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Live updates - Akron vs. Miami

By mrasor Published: February 23, 2011

Men's basketball

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Akron missed seven of its first eight shots, but then went on a 12-0 run spanning two halves. When I showed up, the Zips had their largest lead of 10.

One of the keys to the game so far (or so I was told by three people on my way in) is Nick Winbush's four fouls, and consequently, his two points.

I was at a city council meeting from 7 to 8 p.m. When we got out after only an hour, I thought, "Heck, why not bust it down Route 8 to do some writing?"

Brett McKnight swished a fall-away jumper with Julian Mavunga in his face. McKnight has 13 points and five rebounds.

They are throwing out red towels to the crowd as souvenirs. Why not just hand out Charlie Coles bobbleheads? Bad planning.

Tom Gaffney brought up a good point. Steve McNees seems to shoot more 3s from the strong side of the floor.

It's almost more fun to watch Coles on the sideline than the game. Miami's coach goes through a wide range of emotional reactions. In a given minute, he will be hysterically laughing and making the face of a man who just smelled burnt hair.

Cvetinovic has had one heckuva stretch of games. He should receive consideration for first-team All-MAC. When you need a bucket, he's been one of the best options in the conference. Rebounding, of course, has been his best contribution.

Mike Bardo (5 points), by himself, has outscored the combined point totals of Brett McClanahan (0 points), Zeke Marshall (0) and Quincy Diggs (0).

Marshall just blew an opportunity to even the Bardo-vs.-the field match. He had the ball with only three feet of empty space between him and the rim. Zeke was indecisive between a dunk and layin. It ended up being a layin with a dunk motion, and it missed. Keith Dambrot just smacked his own head in disbelief.

Diggs may have sealed the game with a steal and quick outlet pass to McNees, who converted a layup on the other end. Dambrot jumped and pumped his fist to let Diggs know he was pleased. Akron leads 65-52 with just over 2 minutes left.

Winbush just topped this awful game with a cherry -- an airball from the top of the key.

I am surprised that Akron was able to cover this spread. Eight points seemed steep. Glad I wasn't in Vegas for this one (like I will be for the Buffalo game).

McNees splashed a 3 in the last minute to conclude Akron's scoring. Then he committed his only turnover of the game. Did you know that McNees leads the MAC in assist-turnover ratio during conference play? It's true.

Final score - Akron 72, Miami 55

Final stats of note: Cvetinovic had 21 points and seven rebounds. Mavunga finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Akron shot 42.3 percent; Miami was 37.9 percent. Akron had 16 assists and eight turnovers; Miami had eight assists and 10 turnovers. Akron outrebounded Miami 38 to 26 and outscored the RedHawks 30 to 20 in the paint.

QUOTES

Keith Dambrot

"Get up YouTube tonight, and look at his postgame interview at Kentucky. It's the funniest interview you've ever seen in your life."

"We continue to fight adversity. They went from being a pathetic team compared to what we've had, to a pretty decent team. Good leadership. Those four seniors have really led the way with that."

"The game was slow early because both teams guarded well and missed shots."

"Mostly, we played man-to-man and straight zone. Normally, where we play zone, we count numbers and on the fourth pass, we go to man-to-man. The ability to play more than one defense has helped this team. It allows guys like Quincy Diggs and Alex to play more. It's kept Zeke out of foul trouble."

"We felt that Miami has had trouble against good zone teams. The first time, we couldn't play zone. He hadn't practiced it enough. We used zone to run them off the 3 line and it allowed us to get two guys on Mavunga."

"I thought Zeke played better. He's shown signs in practice of rebounding better. We've taken pressure off him. We told him to play the best defensively, try not to foul. Sometimes you got to let them grow at their own pace."

"Nikola's is one of the best players in the league. He has changed mentally. The guy's one of the most diversified players I've ever had. He's making the extra pass. He's like having a point-forward out there. Quincy can do the same thing. So you have four guys who can handle the ball out there."

"I think we're playing pretty good right now. I told our guys in the locker room that we've gone from the worst team we've ever had here to having the capability of being one of the best teams we've had. We just have to make sure when we go to Cleveland, that we play good games."

"The one thing that this season has taught me is that you have to stay humble. You have to enjoy every win. You have to keep coaching guys. You can't give up on them. A lot of guys are good coaches when things go well. I had to rally myself, because I was depressed."

"We've raised the bar here. When you raise the bar to a high level. Nobody can put more pressure on me than me. I'm not happy when we're 12-10. People have to realize that it's a game of players. You need to put your guys in position so they're successful."

Alex Abreu

"I guess my role is coming in and bringing a spare. Either offensively or defensively, get on the ball and pressure their guards."

On his important 3's: "They were in-rhythm 3s. You just got to knock them down."

"Our whole demeanor has changed. Practice, locker room, everything. Everybody's happy now. We don't want to go back to that losing. It feels horrible."

On setting freshman record for assists: "I didn't know until I was really close to it. I keep playing the game, keep playing hard. That's the results you get. I am very proud of it, and so is my family."

Nik Cvetinovic

"There's a lot more trust between the guys."

"Alex had a lot of hustle plays. We didn't have that at the beginning of the year. We are practicing much harder, with more intensity. Just the feeling of victory for those guys means a lot."

"Buffalo, coming in, that was one of the games that slipped out of our hands. Ohio, we owe them, big time. That's going to be a huge challenge. I think we're up to it."

"When (Marshall) plays well, we are really hard to beat. Last year, he peaked at this time of the year. Like a true lottery pick."

"When we get in the huddle, you look at the guys' eyes, and there's no doubt we will win the game."

"Julian (Mavunga) and I are great friends. He loves the challenge of playing against me, and I love the challenge of playing against him, too. Sometimes he likes to flop, but that's OK, I forgive him (laughs).

Charlie Coles

"The turning point in the game was when they began to mix up their defenses. They completely confused us, and that was my fault. I did not think they would go that long, and I think they found a good thing. At first, they started changing during possessions. I take full responsibility for that. As a coach, you got to get your team better prepared for that kind of stuff."

"That being said, they turned the tables on us rebounding. Cvetinovic, that kid has got a lot of spirit. Our kids haven't caught on to him. It's hard not to root for him. That damn guy's personality is off the charge. (Someone said, "he loves Julian") I would love Julian, too."

"I think we're seeing the real Akron team. Whatever was plaguing Akron early is not plaguing them now. They're playing with great interest and enthusiasm. We took our ball and went home with it. When it got tough, we took our ball and said 'We didn't know you guys was gonna fight us this hard. We'll see you later.'"

"We were in first place, I think, tonight. That's been our problem all year. We get in first place, and someone gets mad at us and beats the hell out of us. Know what I mean? I'm serious."

On Winbush's foul trouble: "I told them, you're not going to get any 3-pointers tonight, guys. Akron's not going to let us get any. Well, guess what. We took 23 3s. We hit five of them. You can't do that in a game like today. You've gotta find a way to mix it up. You look at their top guys. OK, McKnight had one 3. Between their top two scorers, they only had one 3. The rest of them, they were working us. When you play a game this time of the year, it's about who's the toughest team."

"I do think Akron's improved. They've done a good job like they always do. Right now, they may be playing the best basketball in the league. That's OK by me. We don't have to play them anymore. They're going to get a few more victories this season."

"We've never played a good offensive game up here. Never. Never. If you watched our first game, we were very good on offense against Akron. I think it has a heckuva lot to do with Akron. I don't think it has to do with the floor, or the ceiling."

"I wasn't proud of the way we finished the game today. They fought hard; they fought back. I was a little disappointed at the way we finished this game."

On his tough schedules: "It's helped us up to now. We're 9-4 in the league. We were 9-3. So we want to be where we're at now."

"It's going to end up tough. I don't think there's a clear-cut favorite. If you were picking a tournament winner at this juncture, I don't think you can pick one. I think it's going to be fun. For those who are strong and able, I think it's going to be a fun, fun, fun, fun season for the MAC."

"I always hear somebody saying, 'The MAC ain't what it used to be.' Well, it wasn't ever the Big 10. They say, 'We don't have any Ron Harpers.' I could take you back to a ten-year period without any Ron Harpers."

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