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Akron vs. Bowling Green - Live Updates

By mrasor Published: January 22, 2011

Men's basketball

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This game was pushed back to a 7:45 start time because of a late finish to the women's game. The Lady Zips, by the way, are struggling a bit this season. They lost tonight to Eastern Michigan, which took their record to 8-10 and 1-5 in the MAC.

The men, too, are not playing well. As you probably read in Tom Gaffney's story, the Zippers haven't had a four-game losing streak since the Dan Hipsher days. It's time to fire Keith Dambrot, I say. (I bet a third of the Zips fanbase just nodded their heads to that ludicrous statement.)

Why don't we have a national championship banner inside Rhodes Arena? We pay tribute to a CBI berth. I realize the men's soccer team doesn't do much in this building, but why not remind fans who attend basketball games that we do one thing better than anyone in the nation?

BG's starters: Luke Kraus, Scott Thomas, Joe Jakubowski, A'ustin Calhoun and Torian Oglesby.

Akron's starters: Steve McNees, Brett McClanahan, Alex Abreu, Nik Cvetinovic and Zeke Marshall. We're going back to the prior lineup.

There is a pretty good crowd tonight. I can only spot a handful of people wearing orange, so it's doubtful that BG fans are the cause, despite their 3-1 conference record. The standings almost look inverted, with the Falcons on top and and Ohio and Akron bringing up the MAC East rears.

Kraus drained a deep 3, with a hand in his face, falling off balance -- giving Bowling Green its first points.

McNees meanwhile has six early points for the Zips. This guy has to get going. Period. Akron won't be good if McNees isn't a scoring threat. Despite the immense fan capital he accumulated in the MAC Tournament, my patience is even wearing thin.

The Zips, and particularly McNees, have made some nice interior passes so far. It's good to see creativity on offense.

Darryl Roberts is sporting a shaven head. You can imagine the conversation before the Miami game ... Roberts: "Man, I'm so sick of coming off the bench. I'd do anything just to start one game!" Dambrot: "Would you shave your head for it?"

Roberts had two quick turnovers upon checking in.

This has been an exciting up-and-down game.

Cameron Black, a Kent Roosevelt grad, just airballed a free throw. A burst of laughter bellowed from the crowd. He swished the next.

Tonight in the MAC: Buffalo won at Ohio. Western Michigan held off Northern Illinois at Kalamazoo. Ball State is down one at halftime at Toledo.

BG has applied the full-court press. It resulted in a turnover on the first possession. They only hung with it for two possessions.

Bowling Green has had some very positive news this season -- particularly off the court. Wealthy alumnus Bill Frack donated $10 million to the men's basketball program. Two million will go toward the new arena; the rest will create an endowment for "buy" games, recruiting, coaching, and the like. {Paging LeBron James. Paging LeBron James}

If it had to happen to another MAC East school, I'm happy it was BG. Louis Orr is a truly good guy. I don't think you'll find anyone who has something negative to say about him.

Thomas puts some serious arc on his shots. He has made consecutive jumpers.

Both teams have shot well from 3. Akron is 4-of-10. BG is 5-of-9.

Jakubowski played the first two minutes, committed two quick fouls, and hasn't been back on the floor since. It's almost the end of the half. Word is, fans and media are unimpressed by Jakubowski's effort this year. He was a player that Dambrot recruited hard.

Marshall sat down with only one foul at the 1:15 mark. It's wise for Dambrot to go into halftime knowing Marshall can be fairly aggressive in the second half.

Oglesby took a free throw that hit backboard, then front rim. It should be clear who to foul in pressure situations: Black and Oglesby.

Diggs converted a layup that left his hand simultaneously with the red light appearing, which signaled the end of the half. They reviewed the play and determined that the shot counts.

Halftime stats of note: Score -- Akron 34, Bowling Green 27. McClanahan and BG's Jordon Crawford each have eight points. Crawford and Oglesby have four rebounds to lead both teams. Thomas has four assists. Akron is shooting 46.4 percent, compared to BG at 41.7 percent. Bowling Green has 12 turnovers (Akron, 9). Team rebounds and assists are about the same.

Marshall had no points and no rebounds in the first half.

As the players entered the court for the second half, a line of youngsters gave them high fives. It was cute to see them all get so amped up to touch a college athlete. Even the referees got hand slaps as they passed through.

The Zips have missed their first five shots of the second half, allowing BG to close the gap to four.

The Falcons took their first lead at the 12 minute mark on a four-on-zero fast break. Thomas converted the uncontested dunk.

Coming out of a timeout, BG ran a beautiful play by which Oglesby came off a screen and caught a lob pass from Crawford, viciously slamming down the alley-oop.

The AK-Rowdies are waving a Serbian flag to celebrate a Cvetinovic fast-break dunk. Nice touch.

Is anyone else getting weary of Marshall's body language? When something doesn't go his way, we always see the arms flail and a stinkface. Either he truly lacks composure, or he's playing for the coaches -- trying to prove to them that he cares. I'm not sure which it is.

At 5:43 left in the game, we saw Marshall make his first field goal. The team has not made him much of a focus tonight.

McNees made a perfect lob entry pass to Marshall, which led to a dunk. The game is tied with 4:30 left.

They went back to Marshall on the next possession, with the same exact play. Thank heavens. It took 37 minutes for Akron to figure out their best path to points.

MAC update: Ball State beat Toledo 70-60.

That now makes five straight possessions of feeding Marshall in the post. The Zips' center missed the front end of the one-and-one. The game is tied with 2:49 left.

BG committed a shot-clock violation coming out of a timeout. That's a cardinal sin.

Roberts drilled a 3 from the corner. I don't think anyone in the building expected him to launch it, because he was pretty well-covered. Akron leads by three with 1:51 left. Very big shot.

Bowling Green had another awful possession that ended with a turnover. Crawford drained almost the entire shot clock by dribbling, then he threw an attempted entry pass beyond Calhoun's grasp. Akron's ball with 1:05 left. Zips lead by three.

McNees splashed a deep 3 coming out of the timeout, giving the crowd a jolt. BG gets the ball back, down six with 56 seconds left.

Thomas took an off-balanced 3 that went about halfway down, and rattled out. McNees grabbed the rebound, was fouled, and made one of two free throws to ice the game.

Strike that. Kraus hit a 3, so BG's hopes are still breathing. The Falcons trail by four with 32 seconds left; Akron ball.

Roberts was fouled immediately. He made two free throws.

Crawford took it down the floor and bricked a 3. Marshall went up high for the rebound. After being fouled, the seven-footer swung his elbow. Now that was the kind of 'bow the NCAA is looking to outlaw. Not that pansy call from last week.

A few minutes ago, we had no idea whom we wanted to speak with at the press conference. McNees and Roberts made critical shots, so that seals their fate.

McNees made a dumb foul, although it probably won't have any effect. He bit on Kraus' pumpfake and hacked him on a 3 attempt. The only people who are going to care are those with bets on the game. Akron was a 7.5-point favorite. The Zips' lead went from eight to five.

I'd really like to know how much "action" is on a game like this. Good thing McNees didn't pull that foul in the Las Vegas tournament.

McNees gave out a Ric Flair "woooooo" as the buzzer sounded. The Zips won a game they were supposed to win -- although it's likely a lot of people thought they would lose.

If Miami loses tomorrow at Kent State, then the Zips will only be one game behind in the MAC East, although they will be trailing four teams (KSU, Buffalo, Miami and BG). Ohio will stay in last place at a surprising 1-4.

Final Score - Akron 63, Bowling Green 58

Final stats of note: Roberts led both teams with 17 points. Thomas grabbed six boards. Crawford had seven assists. Both teams shot 44 percent from the field, around 35 percent on 3s and 70 percent from the line. The difference was Bowling Green committed 20 turnovers, compared to Akron's 16.

BG went about five minutes without a field goal, starting at the 6:05 mark.

Dambrot is now 14-4 against Bowling Green and 7-1 against Orr.

The Zips play next Wednesday at Northern Illinois before returning home for a Sunday 6 p.m. start against Central Michigan.


Louis Orr

"I was proud of our guys, when I say proud, I mean pleased. They fought back. We knew coming in here on the road, it's always going to be tough. We made the game hard for ourselves to a certain degree. Too many turnovers. We really didn't find a rhythm offensively. We fought back from a seven-point deficit. Then we had some untimely turnovers. They hit two big 3s. Roberts has hit some big 3s against us before and Steve McNees. Our guys showed a desire and determination to win."

"Our guys, they got a strong will. That's something that has grown over time. I thought the first half, just to get a rhythm, to get enough stops, it was just kind of a struggle for us. It was one of those games where we just had to grind it out. The second half, the first five minutes, we got stops, we got good offensive possessions. We turned the momentum around."

On the late cold spell: "It was more on us -- the decisions we made. Plays that we run all the time. Those are the empty possessions that make the difference in the game. We lost by five. Going all that time without scoring ... We have been able to close some games out late. It's a lesson we got to learn."

Scott Thomas

On the half-in, half-out 3 pointer: "I came off (the screen) and got separation. It just didn't go in."

"In the locker room (at halftime), we talked about buckling down on defense."

On the late cold spell: "We didn't make the plays coming down the stretch. We made them against Ohio and Miami."

Darryl Roberts

"We know if we want to have good successful plays on offense, we need to get it to Zeke."

On his clutch 3: "It was a set play. It was a screen-and-roll play. People were telling me I wasn't open. When I shot it, it looked good all the way."

"Our league is usually very competitive. It's hard to win on the road. We know if we stick to our basic routine, we will do well."

Steve McNees

On Dambrot sticking with McNees: "Coach does a good job making us feel comfortable out there."

On his clutch 3: "It was a double-ball screen. They stayed in the zone. I had a decent look. I was pretty confident I wanted to put it up."

On going to Marshall late in the game: "When we play our best, it's when we are playing inside-out. When times get hard, we can lean on that seven-foot frame."

"We lost three in a row. Me and Darryl are used to winning. Enough was enough. Coach does a lot of talkin'. Us players also. We had a few good days in practice."

Thomas "had a good game. He has been a good player for them the past two years. That's the best Bowling Green team I've played against in my five years. They play hard."

Keith Dambrot

"We did some statistical research and in games where we've allowed 70 or more, we've lost 40 times. We're 25-40 in games we've allowed 70 or more. In games we allow 70 or less, we win 80 percent of the time. We knew we had to stop giving up so many points. We knew it wasn't only related to defense, but also offense."

"We've had problems at the three-spot guarding. I decided to play bigger. Nik played great defensively. He played great on A'ustin Calhoun and he did great when we switched him to Thomas."

"I felt like a closer who blew about three saves. You lose a little confidence. You lose your edge. Not only players, but coaches. Any coach who says he doesn't have self-doubt is lying."

"McNees has had a rough year shooting the ball, but he's made as many big shots here as anyone we've had. You gotta ride your ponies. We did a good job of getting Darryl the ball at the end (for free throws)."

"We've been trying to play more zone in practice."

"We have to figure out ways to get Brett (McKnight) more minutes. I thought he had a rough offensive game tonight, but he's still such a threat that you have to guard him."

On his coaching performance: "I thought I was average. This was harder because it was all zone. In man-to-man, we have so many things to go to, it's easier."

On going to Marshall late in the game: "We threw over the top of them, and they collapsed in, and we got some looks."

"We have some deficiencies. We've had the best defensive player in the league at the three spot in the past. We had been really good rebounding the ball and defending in that spot."

"Tonight, Alex was terrible. If you noticed, he struggled against a zone."

"I think we can play with anybody in the league and we can lose to anybody in the league. If the big boy really decides to play, and we do a better job of getting him the ball, then that changes the dynamics a little bit."

"When we were 1-3 last time, we had two overtime games to get to 1-3. That was the year we went to the NCAA Tournament."

On whether BG can join the usual contenders of the MAC East: "I think everybody's the same right now. If you were going to tell me that Buffalo's going to beat Kent by 25, I would have laughed at you. If you told me Ohio would lose a 18-point lead at home.... That's the most athletic Bowling Green team I've seen."

"I think we played good defensively. I think we were a tad bit fresher when it mattered."

On whether he was afraid of going 1-4: "I'm 52 years old. I've been fired. I wouldn't have liked it. If I had two years left on my contract, I'd be afraid of it. You expect to win at a certain time. I had three years of high school where we never lost. Six years here, I've been spoiled. For our team to sit at 10-8, yeah, I don't like it. There has been a lot of good coaches who have been 1-4 in this league. Not afraid. Probably suicidal."

On what he would do with a $10 million donation: "I'd renovate the JAR. Bring the seats to one level. Get rid of the track. It's nothing that we can control. Our administration is working to get it better. Just because you have a great facility doesn't mean you're going to win. Eastern Michigan and Northern Illinois have great facilities. Kent and Akron have ugly facilities. It's about the people."

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