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2024 MAC Tournament Recap and Standouts Players





Game 1: Quarter finals -  #1 Toledo Rockets vs #8 Kent State Golden Flashes

 

The #1 Toledo Rockets came into this game with high expectations as they looked to make a deep MAC run. Early on it was a close game, but Kent State started to establish themselves early in the paint with VonCameron Davis. As the game continued in the second, Toledo’s junior guard Ra’Heim Moss and Dante Maddox Jr. both struggled from the field. Once Kent State went up by ten, they never lost the lead and completed the upset 67-59.

 

Standout Player: (Kent State) VonCameron Davis  26 PTS || 12 REB || 3 AST || 12-17 FG || 0-2 3PT || 2-3 FT ||

 

Game 2: Quarter finals - #5 Bowling Green Falcons vs #4 Central Michigan Chippewas

 

The #4 Bowling Green Falcons played a physical and close game against the Central Michigan Chippewas. The both teams traded baskets until late in the second half where Bowling Green was able to move out in front by team and never relinquished the lead from there. The Falcons were about to pull the minor upset and  advance in the tournament behind a 20 point night from #1 guard Trey Thomas who was able to hit four three pointers.

 

Standout Player: (Bowling Green) #1 Trey Thomas 20 PTS || 5 REB || 5-10 FG || 4-8 3PT || 6-6 FT

 

Game 3: Quarter finals -  #2 Akron Zips vs #7 Miami(OH) RedHawks

Result: W #2 Akron 75-63

 

The heavily favored Zips faced against the RedHawks who went up early in the first half behind a 3-3 start from three from senior center Anderson Mirambeaux. The RedHawks cooled off as Akron’s star forward Enrique Freeman found and early rhythm from the paint and shot over 80% for the game tallying 30 points total. Akron was able to advance behind a stellar night from their big man.

 

Standout Player: (Akron) #25 Enrique Freeman 30 PTS || 12 REB || 3 AST || 13-16 FG || 4-4 FT

 

Game 4: Quarter finals - #3 Ohio vs #6 Western Michigan

Result: W #3 Ohio 82-55

 

The Ohio Bobcats came in as clear favorites in this matchup and showed from the tip that they were the better basketball team. Western Michigan struggled greatly offensively to start which made it very difficult for them during their late game run. Shereef Mitch led the Bobcats in scoring with 15 points and an outstanding 6 steals. He along with defense star senior point guard Jaylin Hunter combined for 11 steals between the two of them. Hubbard tried to create offense for the Broncos late, but it was too late.

 

Standout Player: (Ohio) #4 Shereef Mitchell G 15 PTS || 4 AST || 6 STL || 7-12 FG || 1-3 3PT ||

 

Game 5: Semi finals - #8 Kent State vs #5 Bowling Green

Result: W #8 Kent State 73-60

 

Both teams had very skilled backcourts featuring Kent State’s Jalen Sullinger and Giovani Santiago and Bowling Green with one of the best scores in the country in Marcus Hill. These teams both looked to play fast paced and get up a lot of shots. Bowling Green’s Marcus Hill got started on a quick start but it was Kent’s guards combining for 12 three pointers on the game that lifted the Golden Flashes to the MAC Championship.

 

Standout Player: (Kent State) #13 Jalen Sullinger G 22 PTS || 7-15 FG || 5-7 3PT || 3-4 FT ||

 

Game 6: Semi finals - #3 Ohio vs #2 Akron

Result: W #2 Akron 65-62

 

In this big semi finals matchup, both teams featured big names. Ohio had star senior guard Jaylin Hunter and Akron had star forward Enrique Freeman. It was a low scoring first half where both teams struggled to find offense in a very physical game. Down the stretch of the second, Freeman found himself collecting rebounds and drawing fouls, converting 7-10 free throws. Sammy Hunter also came alive late in the second half with a handful of tough three pointers and Ohio struggled to stop Akron’s late run. On the final possession, Hunter drove the length of the floor quickly with just over five seconds left but missed the three pointer. Akron was able to hold on to their huge second half behind Freeman’s incredible 21 rebounds winning 65-62.

 

Standout Player: (Akron) #25 Enrique Freeman 24 PTS || 21 REB || 7 BLK || 8-14 FG || 1-1 3PT || 7-10 FT ||

  

MAC Championship: #2 Akron vs #8 Kent State

Result: W #2 Akron 62-61

 

Fans of the Mid-American Conference could not have asked for a better matchup for the championship game. Two highly competitive rivals faced off for the chance to punch their ticket to the big dance. Throughout the whole game, it was very close as it seemed when one team made a run, the other answered. Akron uncharacteristically committed 13 turnovers and struggled offensively. Inside of the last thirty seconds of this heated Northeast, Ohio rivalry, Kent State was down by two. Kent’s guard Jalin Sullinger attempted a contested midrange jumper that missed, but was rebounded and put back in with 4.8 sec to give the Golden Flashes a narrow 61-60 lead. The next play confused the whole gym as one of Kent State’s guards sprinted over on the inbound pass and fouled Akron when they were up! This sent Akron’s Enrique Freeman to the free throw line as he sank both shots regaining the one point lead. On the final possession, Jalin Sullinger went the length of the floor, attempted a contested midrange for the win resulting in a miss. Akron was able to hang on and win the 2024 MAC Tournament 62-61!

 

The Akron Zips booked their trip to the NCAA National Tournament and will play the #5 Creighton Bluejays in the first round!

 

Standout Player: Standout Player: (Akron) #25 Enrique Freeman 17 PTS || 9 REB || 4 BLK || 5-9 FG || 1-1 3PT || 6-10 FT ||

 

MAC All-Tournament Team:

●      Ali Ali - Akron

●      Enrique Freeman - Akron (MVP)

●      VonCameron Davis - Kent State

●      Jalen Sullinger - Kent State

●      Jaylin Hunter - Ohio


Written by: Nate Koesel

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