Bulls lock horns with Chippewas in MAC title

Mar 14, 2015 - 2:54 PM Cleveland, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - The top-seeded Central Michigan Chippewas will battle the second-seeded Buffalo Bulls Saturday in the championship of the Mid-American Conference Tournament at Quicken Loans Arena.

Both teams are trying to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, and while the Chippewas won both regular-season meetings, no team in the MAC is playing better than Buffalo at the moment.

The Bulls have reeled off seven straight victories, including a 68-59 win over Akron in the semifinals. Xavier Ford recorded a double-double of 17 points and 11 boards, Shannon Evans provided 14 points and Rodell Wigginton was a spark off the bench with 11 points and eight boards.

Buffalo converted 16-of-22 tries at the free-throw line in the second half, and finished with a 34-20 edge in points in the paint and a 12-0 advantage in fast break points.

Justin Moss, the MAC Player of the Year, was limited to five points but finished the regular season with a team-leading 18.4 ppg and 9.4 rpg, connecting on 52.8 percent of his shots from the floor. Evans (15.3 ppg) was the only other Buffalo player in double figures to end the season.

Buffalo, however, has never won a MAC tourney title and was twice a runner-up.

Central Michigan, which finished in the basement of the conference standings last year, advanced to the finals with a 75-66 win over fourth-seeded Toledo. Chris Fowler scored 26 points on 12-of-17 shooting and John Simons added 23 for the Chippewas, who opened the second half with a 13-3 run and held on down the stretch. Rayson chipped in with 14 points for the victors.

Toledo outrebounded the Chippewas, 38-27, but committed 12 turnovers to Central Michigan's five.

Fowler leads Central Michigan in scoring, netting 14.8 ppg on 50.5 percent shooting from the field. He's followed by Simons (11.6 ppg) and Rayson (10.1 ppg) on a team netting 78.5 ppg.

Central Michigan has not won this event since 2003.

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