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Akron vs. Toledo - Running game notes

By mrasor Published: January 30, 2008

Men's basketball

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    Jeremiah Wood and Cedrick Middleton are dressed but limping. Jimmy Conyers is in uniform, too. SID Gregg Bach called them each "game-time decisions."
    UT senior guard Kashif Payne left the team for personal reasons early in the season. My question is whether "betting on games" qualifies in that category. You never know with these ramblin', gamblin' Rockets.
    Two surprises in Akron's starting lineup. See if you can find them: Nick Dials, Darryl Roberts, Nate Linhart, Brett McKnight and Wood.
    Roberts has the assignment on Tyrone Kent. It's a size mismatch, but Kent is pretty quick and runs the point.
    McKnight picked up two quick fouls. His brother will replace him.
    This game is getting really ugly. Akron had three straight turnovers. Toledo responded with three run-outs of which they converted none. Besides that, though, the Rockets are hot, shooting 70 percent from the field and 4-of-4 from 3-point land.
    This is not the same team that blew out Miami just a few weeks ago. That loss at Kent State really rattled the Zips. They appear to be suffering from a severe confidence problem.
    Middleton's stroke lacks tempo. He needs to practice shooting while listening to some R&B or something. A better solution is to rest him the rest of this game and against Eastern Michigan.
    An illustration of Akron's confidence problem: Conyers had a wide-open 3-pointer. He short-armed it and was AT LEAST two feet short.
    Maybe it's all the competition for playing time catching up with Akron. If you anticipate getting yanked after a bad play or two (like Conyers appropriately was), you'll play with more anxiety.
    Akron is regaining some energy, but the sloppiness persists. The official scorer has Akron with only eight turnovers. I think Dials might have that many alone. It's not correct, for sure.
    You saw another half where Dials and Middleton did not score. They combined for 0-of-7 from the field. Without them, Akron would be at about 55 percent tonight, so the rest of the team isn't shooting poorly. Linhart leads both teams with 11 points.
    Brett McKnight was a nonfactor in his first career start. Quade Milum took his spot to open the second half.
    Akron blew consecutive layups. Both would've been sure bets if the Zips went glass.
    One player who missed a layup was Dials, who looks like he's in the 10th round of a boxing match. Dambrot needs to cut his minutes, badly. But then again, the same goes for Middleton, who finally made a shot.
    Toledo's Jonathan Amos is 1-for-10 from the field. That guy has more problems finishing than a drunk frat boy. What's that, you say? I crossed the line?
    Toledo is leading mainly because the Rockets are 7-for-13 on 3-pointers. I can't remember an opponent shooting that well from outside on Akron all season.
    I continue to muse over what makes Akron a different team today than it was a week ago. Maybe the team is hitting the wall. We have seen it happen to Miami and Ohio. It almost happened to Kent State, who trailed Buffalo at home. The Zips just need to close out this game, beat Eastern Michigan and hope their legs regain some spring.
    You might have just seen the game-turning play. Three Zips got floor burns on a steal. The ball found Roberts in the corner for 3. Dials drilled a 3 on the next possession after Bardo set a crack-back pick on a Toledo defender.
    Amos is up to 1-for-12. He just took a 3-pointer, maybe hoping a long shot would unjinx him on the bunnies. No dice. This guy can't make a sandwich, much less a contested jumper.
    Steve McNees and Roberts are quietly having good games. McNees has 14 points and four assists. Roberts has 10 points.
    The Zips are covering the spread. That should be significant to Toledo athletes.
    Akron has done a nice job on Kent, who is 1-of-7 from the field for three points. He led the MAC in scoring coming into the game.
    The Zips have drained 9-of-14 3-pointers in the second half. McNees was 4-of-5 on the night from 3.
    Final score -- Akron 68, Toledo 52

I will be on the radio tomorrow with Joe Dunn as part of a college recruiting show.
The program will start on 1350 AM at 8 p.m. with Ohio State coverage. Interviews with J.D. Brookhart and myself will probably start at 9.
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