Akron lost 59-66 to Clemson in Puerto Rico today. In the end, Clemson was more athletic and more energetic in the San Juan Shootout championship game. The Zips outrebounded the Tigers, but Akron shot 32.8 percent. Clemson was known for its defense, and it showed in the second half when the Tigers kept Akron from scoring a field goal basically for the last 10 minutes of the game.
The bright spots from the eight-team tournament are plentiful:
- Freshman guard John Rybak and freshman forward Nate Linhart emerged into coach Keith Dambrot's rotation. In the post-game show, Dambrot said he was impressed with both. They will play solid minutes this season.
- The Zips proved they can play with big-conference teams on a neutral floor. The NCAA and NIT commissions will notice that.
- The Zips played three good games in a back-to-back-to-back scenario. NBA teams don't even do that. But the Zips are built to with Dambrot's 10- to 12-man rotation. That scheme also will pay off in the postseason.
- (Knock on wood.) Nick Dials' knee held up, and he has become one of the Zips' top offensive weapons.