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Attendance is barren. It's 7 p.m., and my estimate is no more than 300 fans. Not to take a cheap shot, but it looks like the crowd at women's games.
Rhodes Arena has a new video screen between the benches for advertisements. It sure beats the old spinning banner that never seemed to work right.
The new Nike uniforms have a classic look to them. The design is clean. The white home shorts have a multicolored striped down the side with an "A" at the bottom. I will tell you about the tops as soon as they take of their warm-ups.
Akron's starting lineup:
Chris McKnight and
The jersey tops look quite similar to last year but with different font.
Playing in tonight's game does not affect a player's ability to redshirt. That said, we probably will see the whole roster. If I was coach, I would try to get significant minutes out of
Nikola Cvetinovic and
Andrew Parrish to see what they have in a game situation.
Lamar Skeeter is doing whatever he wants on offense. He has 12 points and is the sole reason the Zips are only up 2.
Cvetinovic looked really raw and uncomfortable. One on play, he tried to take a charge, but it was called a block. The next possession he backed off and allowed a gimme lay-up. On offense, he air-balled a hook shot.
Linhart leads the Zips with eight points midway through the half.
This game is close for two reasons. First, Akron has been sloppy on offense. Second, Skeeter is having a career night.
Mike Bardo’s patented move in the post is an elbow jab. I guarantee MAC referees call that an offensive foul on the road.
Brett McClanahan got on the floor briefly and looked anxious and lost.
My stupid blog host has been down for the past 20 minutes. It's back up now. But I'm still pissed about it.
Here is the most alarming stat at halftime: Rebounds -- Akron 15, Walsh 22.
The freshmen point guards are making a lot of mistakes. Their defense isn't as good as I thought it would be, either. The only guys who look like Division I players are Chris McKnight and Linhart.
I would love to see
Keith Dambrot use
Ronnie Steward and
Humpty Hitchens like
Jim Christian used
Al Fisher and
Jordan Mincy on defense. In other words, as soon as the ballhandler crosses half court, smother him.
Darryl Roberts started the second half instead of McNees.
I don't recognize many of the girls on the dance team. They look like talented women, though. (This is just a test to see if my girlfriend reads this stuff.)
Steward completed a nice coast-to-coast drive on a fast break while being tightly guarded.
I am surprised not to see
Steve Swiech yet.
Andrew Parrish also has remained on the bench.
The Zips' rebounding has remained pitiful. Walsh is dominating the boards 33-23.
The rebounds are troubling, but the lack of defense is really surprising. Last year, the score was 79-55. The Zips are showing some effort on defense, but there are too many mental errors that lead to easy hoops for Walsh. I thought the defense would be ahead of the offense for the first few games. In reality, both units stink. The goal now should be to just win and avoid a total embarrassment.
Dambrot is using Chris McKnight similarly to how he used
Jeremiah Wood. McKnight easily could lead the team in scoring if he gets 10 or more touches in the low post a game, like Wood did.
Walsh just tied it up with 2:26 to play. Uh oh.
The Cavaliers took the lead. Linhart drove (with a nice screen from Bardo) to tie the game. Akron got a stop. The question is: If Akron cannot break the tie on its final possession, do the teams really bother with an overtime?
Brett McKnight backed down his man and dropped in the go-ahead hoop with 11 seconds left. He has nine points. That should tell you whom Dambrot trusts in the clutch.
Walsh inbounded the ball. The Zips swarmed the player, who tossed it across the court. The Walsh player hurled a desperation 3 that went half way down, then spun out.
The announced crowd is 1,106. Maybe 1,106 limbs, not people.
McNees led Akron with four assists. Chris McKnight led the team with 20 points and seven rebounds. Skeeter finished with 25 points. Walsh's 6-10 center
Kyelce Cescato had 11 rebounds.
Final score -- Akron 83, Walsh 81
Quotes from Dambrot:
"I'm earning my money this year, I guess. It was good for us. First off, I want to say Walsh played really well. They know how to play, and really should have won."
"The tenets of our program were violated today. We broke the process. We were worse than any team I've had here defensively. I take full responsibility for that."
"I've tried to get them ready (offensively). We have dropped the ball fundamentally defensively. We will fix that because I won't play anyone who won't guard. I will fix the problem."
"The only thing I thought was decent was that Ronnie and Humpty pressured the ball."
"They beat us off the dribble-drive. They beat us off the ball-screen."
"I guess I don't have to be embarrassed by losing. They just stretched us out and shot it in. We played pretty good in Cincinnati. Our schedule got a little out of whack because of my wife's mother dying. But I won't make excuses all year."
"Big Boy just beat his (Bardo's) brains in. Same with Chris. I liked him on offense, but he wasn't
Romeo Travis defensively. I thought they just out-hustled us."
"If you're helpless defensively, you're never safe. We made two turnovers in the last three minutes. You can't win like that."
"I can't play him (Brett McKnight) if he doesn't guard anybody."
"We've had our issues before. We went to UIC the year we won a bunch of games. We didn't guard. We didn't guard against Arkansas-Little Rock."
"I thought Ronnie played a little better than Humpty did. Humpty is struggling to make anything."
"We're not a very good basketball team right now."
"We don't have those kind of rebellious guys on our team (when I asked who doesn't want to guard)."
"We did so poorly defensively, we probably should have (played Parrish or Sweich). We went into this thinking we were going to redshirt Parrish. He blocks shots. Sweich is not too good on defense."
"I think you'll see more zone. It takes the mediocre shooter out of the game."
"We want to play Coblentz and McClanahan a little bit. They're shooters."
"It was absolutely disappointing. To be expecting one thing defensively -- the foundation for our succes here -- and then not meet any of our basic principles is inexcusable and frustrating."
Chris McKnight quotes:
"I know personally I have to do better. Knowing what we did in the past, as older guys, we have to make sure we can produce on both ends. It's going to take those young guys to accept what we're telling them."