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Live Updates - Akron vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff

By mrasor Published: December 29, 2010

Men's basketball
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The Zips have returned from Vegas. The team got home on Christmas Eve. I'm still kicking myself for not using the tournament as an excuse to fly out there. I was so mad that I booked a trip for late February.
This is a rematch from last season when, if you remember, Humpty Hitchens nearly started a brawl, when he sprinted toward the Lions' bench after the game. He claimed afterward that he was only running over there to shake hands. It was a close game that the Zips won by three.
A-PB is 0-11, but the Lions have not played a single game at home yet. They have been outscored by an average of 24.4 points per game. They are getting killed on the boards, with a -10 average rebounding deficit.
Brian Walsh is no longer wearing the protective boot that was on his foot. The guard who transferred from Xavier is not eligible until next season.
APB is probably making a killing on all of these road games. It costs a home team anywhere between $50,000 and $150,000. Multiply that by 12 and you are easily funding your program. Plus, you can tell your recruits that they'll get a chance to travel the country the next four (or five) years and play in big-time gyms.
Akron's starters: Zeke Marshall, Alex Abreu, Nik Cvetinovic, Brett McClanahan and Steve McNees.
Abreu has led to Akron's first five points. He tipped the ball away, starting a break. Then he hit a 3.
There are a lot of LeBron James fans left in Akron. But even those folks can't deny that His Highness is showing a level of egotism rarely seen. This quote is from his Twitter this evening: "Faith in your own powers and confidence in your individual methods are essential to success"
Abreu drove into the lane and tossed the ball in the air. It took a split-second for Marshall to realize "heck, that's for me!" He grabbed on the fly and dunked it with both hands. It was a pretty play. If Abreu and Marshall can get on the same page more often, it will be a huge boost. Abreu can penetrate, but he's too short to finish in traffic. The pass, or threat of a pass, could open things up for him a little.
APB guard Savalace Townsend went to the free throw line and took a loooong time to shoot his first. The ref started to count the seconds. If he takes 10 seconds, it's a delay of game and the player loses the free throw opportunity. I really want to see that called tonight. More than anything.
After a made Quincy Diggs shot, Cvetinovic tossed the ball to the referee standing on the sideline near the ABP bench. The ref stopped play and reminded Cvetinovic of the age-old rule that you aren't supposed to touch the ball after a made shot. It's a delay-of-game warning in the NBA.
On the same play, two Zips got banged up. Abreu got tangled up while playing defense on the ball. He went down, winced, and slowly got up, holding his hip. Diggs went to the bench, shaking his right wrist, which has been in a brace for the past couple weeks.
Townsend went to the line again. The ref only made it to a seven-count before the Lions guard hoisted the free throw.
Attendance is only so-so tonight, but I'll contend it's better than prior years during winter break against a nonconference foe. Usually, these games are barren, but there are a lot of folks in the bleachers. Heck, even Rob Ianello is here.
With a Townsend 3, APB cut Akron's lead to two. It was 12 at one point. The Lions have made 5-of-11 3-point attempts and all six free throw shots. APB has had too many uncontested 3 attempts.
As soon as I type that, Akron went on an 9-0 run to reopen a 11-point lead.
Play of the game: McNees threw the ball ahead to Cvetinovic, who spun around, got one hand on the overthrown ball and whipped it to McClanahan in the corner. As you probably assumed, McClanahan made the 3. Akron's lead is now 15.
Akron capped a high-scoring half with a McClanahan jumper from the elbow.
Halftime stats: It's 50-36. Akron shot 47.5 percent from the half. APB wasn't far behind with 41.4 percent. Akron's offense was very efficient, with 13 assists and four turnovers. Townsend has 12 points and seven rebounds. McClanahan has 15 points.
Keith Dambrot just belted out the following comment to Abreu during a time of relative silence in Rhodes Arena: "How many dumb mistakes are you gonna make?!?"
After a brutal 0-11 start to last season, APB went 14-4 in the SWAC and won the conference tournament. The Lions won the play-in game against Winthrop before taking a 73-44 beatdown by Duke, the eventual national champion.
Cvetinovic caught an elbow to the head. The refs are reviewing the video to determine whether the APB player deserves further punishment. The verdict was "no." Here is how the Washington Post breaks down the NCAA's new rule on elbow throwing:

If a ballhandler is swinging his elbows as part of a full-body movement and at the same speed as the rest of his body at the time of contact, an intentional foul is to be assessed, giving the opponent two free throws and possession of the ball.
The act draws a flagrant foul when the elbow swinging is judged by the official to be "excessive," or, as Adams described it, "in a violent manner much faster than the rest of your body, and in general has some intent to it, to harm or to hurt or to injure another player." A flagrant foul leads to the offender being ejected from the game, in addition to the opposing squad being awarded two free throws and possession of the ball.

Akron opened its largest lead at 21. Brett McKnight hit a short turn-around to do it. He is being vocal in his protest of a "terrible call" by the refs on the other end.
The Zips are about a third of the way through the season. I would give the team a C+. Several players have exceeded expectations (McClanahan, Abreu, Diggs), but the team performance has not been too impressive. The Zips have mostly lost to the good teams and beaten the bad ones.
This year, every MAC team opens the season against its rival. Elton Alexander had a good point in saying that the students have not returned from break. Akron and Kent State play a week from Saturday for a 7 p.m. home game. Before that, the Zips host Oral Roberts Monday at 7.
APB is not playing with any urgency, despite being in a 22-point hole. The Lions are being deliberative in their offense.
Mike Bardo got a rise out of the crowd by elevating and swatting a shot at the rim. The AK-Rowdies are chanting "You got Bardo'ed." Funny.
McClanahan nicely fed Diggs for a fast-break alley-oop. This game has had its share of big plays. It's just not flowing fluidly.
With Akron up 25, Dakotah Euton entered the game. His first act was to launch a 3 from the top of the key that hit nothing but backboard.
You're not getting a lot of blog activity because I'm working to undo the harm done to my Outlook calendar by downloading the Zips schedule from Rather than giving me a specific time for each game, it just blocks off the whole day. Back in college, I could withstand the 10-hour basketball tailgating. No longer.
Five Zips are in double-figures, led by McClanahan with 17. Townsend has only scored two points in the second half. His 3s were keeping the Lions in the game in the first half.
Consecutive 3s by Darryl Roberts and Abreu extended the Zips' lead to 35. Time for Kyle Peterson to tear off the sweats.
Peterson dribbled out the clock, with Akron getting the 87-60 win.
Final - Akron 87, Arkansas-Pine Bluff 60
Final stats of note: McClanahan led scorers with 17. Marshall and Townsend had seven rebounds apiece. Five players dished four assists each, including Diggs and Cvetinovic. Akron shot 46.3 percent, compared to APB's 39.3 percent. The Zips had a 21:7 assist-to-turnover ratio. They also had 13 steals. Akron is now 8-5 while APB goes to 0-12.
Keith Dambrot
"That's important that these guys are protecting our country (on the trip to the Air Force base)."
"I was pleased. I thought we got better every day since we got back. Today, I thought we did some good things. We have enough depth that we can play as hard as we can defensively on every play. If we shoot the ball, we're pretty good. We have a lot of room to grow still. A lot of our younger guys and newer kids are getting better. And Brett's getting better. And Zeke's getting better."
"We've played a tough schedule. We've been all over the board."
"You look at (Brett). He's at least a second-team all-league player. He's gonna score. He knows how to play. He's strong as an ox. He's an easy guy to coach. His ball-handling and passing are not great yet because he's not in great shape. We have a terrific strength coach who has done a great job of getting him back quickly."
"I think we have a chance. I think we can be just like our other teams. We have some ingredients some of the other teams didn't have. The little guy (Abreu) has moments, and then there are times he'll do some of the dumbest things you'll ever see. Quincy has some good traits, too. He's long, he's quick, he's good with the ball, he's unselfish. He's been generally garbage against bad teams and good against high majors."
"Am I optimistic? Yeah, I'm optimistic. I like our guys."
On the tough schedule: "It helps when you go into the NCAA Tournament. The next time we play Gonzaga, we will know we can play with them. It removes doubt. You have belief that you can win. We are at the point in the program where we need to play those people."
"I'm just glad we played a decent home game. I was starting to get shook up. The last two years, we have lost nine at home. It was starting to bother me a little. They've worked very hard at (attendance). We've tried much harder this year than in the past. The soccer part helps some, too."
Brett McClanahan
"I've been shooting the ball a little better. [Dambrot] has been doing a lot of shooting during practice. He's been doing a lot of shooting drills."
"[Abreu] gets a lot of penetration. Steve can stroke it in. A lot of D's decision was to get Steve more shots and get more penetration."
"We went through a pretty tough road stretch. It does feel good to be home. Great crowd. They always support us well. We really enjoy playing for them."
"They have to dig down on Brett. He crabs down. And his jump hook, if it's going, is pretty unstoppable."
"I think (Steve) is a team player. If Alex is shooting it in, and he doesn't score. It doesn't matter to him."
"We got these two home games, and we open up against Kent. Then Ohio. We have two really tough games to open up the MAC season."


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