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Akron @ UMass - Running game notes

By mrasor Published: March 22, 2008

Men's basketball

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    Around noon, log into the chat room at ZipsNation.org to discuss the game with fellow fans in real-time.
    The Minutement are 5.5-point favorites.
    The Boston Herald says Akron has a great inside-outside punch. The story features forward Tony Gaffney.
    Speaking of Gaffneys, the ABJ's Tom Gaffney talked to Keith Dambrot, who said Akron is looking forward to playing on ESPN. The real goal, however, is to make it the Madison Square Garden. In this game, the Zips will focus on limiting A-10 Player of the Year Gary Forbes.
    During a commercial break, check out this story, in which Domenik Hixon talks about his experience as a Super Bowl champion.
    I've been awful at predicting Akron games lately. I have a theory why. Anyhow, I think UMass has the tools to shut down Jeremiah Wood. Akron will have to shoot a high percentage from 3 to win. Prediction - Akron 68, UMass 75.
    ESPN analyst Hubert Davis gave both teams some credit during SportsCenter this morning, saying they're NCAA Tournament caliber teams.
    Where are the fans? It sounds like a girls' high school basketball game. Or worse, a Zips women's basketball game.
    Although I don't think Akron will win, I won't count the Zips out. Everytime I do, they win. There can be no doubt that this team plays its best when there is nothing to lose. Take the games at Miami, FSU, Dayton and Ohio, for example. They were expected to lose, so the team played freely.
    Anyhow, Akron games are difficult to predict because of their offensive style. Without a true point guard, they don't get as many easy hoops. It makes games determined on how the 3-pointers fall, or don't. How a team will shoot from night to night is as unpredictable as it gets.
    Steve McNees just threw the ball over Brett McKnight's head and out of bounds. He hasn't played with the same confidence since Jordan Mincy and Kent State spooked him at the M.A.C. Center.
    The Zips have six turnovers and we're not through 10 minutes of the game. If this continues, we're looking at a blowout.
    The announcers are much better today. Hubert Davis knew Akron lacks a true point guard because Dru Joyce left. The play-by-play guy's only fault has been mispronouncing Linhart as "Lin-ert."
    McNees is also having problems with Chris Lowe's dribble penetration. Dambrot needs to keep either Cedrick Middleton or Darryl Roberts on him, instead.
    Akron finished the half on a 15-7 run. Halftime score: Akron 31, UMass 34. Linhart has done a good job on Forbes, who has only four points. His only field goal was a deep 3 with a hand in his face.
    Akron took its first lead since the score was 2-1 with a 6-0 run to start the half.
    The Zips have controlled the tempo. UMass wants to run, but I think they've only gotten a couple transition hoops.
    Linhart picked up his third foul. That's not good.
    Wood drained a 3. He's having an outstanding game. A baby hook just capped a 7-0 run. As hot as Wood is, there is no excuse for a possession that doesn't run through him.
    Akron has cut down on turnovers. The Zips have nine, compared to UMass' 13. The Minutemen just got called for over-and-back.
    The Zips opened a nine-point lead after a Brett McKnight 3-pointer.
    ESPN just showed a picture of Dambrot in his Akron uniform bunting. It was quite amusing.
    The refs just whistled Milligan for his fourth foul. He is their best post player but will probably spend about six minutes on the bench.
    Ricky Harris has been UMass' only scoring option this half. He has 16 points, mostly on 3's.
    Middleton picked up his fourth foul. That's bad news for Akron's prospects of stopping Lowe.
    UMass has missed a load of open 3's. The Minutemen could easily be winning by five.
    UMass cut the lead to one. Dambrot had to expect that such a good team would make a run on their home court. The question is, can the Zips stay composed and work their offense?
    Dials made an awful pass while trying to feed Wood in the post. The turnover led to Lowe taking the lead with two free throws.
    On a scrum for the ball, Dials tripped a UMass player. The ref called an intentional foul, which is totally bogus.
    The Minutemen are on a 17-2 run.
    Going for a rebound, Wood fell backward onto Gaffney's knee. Gaffney looked like he was in serious agony.
    Brett McKnight canned a 3. It was Akron's first field goal in more than six minutes.
    Akron has to foul. The Zips need to clamp Milligan (53%) or Bonner (52%). UMass got the ball to Forbes, who is a 72 percent free throw shooter. He split the pair.
    Akron should toss the ball down low to Wood, even though the Zips need three to tie. They might get an and-one. Or Wood can kick it out for a 3. Even if he makes a layup, they can foul and try it again.
    Instead, all Akron could muster was a fade-away 3 from Wood, which came up short. The Zips played a fine game, but it would nice to get a better shot than that.
    That concludes the careers of Middleton, Wood, Dials, Milum and Goddard. They won a lot of games and were central to Dambrot's transformation of the program. Only two teams in the nation win their final game of the season. There's nothing to be ashamed of today.
    Final score -- Akron 63, UMass 68
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