Kent ousts Marshall; Ohio wins

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 14, 2003

CLEVELAND - As usual, Chris Kaman had his way on the floor. About the only thing he didn't get was his choice for a semifinal opponent.

The Mid-American Conference's MVP scored 25 points with 14 rebounds and six blocks Thursday night, leading top-seeded Central Michigan to a 87-70 win over Bowling Green in the MAC tournament quarterfinals.

P.J. Smith scored 33 points - 11 coming in a decisive second-half run - to lead Northern Illinois to a 75-63 quarterfinal win over Western Michigan.

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Smith, who came in averaging 14 points per game, had 15 at halftime and didn't slow down in the second half as the fourth-seeded Huskies (17-13) moved into the MAC semis for the first time since rejoining the MAC in 1997.

In Friday's first semifinal, No. 2 seed Kent State will face No. 11 seed Ohio University. The Golden Flashes, two-time defending tournament champions, routed No. 9 Marshall 79-57.

The Bobcats, the lowest seed ever to make the semifinals, defeated Miami of Ohio 65-55 in overtime.

Friday's winners will meet in Saturday's final with an NCAA bid on the line.

Kent State 79, Marshall 57

Antonio Gates scored 21 points and Eric Haut added 13 for the Golden Flashes.

Gates, the lone starter left from Kent State's 2002 NCAA tournament squad, and Haut fueled a 24-4 spurt for the two-time defending MAC tourney champions.

Gates got poked in the right eye late in the game and needed five stitches to close a cut in his eyelid.

The 6-foot-5 senior, who added seven rebounds and six assists, promised to be ready for the semis.

''He played like he has all year,'' said Kent first-year coach Jim Christian. ''He's a special player.''

Marvin Black and Ronald Blackshear scored 10 points apiece for Marshall (14-15), which went 8:01 without scoring a basket in the second half.

Ohio 65, Miami of Ohio 55, OT

Brandon Hunter scored 15 points, including two on a putback to force overtime, leading the Bobcats (14-15).

Thomas Stephens led No. 11 seed Ohio with 17 points and Hunter, the nation's leading rebounder, added 13 rebounds - none bigger than one in the final seconds of regulation that led to his game-tying shot with 5.2 seconds left.

Josh Hausfeld led Miami (13-15) with 15 points and Juby Johnson had 12.