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Before the game, the university will recognize Alex Abreu for setting the freshman assist record, Zeke Marshall for setting the sophomore blocks record and Brett McKnight for scoring his 1,000th point.
The microphone kept cutting out on the girl singing the national anthem. She held her poise nicely. Here is a video of the best recovery from a Star Spangled slip-up.
Akron's starters: Steve McNees, Brett McClanahan, Darryl Roberts, Nik Cvetinovic and Marshall.
The most intriguing Bluejays are Kaleb Korver, the brother of NBA player Kyle Korver, and Gregory Enchenique, a 6-foot-9 rec-spec wearing Venezuelan.
Enchenique versus Marshall will be a good battle. Within the first minute, the big Bluejay went up for a dunk, and Marshall got a piece of it. A few plays later, Marshall swished a turn-around jumper from 14 feet. That's a move he will need to perfect in order to get scouts' attention.
The players on both teams are absolutely gassed. The first whistle in the game didn't happen until the 12:04 mark. It has been an up-and-down game, and you can tell that both players were just begging for a timeout or even a foul to be called. Seven new players checked in after the timeout at 12:04.
Bo Boroski is officiating tonight, so you know something wild is bound to happen.
I was impressed with a certain play call from last night's VCU and Wichita State game. The Wheat Shockers had 0.8 seconds left, and had to go full court for a score to win. Rather than chuck up a shot from the opposite foul line, the inbounds-pass recipient caught the pass at halfcourt and simultaneously called timeout. That gave the Shockers 0.4 to shoot a more makeable attempt with an inbounds pass from halfcourt. The shot was on line, but just a little long.
Abreu executed a beautiful dribble-drive and created space for the layup by pump-faking a pass. You have to give him credit for two things so far this year: 1) Giving the Zips a dimension they have not enjoyed in the past with his penetration. 2) Breaking the freshman assist record, and doing so well before the postseason. He's going to be a very good player
More on Boroski ... Kent State fans were not pleased with his performance last night in Philadelphia, where the Flashes lost to Drexel. I feel for the guy, because he has a reputation and a memorable name. Coaches and fans will not give him the benefit of the doubt too often.
I have the pleasure tonight of sitting next to Joe Dunn and Steve French. I get to hear their commentary live and see the game from the front row. I can't think of a better seat in the arena.
There is a state of perpetual booing at Rhodes Arena. It seems like the refs are doing just enough to maintain that. It's not all Boroski.
McNees changed the boos the cheers by swishing a 3 in transition to tie the game with 2:16 left in the half. This is probably the most exciting game I've seen all year. Missouri Valley Conference fans are lucky, except during football season.
McKnight took a nasty dive to the floor. He was already sprawling for the basketball when a Bluejay put his weight on McKnight, quickening the Zip's descent to the hardwood. He got up, and after a timeout, McKnight stayed in the game.
Cvetinovic blocked a Creighton runner to end the half.
Halftime - Akron 32, Creighton 21
Halftime stats of note: Doug McDermott has 10 points for Creighton. McKnight has eight. McDermott and Echenique each have seven rebounds. Akron is shooting 41.9 percent from the field and 40 percent on 3s. The Bluejays are shooting 37.9 from the field and 50 percent on 3s. Creighton has 10 turnovers (Akron has six).
The athletic department honored its hall of fame inductees at halftime, including Christi Smith, Akron's national champion in the heptathlon (2000).
I realize a lot of readers of these liveblogs are actually present at Rhodes Arena during the games. I would suggest to them following the blog while at the arena, using a smartphone. My new iPhone has a very readable format for the blog.
Once again, Marshall didn't enter the game until a couple minutes passed in the second half. He was stretching off on the side. He picked up his third foul on an illegal screen, which will likely mean a quick return to the bench. Before Keith Dambrot could lasso Marshall back to the bench, the Zips' center was whistled for a loose-ball foul.
Brian Walsh is sporting a Nike "Witness" shirt on the bench. That's enough to get you beat up in Cleveland. Speaking of the King, tonight marks the eighth consecutive dunk contest he's dodged.
Marshall re-entered the game with 12:18 left. He has four fouls. I'm positive that the Bluejays will pitch the ball into Echenique at the first opportunity and every one thereafter.
Speaking of the dunk contest, I won't be staying for quotes. I'm going to try to get home to watch Blake Griffin make magic happen.
Marshall made his final exit from the game at the 8:57 mark. He made some silly fouls.
Mike Bardo completed a three-point play. The refs missed a traveling call on the score, but the more amazing thing is that Bardo sunk the free throw. He is now 4-of-13 this season. He received a big ovation upon checking out.
The Zips have done a good job with entry passes to McKnight tonight, both Abreu and McNees. McKnight has 16 with seven minutes to play.
McKnight drained a big 3, which extended Akron's lead to a game-high nine. Creighton quickly brought it back to five.
Fortunately for Akron, Creighton has not worked the ball inside to Echenique or Kenny Lawson in quite some time.
The women's team beat Ohio for the first time in 24 years today.
Akron has done a poor job tonight keeping Creighton from offensive rebounds, particularly after free throw misses.
Diggs made an important defensive play. He blocked a 3-point attempt.
The refs made a detrimental whistle for Akron. They called Cvetinovic for shoving a Creighton player out of bounds. After two free throws on the other end, you could argue it was a four-point whistle. I didn't see the push and neither did Dambrot, who was standing a few feet from the play.
McDermott put a bearhug on Cvetinovic after the Serbian pulled down a defensive rebound. McDermott was incredulous that the refs whistled what looked like an intentional foul. Two Cvetinovic free throws extended the Zips' lead to six with 1:36 left. Creighton called timeout.
Finally, the Bluejay coaching staff figured out what everyone else in the building knows ... The ball went into Echenique, who scored rather effortlessly over Bardo. If Akron wins, you can credit Creighton for failing to capitalize on a strength.
Of all the questionable calls tonight, Akron was the beneficiary of the absolute worst. McNees tried to throw a pass over the double-team, and the ball was tipped. Somehow, there was a foul on Creighton. Nobody on press row saw any contact whatsoever. McNees made both shots to give Akron a six-point lead with a minute left.
The Bluejays made two foul shots on the other side after what was a well-deserved make-up call.
Lawson committed a foul within seconds of Akron's inbounds pass. Cvetinovic made one of two.
McNees rose as high as he could to grab the game's biggest rebound off a bricked Creighton 3 attempt. He was fouled and made two free throws.
Diggs grabbed a rebound off another Creighton miss and took a Echenique forearm off his face. Diggs' two free throws sealed the game. Akron is up nine with 27 seconds left.
Final Score - Akron 76, Creighton 67
Final stats of note: McKnight scored a game-high 21. McDermott finished with 16 and 16. Akron shot 43.3 percent from the field. (Creighton, 38.3 percent). Both teams made 33.3 percent of 3-point attempts. The Zips made 21-of-24 free throw attempts and had a 13-to-8 assist-to-turnover ratio.
The next game is Wednesday against Miami. I won't be there because of a city council meeting.