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The Q must not expect the monumental crowd that we do. Only a fourth of the curtains to the upper deck is open. The stadium isn't as full as I would expect 30 minutes before gametime.
Starting lineup for Kent:
Haminn Quaintance, Chris Singletary, Al Fisher, Jordan Mincy and
Mike Scott. For Akron:
Cedrick Middleton, Nick Dials, Jeremiah Wood, Chris McKnight and
As expected, a mix of strong cheers and boos followed Akron onto the court before warm-ups. Kent State's ovation was more boos than cheers. That's an early indication of how the fan support will fall.
If you're an out-of-towner, join
the chat room at ZipsNation.org to rant with fellow Akron fans.
Akron fans should be grateful to have their team reached consecutive championship games. Think about what that would mean to a middle-of-the-road team like Bowling Green or Central Michigan.
Former MAC commissioner
Fred Jacoby passed away today. He founded the men's and women's basketball tournaments in 1980 and 1982, respectively. He spurred the conference toward the best thing it has going. That's the reason we're all here tonight.
The lights went out for the starting lineup. It's too bad Rhodes Arena doesn't have this capability.
It's gametime. The lower bowl is pretty full. No one is upstairs.
Linhart hit back-to-back 3's.
Keith Dambrot also has him starting the offense. It's a neat wrinkle that should alleviate some of Kent State's ball pressure.
All of KSU's points have come in the paint, while Akron has relied on jump shots. We saw how that worked out for the Zips at the M.A.C. Center.
Jim Christian subbed in
Julian Sullinger, who quickly scored. Sullinger hasn't played much up to this point in the tournament.
Wood is getting a lot of easy baskets. Either Dambrot is finding new ways to get him the ball on the block, or the Flashes are losing him on their own. Wood has seven points.
The AK-Oldies got some face time on the jumbotron. They have a nice banner.
Fascinating stats: The lead has changed hands six times already. Akron has six assists on seven turnovers.
Quaintance picked up his second foul. Sullinger will take his place guarding Wood.
Kent State is on an 11-1 run. Akron called timeout.
Wood is 3-of-8 from the line. Make that 3-of-9. Now he has two fouls of his own.
Remember that 11-1 run? Now it's 16-1. Akron didn't score in the last eight minutes leading to halftime.
Middleton drove and scored, but his layup didn't leave his hand before the half ended.
This reminds me a lot of the game at Rhodes Arena. In that game, Akron trailed 32-15 at halftime. Also, in last year's semifinals, Kent led 33-19 at halftime.
At halftime, the U.S. Army inducted some new members. Kent State fans booed when the soldiers swore to obey the president's orders. Nice call, hippies. Anarchy rules!!!
Halftime stats of note: Akron is shooting 29 percent. KSU is shooting 51.9 percent. That's the difference in the game. It's not about outside shooting, though. KSU has 20 points in the paint, compared to Akron's eight. KSU is also outrebounding Akron, 20 to 13. The other stats are pretty similar.
This is the first time Middleton has been at the free-throw line at The Q since Penno's Prayer. Just thought I'd throw that in there. He split the pair.
Clock blunder part II:
Adam Ferrise and I flagged down the clock operator from across the court during a timeout. He forgot to stop the clock from ticking during KSU's dance routine. They fixed it.
Darryl Roberts got fouled on a shot. He made the first, missed the second, but got the rebound and made a layup while being fouled a second time. That's a big play. If he makes the free throw, the lead will be 11.
I'm struggling to fill out my All-Tournament Team ballot. So far, Fisher, Tim Pollitz and Wood have clinched spots. Depending on how the second half goes, I'll probably fill the last two spots with
David Kool/Joe Reitz and Quaintance/Mincy.
The Zips haven't had an assist in 16 minutes. They are 9-for-17 on free throws, too. Ugh. That's bad basketball.
Akron busted out its press. I was wondering when that would happen. It almost resulted in a traveling violation. The ball found
Rashad Woods, who hit a 3.
Dambrot also wisely stuck Linhart on Fisher. It led to a turnover.
The press was just a one-time venture, I guess.
Linhart has single-handedly brought the lead down to 10. He has two steals and just scored on a drive. It gave the Akron fans a reason to cheer.
Fans have some entertaining signs affixed to the luxury suites: "McNees, I'm lovin' it," "Cedrick the Entertainer," "Dials 11 for long distance," "Nothin' but Nate" and "Just Roo it."
The Zips turned the ball over in the backcourt. Then Roberts was called for a flagrant foul. That's a real momentum killer. Singletary cashed in on a three-point play. KSU got five points out of that turnover.
Linhart boxed out Singletary after the made free throw. Singletary was off balance so he fell on his back and hit his head on the hardwood. The refs were right not to call a foul.
Linhart is at the line now. Let's see what happens in terms of retribution. Nothing.
Here comes more full-court press from Akron. This was a little overdue.
Akron is shooting two from now on. That helps when you're losing big -- unless you're shooting 60 percent from the line.
Linhart prevented a dunk by stripping it out of
Isaac Knight's hands in mid-air.
Akron needs to get this lead down to 10 by the three minute mark to have a chance. Otherwise, KSU will run clock and it's over.
My All-Tournament Team: Fisher, Quaintance, Wood, Reitz and Linhart. There's a little homer-ism with the Linhart choice, but he's been good. I chose Reitz over Pollitz because Pollitz sort of choked down the stretch. The other choices are no-brainers. My Tournament MVP is Quaintance. He seemed to affect every play when he was on the floor.
Wood is now 5-of-14 on free throws.
The Zips are falling apart on offense. Kent is extending the lead. Congrats on the MAC Championship, KSU.
The Q's swat team is falling into place to prevent chaos folowing the game.
Looking back at the season, it's no wonder Akron fell into offensive ruts for long periods of time. They have offensive weapons, but they might as well be unloaded without a point guard to pull the trigger.
Mike Scott just crashed into a member of the media, whose chair tipped over. He landed on his back but seemed to be OK.
The next original chant from Kent State will be the first. How about this duplicative one: "We are ... Kent State." Penn State does the same thing.
The cops are keeping fans from charging the court.
Final score -- Akron 55, Kent State 74