Falcons hand Herd first setback, 85-64

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 3, 2000

The Associated Press

Until Sunday afternoon in Bowling Green, Marshall was the only school in the country that had not lost in football and men’s basketball.

Monday, January 03, 2000

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Until Sunday afternoon in Bowling Green, Marshall was the only school in the country that had not lost in football and men’s basketball. But the tandem of Dave Esterkamp and Keith McLeod made sure the Thundering Herd basketball team didn’t duplicate the football team’s perfect season.

With Esterkamp scoring 23 points and McLeod adding 21 – and getting together to score 15 of the points in a 19-0 first-half run – the Falcons handed Marshall an 85-64 loss.

”They gave us a pretty good shot today,” Marshall coach Greg White said. ”In this league, on the road, you just aren’t going to win them all.”

Elsewhere on a busy Sunday around the Mid-American Conference, Theron Smith scored 18 points as Ball State won a 75-67 decision at Northern Illinois; Toledo made its homecoming after an 11-game road trip a successful one with an 80-57 win over Central Michigan; Andy Hipsher came off the bench to score 21 points on near-perfect shooting as Akron beat Western Michigan 73-62; and Kent and Miami of Ohio went into overtime before the Golden Flashes won 61-57.

In an independent game, Buffalo lost its sixth in a row since the firing of head coach Tim Cohane, 72-57 at Fairleigh-Dickinson.

Len Matela added 16 points and 11 rebounds for Bowling Green (9-2, 1-0 MAC), while Anthony Stacey scored 13 points. Brandon Pardon came off the bench to total 11 assists.

”There wasn’t a guy who played poorly for us,” Falcons coach Dan Dakich said.

Tamar Slay scored 18 points and J.R. VanHoose 16 for Marshall (10-1, 2-1).

With Esterkamp and McLeod each scoring 16 points, Bowling Green took a 46-29 halftime lead while hitting 68 percent (19 of 28) of its shots from the field. Marshall never got closer than 10 points in the second half.

Trailing 19-18 after VanHoose’s two free throws with 10:25 left in the first half, the Falcons went on a tear an off the next 19 points – nine on three McLeod 3-pointers with Esterkamp adding six points.

”That is one of those times when you really don’t want halftime to come,” Dakich said. ”You want to keep playing.”

Ball State (7-5, 1-0) led 32-28 at the half, and shot 54 percent from the field in the second half to preserve its lead over Northern Illinois (7-5, 1-2). Sophomore Josh Murray, who in his last game had 19 points and 14 rebounds, continued to dominate the boards, grabbing 12 rebounds. Also in double digits for the Cardinals were Duane Clemens with 15 and Cedric Moodie with 13.

The Huskies were led by Leon Rodgers, who scored a career-high 26 points to go with 13 rebounds.

Justin Hall scored 20 points as Toledo played – and won – its first game at Savage Hall in more than six weeks.

”It was different,” Toledo coach Stan Joplin said. ”It’s great to play in front of your own fans. We want to get back to a normal routine.”

The Rockets (7-6, 1-1) had not played at home since opening the season Nov. 19 with an 82-74 victory over George Mason. They played their next 11 games on the road, including tournaments in Hawaii and Milwaukee, two games in Michigan and three at other Ohio colleges.

”We don’t ever want to do that again,” Joplin said. ”It’s not fair to the players.”

Robierre Cullars and Chad Kamstra each scored 13 points and Greg Stempin added 10 for Toledo, which played before only 4,001 fans in its 9,000-seat home arena.

David Webber was the only player in double figures for Central Michigan (3-8, 0-2) with 20 points.

The Rockets dominated the boards, 43-24, with Cullars leading the way with nine and Stempin and Hall each adding eight. Toledo scored 20 points off rebound follows.

The Rockets led 34-27 at halftime and broke the game open by shooting 57 percent from the field in the second half. They ended up hitting 53 percent (28 of 53).

In Akron’s win over Western, Hipsher, the son of Akron’s head coach, hit 8-of-9 shots from the field including his only 3-point attempt and made all four foul shots.

Ryan Andrick added 13 points and Jami Bosley 10 for the Zips (9-3), who are 3-0 in the MAC for the first time since joining the league in 1992-93.

Rod Brown scored 22 points, Jon Powell 19 and Brad Van Timmeren 12 for Western Michigan (4-7, 0-2), which was without leading scorer Tony Barksdale (20.2 ppg) for the second game in a row. Barksdale was suspended for an unspecified violation of team rules.

Despite his son’s heroics, coach Dan Hipsher said his team would be a lot better if some perimeter players found the range.

”It would all clean up a little bit if we started knocking down a couple of jumpers. That would open things up a bit,” he said. ”Everybody can pack us right now.”

John Whorton scored 20 points, including the basket that put Kent ahead for good against Miami of Ohio. The victory was the sixth straight for the Golden Flashes (9-1, 1-0).

Whorton scored with 3:01 remaining in the extra period to give Kent a 55-53 lead. Andrew Mitchell added two free throws with 2:10 to play to make it 57-53 and the RedHawks (4-5, 0-1) never got closer than two points after that.

Trevor Huffman added 11 points apiece for Kent, while Jason Stewart scored 17 and Anthony Taylor 12 for Miami, whose 17-game home winning streak was snapped. Kent was the last team to defeat the RedHawks at Millett Hall, winning 58-52 on Feb. 11, 1998.

Buffalo (2-9, 0-2) never got closer than 10 points in the second half against Fairleigh Dickinson.