBC (12-5, 3-1). Vermont improved to 4-0 in conference play, and haven’t lost since Christmas.
As it currently stands, KenPom projects them to win every game the rest of the way, and gives them a 5 percent chance of going undefeated in conference play. The Catamounts have been a staple near the top the America East in recent years, but haven’t made the NCAA Tournament since 2010. If they keep up this play, they’ll be dancing on Selection Sunday.
Ivy League picking up
The Ivy League is just now getting started with its league play, and two of the favorites picked up wins Friday night.
Princeton (9-6, 2-0) picked up its fifth straight win in a 97-66 rout against Brown (9-8, 0-1). Devin Cannady propelled the Tigers with a career-high 29 points, which was the eighth straight double-figure output for the sophomore.
Yale (9-5, 1-0) didn’t get by with the same ease. The Bulldogs traveled to Penn (6-7, 0-2) and escaped the Palestra with a 68-60 win over the Quakers. Miye Oni, one of the players to watch from our weekend preview, had 18 points and nine rebounds off the bench to lead the Bulldogs.
Manhattan’s strange box score
Manhattan (7-11, 2-5) rallied late to beat Rider (11-6, 4-2) Friday night, 76-73. It was a back-and-forth game all night, and neither team was able to build a lead larger than a few possessions. In the end, it was the Jaspers who prevailed thanks to the play of two guys: Zane Waterman and Zavier Turner. Take a look at the box score from the game.
The duo combined for 58 of the team’s 76 points, took over half of Manhattan’s shots, and took all but six of the team’s attempts from the free throw line. A “two-man game” usually applies to a single possession on offense, but on Friday it was basically a reality for the entire game.