Central Michigan beat Ohio in Athens, 70-64, on Wednesday, which sets up a battle for first place in the MAC East in Kent Saturday.
Ohio is now 9-4 in the MAC, 19-6 overall. Kent State is 8-5 and 14-11.
The Flashes have already beaten OU once this season. If they could win again Saturday, they’d be tied with the Bobcats and hold the tie breaker were the teams to finish with the same conference record.
That could mean a first-round bye in the MAC Tournament. Ohio currently is fourth in the conference, Kent State tied for fifth. The first four teams get a bye to the quarterfinal in Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The next four host first-round games.
Kent State was idle on Wednesday.
Cassie Breen had five three-point baskets and 26 points for Central. The Chippewas took the lead with a 22-11 second quarter and never trailed in the second half, though Ohio cut the lead to one several times in the fourth quarter.
Quiera Lampkins had 32 points and eight rebounds for Ohio. But the Bobcats shot only 30.3 percent from the floor and went 6 of 25 on three-pointers.
Central’s record is 11-2 in the MAC, 19-6 overall. Ohio is 18-6 overall.
Buffalo, which trails Kent State by a game in the standings, escaped an upset at last-place Eastern Michigan. Final score was Buffalo 56, EMU 52. Buffalo is 7-6 in the MAC and 17-7 overall. Eastern is 1-12 and 5-19.
There were two other near upsets.
Northern Illinois, which is tied for first in the West with Central Michigan, beat Miami 63-61 in Miami. NIU is 11-2 and 18-6, Miami 3-10, 7-17.
Miami’s loss means Kent State has clinched a first-round home game in the tournament.
Toledo, which is tied with Kent in the overall MAC standings at 8-5, came from behind in the fourth quarter to beat Akron in Akron, 61-57. Should Toledo and KSU be tied at the end of the season, the Flashes hold the tie breaker because of a 70-60 win in Kent in January.
Toledo is 16-7 overall. Akron is 2-11 and 7-15.
In the other game Wednesday, Western Michigan (6-7, 15-9) beat Bowling Green (2-11, 4-18) at Bowling Green.
Standings look like this:
East: Ohio (9-4), Kent State (8-5), Buffalo (7-6), Miami (3-10), Akron (2-11), Bowling Green (2-11).
West: Central Michigan (11-2), Northern Illinois (11-2), Ball State (10-3), Toledo (8-5), Western Michigan (6-7), Eastern Michigan (1-12).
MAC statistics (not counting Wednesday games)