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No, I'm not in Tallahassee. I'm in my living room. A lot of this blog entry will be reflecting on the season, especially if it looks like Akron is going to lose.
UMass beat Stephen F. Austin
80-60, so the Zips would travel to Amherst, Mass., if they win tonight. The Minutemen got a big game from role player
Dante Milligan, who had 24 points, nine rebounds and seven blocks.
I will be in
the chat room on ZipsNation.org. There should be a lot of activity in there tonight because it's an away game.
All those media clips said how the team cares about the NIT. Apparently its fans don't. The Donald L. Tucker Center looks about half-full.
The Zips are playing the passing lanes, getting defensive rebounds and scooping loose balls. It also helps that FSU is shooting poorly (1-for-11).
I wish it wasn't fashionable to tout Davidson. I have thought that team would go far all year. They're going to the Elite Eight in my bracket.
Akron started clanking 3's and let FSU back in the game. The Zips need to work the ball into Jeremiah Wood to get more consistent results and avoid the deep slumps.
Sure, Akron's 15-point lead disappeared, but the Zips gained confidence by weathering FSU's inevitable run.
Scratch what I said about Wood. He is having trouble against FSU's mixture of quickness and bulk. I recall ESPN's
Kyle Whelliston telling me he thought Wood could play for anyone in the country, however.
Mike Jarvis is on the announcing team. The way he calls Keith Dambrot "Akron's coach" makes me think he doesn't know Dambrot's name. For those of you who don't remember, Jarvis was formerly coach at St. John's and is currently an Uncle Phil look-alike.
Steve McNees is playing intense defense! (This game isn't in high-def, so maybe I was actually watching
Nate Linhart slouched over.)
Darryl Roberts has been key to keeping this game tight. He swirled home a double-clutch 3-pointer while trying to draw a foul.
Nick Dials, meanwhile, is flat broke. His stat line will make him vomit. In fairness, jump shooters suffer more than other players when they're tired.
Jarvis is being a borderline jerk. He's talking about the NBA jobs that he turned down, that were later offered to FSU coach
Dials hit Wood with a baseball throw outlet pass for an easy layup. Now if we can get him to stop shooting. Further proof that Dials is gassed: He just missed two free throws off the front rim. For goodness sake, rest him for a few minutes.
Dials must be reading this blog and the ZipsNation chat room. He just plugged one from NBA range. Nothing but net.
The Zips are playing defense like starving hobos with a sandwich on the line. It's making me squirm just watching them rotate across the floor and move their hands and feet.
Just a reminder: FSU is a terrific foul shooting team.
The ref just hit
Toney Douglas with a frog splash. You'll probably see the highlight on SportsCenter.
Coming off a timeout, FSU threw the ball away. Linhart drove the floor and was fouled on a dunk attempt. He made one, but the rebound went to Akron.
Jarvis said he doesn't think a team has ever come here and gotten the calls like Akron has. This guy is saying the refs are wrong on an out-of-bounds call when he's 40 feet away and the ref is right on top of the play.
Wood clanked the front end of a one-and-one with a chance to extend the lead to five, and maybe six. Nothing has really changed since the KSU game for him or Dials. Like I said, though, they must be entirely exhausted.
The Zips had a chance to make it a two-possession game, but Linhart traveled in the weave.
Ralph Mims took a 3 with 18 seconds left and bricked it. Linhart got the rebound. He short-armed the front end. Douglas drove the length of the floor and scored easily.
Akron has the ball under FSU's hoop with eight seconds left to take the lead. The Zips need to be careful not to turn the ball over under the Seminoles' hoop and lose in regulation.
Dials drove the length of the floor, spun and missed a bank shot. Douglas played tight defense.
If Akron loses, pin it squarely on the free throws. You can't repeatedly miss the front end of one-and-ones and hope to close out a game.
FSU is 1-3 in overtime. Akron's only overtime game came at Dayton.
Wood slammed another front end foul shot off the back of the rim. Unbelievable.
Dials threw another outstanding, unconventional outlet pass. McKnight caught it and was fouled. Brick. Brick. What's new?
Dials drilled consecutive 3's.
The shooting from 6-foot-9
Uche Echefu is keeping FSU in the game.
Dials canned another 3! This time, he was fading away with a hand in his face. That is your textbook heat check. Dials has 17 points. FSU fouled Linhart after a missed Seminoles shot. He split the pair, which actually improves Akron's frree throw percentage.
Jason Rich turned it over. Akron has the ball with a five-point lead and a minute left. If they make half their free throws, they should hold on.
I think Dambrot was making a statement by putting the ball in
Cedrick Middleton's hands on that possession, when a foul was imminent. He wants to restore Middleton's confidence, even if his career only lasts one more game. Making key foul shots in this game could help him forget about Penno's Prayer.
Roberts traveled. Akron needed points there. FSU got a quick bucket. The lead is down to three. You need only foul shooters and ball handlers on the floor.
FSU fouled Dials, who made both.
FSU scored after running about 13 seconds off the clock thanks to pesky perimeter defense from Wood.
FSU tried to trap Roberts without fouling him. Roberts found an outlet man, who passed it to Dials, who finished off the Seminoles with two MADE free throws.
Akron won its second postseason game ever. It was a real thriller. The Zips should be proud. Just think of what last year's team would have done in this tournament. Next up is UMass on Saturday at noon.
Final score -- Akron 65, FSU 60