MAC Tournament: Zips take the MAC, Buffalo wins big

Allen Hursh and Allen Hursh

Men’s Basketball

The Akron Zips (14-6 in the MAC) have won the Mid-American Conference tournament and will represent the conference in the NCAA’s March Madness tournament. The Zips defeated Kent State (16-4) to win the championship game by a large margin of 75-55. A well-deserving team to win, Akron had to beat the 5 seeded Buffalo, the top team in Toledo, and then Kent State, who was number 2 in the MAC and entered the tournament on fire.

Akron was led on offense by sophomore Enrique Freeman, who had 23 points. Three other Akron players were in double figures as well. Sophomore Ali Ali had 15 points, as did junior Xavier Castaneda. Freshman Garvin Clarke joined them with 11 points of his own. It was the defense, however that led Akron to the win by forcing 19 Kent State turnovers. Justyn Hamilton led Kent State with 19 points.

Freeman was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player for his contribution all tournament long. Joining him on the All-Tournament team were his teammates Ali Ali and Xavier Castaneda. The other two players on the team were Ohio’s (14-6) Mark Sears, and Kent State’s Sincere Carry.

This will be Akron’s fourth MAC championship crown that they have ever received and their first since the 2012-13 season. The Zips will play the UCLA Bruins on Thursday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Women’s Basketball

The Buffalo Bulls (16-4 in the MAC) have won the 2022 Women’s Mid-American Conference championship tournament. In the championship game, they held off Ball State (11-8) to win the game 79-75.

Buffalo was led on Offense by Dyaisha Fair and Georgia Woolley, who combined for 59 of the team’s 79 points. Fair dropped 30 points, with 6 assists and 3 steals in the game. She was named the tournament MVP, but also became the leading scorer in Buffalo Bulls history. She is the first player in program history to surpass 2,000 career points. Woolley had 29 points of her own in the game including clutch shooting and free throws at the end of the game to hold off Ball State for good.

Summer Hemphill and Adebola Adeyeye were crashing the glass for the Bulls, as Hemphill finished with 13 rebounds, while Adeyeye had 12. The Cardinals were led in scoring by Ally Becki and Thelma Dis Agustsdottir, who each had 20 points.

This is the Bulls’ third MAC title in six years, as the program continues to have a stranglehold on the rest of the conference in women’s basketball. They will face the 4th seeded Tennessee Vols in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.