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Jeff Boals dropped by and immediately noticed I was reading
Kelo v. City of New London, the landmark eminent domain case. Smart guy, that Boals. He will get a head coaching job before I graduate law school. Count on it.
School is back in session, so I'm expecting a nice AK-Rowdy turnout. The Facebook group was bulging with positive RSVPs last I checked.
One of tonight's officials doubles as an NFL referee.
Gene Steratore actually was head referee during the Carolina/Arizona
upset on Saturday.
Humpty Hitchens made the Zips first field goal on a fade-away underhand finger roll.
Brett McKnight has a quick four on mid-range jumpshots. A lot of people state the cliche about mid-range jumpers being a lost art. It's true. Too many players are unsatisfied with a semi-contested 10-footer. They prefer the drive or the 3.
Andy Robinson is Buffalo's fourth-leading scorer. He was also voted the MAC's Most Resourceful Facebook User. The senior guard is notorious for
offering $40 for anyone to write his term paper. The obvious issue here is trustworthiness. A secondary issue is: Robinson is a cheapskate. If it was proper, I wouldn't do it for less than $50 a page.
You should read
Tom Gaffney'sfeature on
Jimmy Conyers. Gaffney covers all the troubles and triumphs of Conyers' brief career. For you ABJ haters, take a look at the physical copy of the paper. The story took up a large chunk of the sports front.
The referee Steratore is taking serious heat from the fans about what they perceived to be a double-dribble. He seems to be a good-natured guy, responding politely to fans and shaking hands with Hitchens.
Keith Dambrot is working hard to establish the post with Brett McKnight. The problem is that McKnight is receiving the ball too far from the hoop, and he doesn't have the footwork of
Jeremiah Wood, who could spin and weave through the lane with more ease.
Chris McKnight seems like more of a traditional post player. Brett should be used more in a face-up role.
On the digital press table, there is an advertisement from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Is our state really pissing away money that indiscriminately? I mean, what could the state agency possibly have to gain by having Zips fans see it on a digital scoreboard? Are we to respect the agency more? Are we to imply that the agency wants us to preserve natural resources?
With the up-and-down pace and lousy offensive schemes, this looks like a pickup game. They should start scoring by ones and twos. If these are two of the best teams in the MAC, then this is the biggest rebuilding year I have ever seen for the conference.
Calvin Betts and Conyers are battling. Hitchens and
Greg Gamble are jawing back and forth. Buffalo's scrappy defense is getting under Akron's skin a little.
Dambrot was shouting at referee
Lamont Simpson as the teams headed toward the locker room. Simpson teed him up. Simpson, you might remember, was a focal figure during the 2007 MAC Championship debacle. You can't tell me neither of those two remember. That technical foul, by the way, counts toward the team fouls in the second half.
My second-favorite halftime show is happening tonight. The Chapel's staff is taking on an assortment of Akron coaches and external relations folks. The Chapel usually mops up the university people. They did again tonight, 9-3.
Second-half stats of note: Buffalo leads the rebounding battle: 17 to 12. Hitchens leads both teams with nine points.
Betts just hammered Conyers from behind after an offensive rebound. It was one of those fouls where you don't really mind if you scramble the other guy's eggs. Betts is really asking for it. From what I hear, no one on the team messes with Conyers in practice. He is regarded as the toughest player on the team. Update: Conyers gave Betts a nice shove after a
Nate Linhart 3.
Jawaan Alston is on the floor for Buffalo. I am psyched up to see him shoot a foul shot. Anyone who can miss 13-of-14 sober free throws is worthy of my attention.
Tim Carroll entered the game. Dambrot is really showing desperation by subbing in a non-scholarship player who is coming off an injury.
Hitchens is slightly out of control, but it's working. He is carving a path through the lane and hoping for a foul against Buffalo's help defense. Problem is, Hitchens has missed three of his last four free throws. In fact, Akron is 5-for-13 as a team at the line. The Zips are (or maybe were) the MAC's best free-throw shooters.
If you drop by
ZipsNation.org , you'll see you have the option to present a question for Dambrot or
Jodi Kest on the next ZipsLive radio show.
The Bulls are a bad free-throw shooting team, but they're 16-of-19 tonight. Robinson just drilled two of them while listening to AK-Rowdy chants of "Forty dollars." I knew I could count on the Rowdies to exploit an embarrassing life event. After I wrote that, Akron drilled six consecutive free throws to dwindle Buffalo's lead despite not making a field goal for eight minutes.
Titus Robinson is going to be a good player. The freshman forward is very long and athletic. In addition, he can shoot and is not afraid to mix it up on the inside. Put 30 pounds on him and he's an All-MAC player.
I got my answer to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources question. The first part of the ad states: "Recycling... it's a slam dunk." The ad makes sense to me now, but it's still a waste of money. If I'm a non-recycler, a non-clever, brainless advertisement at a basketball game won't sway me one iota.
The referees have commandeered this game with an absurd amount of whistles. Linhart just shot the game's 51st and 52nd free throws. Maybe Dambrot's tantrum made a difference. The refs have been really quick to call the Bulls on ticky-tack hand-checks.
Rodney Pierce hit two free throws to tie the game with 1:28 left.
Darryl Roberts charged into Betts and the ref blew him for an offensive foul. Timeout Buffalo. Bulls' ball.
Betts cut backdoor and Pierce hit him with a bounce pass for an easy layup. It was Buffalo's first field goal in eight minutes, but it gives the Bulls a two-point lead with 30 seconds to go. Timeout Akron.
Brett McKnight took an eight-footer. The players piled up under the hoop in a scrum for the rebound.
Steve McNees grabbed the ball and, as he fell backward, and heaved a 10-footer that had no chance. Game over.
Key stats: Akron was 67 percent on free-throws. Buffalo was 82 percent. Buffalo had 32 rebounds. Akron had 23.
The Zips are a consistent team, but they are not a MAC Champion at this point -- even with the weakened conference. I can say that for sure. Every program has rebuilding years. People should stay patient because there will be bright moments this season. Undoubtedly, losing to Buffalo at home is a low point.
If you want good news,
Mack Rhoades was happy to tell me that the stadium is still on track. The workers, he said, are giving an outstanding amount of effort.
Next is Bowling Green on the road. I will break them down in the next few days.
Final score -- Akron 61, Buffalo 63