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Sorry I'm late. My girlfriend made some delicious fish but it was ready a little late.
Chris McKnight scored the Zips' first seven points -- with relative ease, too.
Nick Goddard entered the game at 14:59 and launched his first 3 about eight seconds later. It was in and out. Goddard is playing because the Zips expected to see a lot of zone defense from NIU.
MAC action, Kent State leads at Central Michigan and Miami leads at Western Michigan.
NIU has eight turnovers, which is about one per minute.
The crowd is about what I expected. It must be the smallest of the MAC season, but consider the time, the weather, the opponent, Akron's lack of recent success and the fact the game is televised. In fact, why am I here?
I'm going to start a list of things Akron must accomplish before the MAC season... 1)
Cedrick Middleton has to find his jump shot. It used to be a weapon. 2) Beat a team with good perimeter defense on the road. (I'll add to the list as we go.)
Normally, I'm pretty fair about the referees. However, these guys are really calling a loose game. NIU is clawing and grabbing an awful lot without hearing many whistles.
All the fans in the upper levels were invited to move down to the lower bowl. How much you wanna bet that's because the game is on television. That doesn't mean I disagree with the decision.
The Zips are having trouble finding an identity on offense tonight.
If not for 10 turnovers, NIU would be giving the Zips a good beating. The Huskies are shooting 61 percent compared to Akron's 38 percent and outrebounding Akron 13 to 10.
Akron just scored twice off consecutive NIU turnovers, widening the gap from four to nine.
Michael Patton leads the Huskies with eight points. He is the son of NIU head coach
Ricardo Patton. The freshman guard has quite a jump shot.
NIU went on a 12-0 run to end the half.
The halftime show featured a scrimmage of administrators and pastors from The Chapel against coaches from various UA teams. Final score: Chapel 15, Akron 5. The Chapel sponsored the game and bought 500 tickets. As a regular attender of The Chapel, I question the wisdom in that, but oh well. I write about sports, not theology. Also, I suppose I'm not privy to the full extent of the deal. The Chapel's players certainly abided by the Golden Rule through their generosity with the ball.
Elton Alexander says NIU will redshirt Patton next season to make way for a junior college guard and to allow Patton to grow. Interesting strategy.
The Huskies are shooting 68 percent. Wow.
Fun fact of the night:
Mike Rasor was in karate class with
Nate Linhart's brother last spring. Our professor was
George Anderson -- the No. 1 Caucasian grandmaster in the world.
Akron has gone to a 2-3 zone to throw off the Huskies from the scent of the rim.
Darryl Roberts and
Brett McKnight have given Akron an offensive spark, scoring Akron's last six points on drives to the hoop.
Patton keeps drilling 3s. He has five on the night for 17 points. His career high is 20 against Western Michigan.
Elton was at Kent State for their game against Ball State. He said this is exactly how the Flashes looked in that game.
Quade Milum blocked a shot on defense, then got a tip in on the other end.
NIU has only three turnovers this half, compared to 14 the first half. The Huskies are still shooting 61 percent, and they're winning on the glass, 27-22.
After a timeout,
Nick Dials calmly drilled a 3. NIU got a layup, steal and another layup in return.
The fans behind me clamored for a continuation call (that clearly was not a continuation). The referee actually responded by saying, "This isn't the NBA." Ironically, Dials got a continuation for a three-point play on that possession.
This might be the biggest upset of the MAC season, especially considering Akron's home winning streak and NIU's winless season on the road. The Zips might go from fifth-longest home streak to 333rd. I still think the Zips will pull this out.
The refs just made a bogus call that negated a steal that would have led to an easy layup. In the end, the referees had nothing to do with NIU shooting 65 percent.
A few of my friends from school came out to the game. Their undergrad schools were Illinois, Seton Hall and Michigan. I don't think they'll be back to another Zips game anytime soon.
What an unexpected way to snap the 14-month winning streak. It's the first league loss at home since Kent State three years ago.
Final -- Akron 78, Northern Illinois 88