UB 65, Eastern Michigan 47
How UB Won: Execution. Eastern Michigan's zone and slow-down offense tests a team's patience threshold. The Bulls took a punch in squandering a 10-point first-half lead but got down to business in the second half. Twenty assists on 22 baskets and a second-half shooting percentage of 66.7 shows how effective they were in solving the riddle. They also turned 11 EMU turnovers into 22 points.
Player of the Game: Jarod Oldham had three of his 10 assists in the first 5 minutes of the second half when UB went from up one to up nine. He turned it over just three times. He grabbed four rebounds. Point guard was UB's mystery position coming into the season. It's not a mystery anymore. The 6-3 sophomore from Decatur, Ill., is playing beyond his years.
Stat of the Game: EMU 7-footer Da'Shonte Riley blocked 7 shots. He's a transfer from Syracuse and only a sophomore. Akron's Zeke Marshall plays like the 7-footer that he is. Riley plays 7-3.
Play of the Game: Mitchell Watt's behind-the-back bounce pass that found Javon McCrea for a layup.
Pick Me Up: Zach Filzen loosened up the Eagles' zone by going 5 of 10 from 3. He made one bomb with the shot clock winding down that had guard Darrell Lampley shaking his head in disgust.
They Said It . . .
UB coach Reggie Witherspoon: "That was the biggest team we've played and the tempo of the game was a challenge to us that I think as the game went on we got better at handling. But initially the tempo of the game was difficult. There was no rhythm to it.'
Javon McCrea on going up against Riley: "I don't think it rattled me that much. I think I handled it well." (McCrea made 6 of 10 shots en route to a game-high 17 points).
Witherspoon on the challenges of playing the divisional crossovers: "Guys are a little less familiar with each other. The players are. When you're playing against a team twice a year by the time these guys are seniors . . . they know. When they only see each other once and maybe there are some personnel changes, they're not as familiar."
Filzen on the West: "We don't obviously play them as much. It's a little bit different but I think overall we're just trying to win every game. . . . They're all Division I basketball teams."
What It Means: UB opens its crossover schedule with a conquest of one of the West Division co-leaders. But so did East-leading Akron, a winner at Ball State. The Bulls have won three straight and are 11-6 overall, 4-2 in the MAC.
In the House: Just 2,154 turned out. On a campus with an enrollment of 25,000. The students must work up a healthy hate only for Akron.
Next Up: The second of six straight crossovers is Saturday afternoon at Northern Illinois.