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Akron vs. Urbana - Liveblog

By mrasor Published: November 25, 2008

Men's basketball

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    Scroll down to the next post for news about the soccer game.
    Here's a pretty wild story... My cohort Michael Beaven had his laptop and car keys stolen from the media room during last night's women's game at Rhodes Arena (I knew there was a reason I don't cover the Lady Zips.) Anyhow, the UAPD caught the guy trying to unlock car doors in an attempt to steal Beaven's car. I am so sick of the crime in this city. If Warner Mendenhall can do something about the riff-raff south of campus, he's got my vote for mayor. (Scratch that. I don't vote in Akron.)
    I talked to Jeff Boals before the game. Despite the fact that Urbana is not strong competition for Akron, the coaches still scouted the Blue Knights in advance. The staff watches for tendencies with the ball (does he shoot when he goes left? or does he drive?) and set plays.
    My goal for tonight would be to see Brett McKnight can go for 30. Just let him loose and run the offense through him for at least 15 plays. He showed against Pitt that he has talent to do it. The coaches should let him build off that confidence.
    Urbana fun facts: The school is located between Columbus and Dayton with enrollment of 2,500. Johnny Appleseed founded it in 1850. No joke.
    Kent State plays Buffalo on Friday in a meaningless football game. As the Record Courier's Dave Carducci points out, it could have been for the MAC East title if Kent hadn't muffed a punt against Akron and missed a chip-shot field goal against Ohio. Those are actually the words of coach Doug Martin, with whom accountability is a stranger. Missed kicks and muffed punts aren't flukes. They indicate a lack of discipline, focus and/or recruiting. And that, sir, reflects on the coaches, not fate. Luckily for Akron fans, Martin has support from athletic director Laing Kennedy. That all but assures a win in the rivalry's first game at InfoCision Stadium.
    Man, I've got to stop hating Kent State so much. It can't be healthy.
    With 10 minutes until gametime, attendance is sparse. There should be plenty of AK-Rowdies who planned to attend the soccer game.
    Starting lineup: Darryl Roberts, Chris McKnight, Brett McKnight, Humpty Hitchens and Nate Linhart. This lineup is a luxury of playing a team without much height.
    Cleveland State's indoor facility is another option for this game, according to a couple people I've talked to.
    A few of us on press row were counting Akron's scholarship players, and we could not figure out how the Zips had 14 of them, when the NCAA limit is 13. Turns out, Roberts is a walk-on. As you might remember, Roberts signed a National Letter of Intent, but he could not qualify. Akron pulled his scholarship, but Roberts still came. And now he's the starting shooting guard and third-leading scorer. In case you're wondering, Brett McKnight leads the team at 13.7 points per game.
    Urbana is as bad as I expected. I am going to play basketball at the Rec Center after the game. I have a feeling my team of law students would take the Blue Knights to the wire. Their biggest fault to this point is that they can't handle the ball.
    If you missed it, former Kent State player Eric Thomas was sentenced to eight years in prison for felonious assault and aggravated burglary. The prosecutor dropped the most serious charge -- rape -- in exchange for Thomas' plea. Thomas did a bad thing, but knowing the circumstances of how it occurred, you have to be feel bad for him.
    Tim Carroll dunked on a fast break. He got off the bench before Jimmy Conyers. The question: Will Conyers be here next season?
    Urbana has 13 turnovers and 13 field goal attempts through 13 minutes of the game. I really hope these guys meet us at the Rec later.
    Ronnie Steward has made two one-handed floaters. It looks like a move he feels comfortable with. Those were his first points at Rhodes Arena.
    The Blue Knights went on a 6-5 run. I'm being facetious.
    The Zips are trapping a lot, particularly in the sideline by my laptop. I fear my most prized possession is in jeopardy.
    Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Steve Swiech. Keith Dambrot would have made a huge statement by not playing him during this beatdown. He missed the front end of a one-and-one. I bet Elton Alexander a quarter that he would airball it. I lost.
    This just in: Akron will play Ohio State tomorrow at 2 p.m. at St. Vincent/St. Mary's athletic complex. It is a turf field, which affects the game significantly and is the reason Akron does not install field turf at Lee Jackson Field.
    Swiech got his first points on a put-back.
    At halftime, I spoke with ZipWatcher, a moderator on He reminded me that we were both on Conyers' bandwagon (and, in fact, he still is). Considering that, he suggested we both throw our support to Swiech. I think I will keep my kiss of death holstered. ( Matt Rodgers is dealing with it now.)
    At this point, it is more entertaining to watch Dambrot stomp his feet and attempt to excrete a hoarse shout.
    Tom Gaffney pointed out to me that Texas Tech's 167-115 trouncing of East Central was also part of this tournament, the Legends Classic. This tournament needs some more Division I teams if it is to recover some credibility. Also, there is no championship.
    Conyers hit a long baseline jumper. He was Akron's 12th player to score. Only Eric Coblentz has not scored.
    A referee blew his whistle after a Mike Bardo free throw. After some discussion, they called it a lane violation on Akron. Initially, it looked like they called a foul on Nik Cvetinovic. Elton Alexander shouted at the ref (during the game) and asked, "Was that a foul?" The ref said, "Should have been." It was pretty funny.
    Speaking of Alexander, he disputed Akron's MAC Champs 2007 banner that hangs in Rhodes Arena. The problem, of course, is that Akron didn't win the conference that year, regular season (Toledo) or tournament (Miami). Apparently, there is a little piece of curled cloth that reads "East" beneath the "2007." If you ask me, I agree with Elton. It's misleading. No big deal, I suppose.
    Urbana is on a 4-4 run. I realize that is not technically a run, but it's something.
    After a timeout, Akron trotted out four players. James Naismith invented a game called basketball to be played 5-on-5. The referees notified Dambrot and Coblentz entered the game.
    I don't think I like the most recent version of the Roo, aka Hoppy. The new "Fear the Roo" logo makes Hoppy look like a pedophile. I prefer the original version spawned by "The Nature Boy" Mike Waddell.
    The AK-Rowdies are chanting "Put in Cedrick (Middleton)" and "Put in ( Steve) French-y." Funny. Too bad French didn't hear it.
    Swiech just dunked from under the hoop. The crowd loved it. It gave Akron a 50-point lead.
    Swiech's hot streak ended when a defender fouled him on a hook shot, but the foul wasn't called. Swiech looks worse than he is, in my opinion, because he is such a spaz. Everything I've heard about his personality is positive, though.
    FINAL SCORE -- Akron 81, Urbana 37

    Dambrot quotes:
    "We shared the ball and played hard, but you can't tell anything from that game, really."
    "The only thing I know I will get consistently is Nate Linhart."
    "We've won a lot of games in this league by making shots, and we're not making anything."
    "We're going to try to get ( Brett) McClanahan ready to play and decide in a week. But he can shoot the crap out of the ball. He's the best jump shooter we have. We have to shoot the ball or we'll be mediocre."
    "Ronnie is doing a good job at not making mistakes. I equate it to Dru Joyce in that he's not doing a lot but he's not making mistakes. Humpty's going to get better. He has showed signs of making shots in practice."
    "I think the foreign kid is good when he's fresh and stinky when he's not fresh. He's going to be a good player in the league."
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