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NCAA Third Round -- Akron defeats Indiana 2-1

By Michael Beaven Published: November 28, 2010

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Division I NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament Third Round at Lee R. Jackson Soccer Field
The University of Akron Zips defeated the Indiana University Hoosiers 2-1.
UA (20-1-1) is the No. 3 seed and IU (10-8-2) is the No. 14 seed.
0-0 at halftime
AKRON 1-0
Junior midfielder Michael Nanchoff scored a goal in the 53rd minute to give the Zips a 1-0 lead. Freshman forward Darren Mattocks recorded the assist.
AKRON 2-0
Mattocks extended the Zips lead to 2-0 with a goal in the 55th minute. Hoosiers sophomore goal keeper Luis Soffner made a mistake trying to pass the ball to a teammate and Mattocks intercepted the pass.
AKRON 2-1
Senior midfielder Andy Adlard scored a goal for IU to make the score 2-1 with eight minutes and five seconds remaining in the match. Freshman midfielder Nikita Kotlov notched the assist.
UA Starting Lineup
Goalkeeper: Sophomore David Meves.
Defenders: Senior Chris Korb, junior Kofi Sarkodie, sophomore Zarek Valentin and sophomore Chad Barson.
Midfielders: Senior Anthony Ampaipitakwong, junior Michael Nanchoff, sophomore Scott Caldwell and freshman Perry Kitchen.
Forwards: Junior Darlington Nagbe and freshman Darren Mattocks.
Zips sophomore Ben Speas, freshman Reinaldo Brenes and junior Michael Balogun entered the match as a reserve.

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Poll: Does the Buffalo win mean anything to you?

By mrasor Published: November 27, 2010

Football
[poll id="146"]

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Seniors lead Zips in breaking nation's longest losing streak

By mrasor Published: November 26, 2010

Football
Sixteen Zips played their last college game tonight. And they did their darndest to avoid leaving school with a 12-game losing streak.
Akron beat Buffalo, 22-14, in a frigid game attended by family, friends, people in luxury suites and the Inuit.
You could tell that the senior class forced this team to victory. Many seniors provided indispensable contributions: Alex Allen's 120 rushing yards, Jalil Carter's 109 receiving yards with a touchdown, Jeremy LaFrance's 65 receiving yards with a touchdown, Mike Thomas' 14 tackles, and Shawn Lemon's fumble recovery that ended the game.
As the buzzer sounded, Rob Ianello was drenched in Gatorade. Deserved? I say, yes. In a season where the program learned the hard truth about the talent level and suffered through 11-straight losses, Ianello kept the team as focused as any coach can be expected to. In late November, they played hard and won.
This win was as big as the three from last season combined. Akron probably won't compete for a MAC East title in 2011, but it's possible. Miami went from 1-11 in 2009 to MAC East Champs in 2010.
See what one win can do? I'm already talking Detroit. My point is, we need to end some of the negativity.
Akron fans have been too positional in the Ianello debate. They're either an "Ianello guy" or not an "Ianello guy." How about this: Put aside prejudices and just be a "Zips guy" for the next couple seasons. Barring a major scandal, I promise you the coach won't be fired before the end of 2012. So either choose to be miserable, or accept the set of facts before you and root for Ianello to succeed.
And no, I'm not an Ianello apologist. I have not been happy with multiple coaching decisions this year. The team was too conservative on offense; for many games, it looked like they were playing to minimize the severity of a loss, rather than to win. I can't really explain taking the redshirt off Dylan Potts, or the program not being as fan-friendly as in the past, or the need to smack-talk a player behind his back via text message.
But give the guy a fair chance. Give him the opportunity to correct the things that we perceive to be mistakes. And let's also be realistic that Ianello has not had a chance to show off his greatest strength: recruiting. (The 2010 signees were mostly J.D. Brookhart recruits.)
The bigger area of concern heading into 2011 must be the dreadful attendance. Between timeouts, I tried to count the audience myself. I would be stunned if you told me there were more than 3,000 spectators (announced attendance was 5,216).
In the next week, I will break down what we can expect to see heading into spring football.

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Akron vs. Buffalo - Preview

By mrasor Published: November 25, 2010

Football
Akron will play Buffalo tomorrow. The final chance to avoid a winless season is on the line.
Ironic, it's on Black Friday.
It will truly be a Black day if the Zips lose their twelfth consecutive game.
The last time Akron fans could be proud of their team was the fourth overtime on November 13, 2008. It was right before Dennis Kennedy and Chris Jacquemain botched a handoff on first down at Buffalo's 11-yard line. Buffalo recovered and kicked a field goal to win. The Zips lost the driver's seat for the MAC East and seemingly any semblance of competitiveness.
It was a turning point. In the past 24 months, we have seen multiple suspensions, five quarterbacks, 24 losses and very few moments to be happy with the decision to pay money to watch football at InfoCision Stadium.
Tomorrow's game against Buffalo could be another turning point -- a moment that we look back and say the team fought hard, bloodied, until the end of a demoralizing campaign.
It might seem meaningless, but look at the 2009 Cleveland Browns. They won four straight games to end the season. To most, it was a worthless venture that only served to cost the team draft position. The players did not see it that way; it was a rallying point.
Akron doesn't have four games to build momentum, only one. Maybe it's all they need.
Here is a Buffalo breakdown from my counterpart at UB. Tim Riordan of Bull Run says:

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Akron vs. Cleveland State - Live Updates

By mrasor Published: November 24, 2010

Men's basketball
Refresh your browser for minute-by-minute updates...
Akron leads the all-time series between the teams 34-29. This is a series that Keith Dambrot has addressed from time to time during press conferences. The implication has been that Gary Waters' team was dodging the Zips. In fact, after the last game, Dambrot said that Cleveland State must be pretty good because Waters finally agreed to play Akron. This offseason, the teams signed a four-year contract that begins tonight.
Cleveland State is 5-0 this season, having beaten most notably Kent State by three. Senior guard Norris Cole leads the Vikings with 21.6 points and 3.2 assists per game. Four of their five starters average at least five rebounds per game, which is really good. All five starters returned from last year, and four of them will return next season, too. For what it's worth (and "very little" is the proper answer this early in the season), the Vikings have never started a season with five straight wins.
With the game about to start, I'm a little surprised there aren't more fans here. I would surmise there are fewer people here than the previous two home games (Youngstown and Millikin). Then again, here are the home attendance totals for the CSU games played in Cleveland this year: 1,450, 1,561, 2,805, and 1,411. It's safe to say the CSU fanbase probably doesn't travel well, either.
I thought this game would be close to a sell-out, but now that I think of it, I haven't heard much buzz about it. I work in an office full of guys who went to Cleveland State for law school, and not one word of smack was spoken.
Akron's starters: Zeke Marshall, Darryl Roberts, Steve McNees, Nik Cvetinovic and Brett McClanahan.
Cvetinovic will be giving up size and strength to 6-foot-9, 265-pound center Aaron Pogue. Cvetinovic took him off the dribble and scored on a spin move to start the game.
Cole runs the point for CSU. He is one of three exceptional point guards in the Horizon League. The other two are Ray McCallum from Detroit and Shelvin Mack from Butler. Akron will visit McCallum and the Detroit Titans a week from today. The freshman spurned offers from Arizona, Florida, Oklahoma and UCLA to play for his father, the head coach.
Marshall has been dead-on with his jump hooks today. The kid is very confident with that shot. It almost looks robotic now. Aside from Marshall's scoring, Akron has sloppy with six turnovers in the first seven minutes of the game.
Alex Abreu made a boneheaded handoff pass that was tapped away. The ball then bounced off the referee, out of bounds. It would have been a breakaway layup for CSU if not for the ref.
Caleb Porter is personally buying 500 tickets to give away to students to "fill the hill" on Sunday, when the Zips play Indiana in the Sweet 16. He gave a speech on the jumbotron during a timeout and got probably a louder applause than any other Zip has tonight. I'm really hoping Porter continues making such an impact on campus, and also in the community. You can tell he's a natural leader, and if there's one thing I've learned in politics, it's that Ohio has a need for real leaders.
Quincy Diggs entered the game and quickly scored off the dribble while being fouled.
Marshall pinned a shot against the backboard -- with both hands. He could've blocked that with his chin if he so desired.
Pogue and Marshall are wrestling in the post as Marshall seeks to gain position. Pogue was called for two fouls on the same possession, but eventually tipped the ball away and caused another turnover.
The Zips aren't playing their normal offense. When they're going well, they're chucking 3s after a kick-out pass from the post. When they're going poorly, they're chucking 3s without the due diligence in the post. Tonight, Akron has only shot two 3-pointers, both from McNees.
Some AK-Rowdies are holding up a giant check (like the kind from Happy Gilmore). To: Tonight's referees. For: Bad officiation. From: Cleveland State. Let's see how long the athletic department lets that go.
Speaking of the Rowdies, they fooled another opponent with their phony shotclock countdown.
Cole is sporting the early-'90s Will Smith haircut. (See below)

Akron hasn't scored since the 5:29 mark in the first half. After two Cvetinovic free throws, they're only down five. That's something to be thankful for. The Zips have now racked up 11 turnovers.
Abreu is not doing a good job leading the offense. He has made a couple of bad plays in particular when he leaves his feet to pass.
CSU's backup center Joe Latas picked up his third foul with 25 seconds left in the half. Marshall is likely to lead the league in fouls drawn this year -- although I don't believe anyone actually tallies that statistic.
Halftime stats of note: Akron has 11 turnovers (CSU has 4). Trevon Harmon has nine points for CSU. McClanahan and Cole have five rebounds and three assists each. The Vikings are shooting 33.3 percent (Akron 50 percent). The Zips have blocked five shots (CSU zero).
The Akron drum band performed at halftime. I'll tell you what; it's entertaining. It's also louder than I've ever put my music up in my car.
Here is some Thanksgiving advice from TV's Stephen Colbert: If you're looking for a great stuffing for your turkey that is sure to please your guests, try cash.
We were talking about leadership earlier (or at least I was). There is another person in Ohio sports whom I would like to see run for office: Jim Tressel. He has a good deal of integrity, courage and intelligence. Then again, I used to tell people that I thought Tiger Woods could run for president and win.
Cole threw a quick elbow jab at McClanahan, who was up in his face guarding him on the perimeter. The ref called Cole for an offensive foul, and in demonstrating what Cole did, the ref nearly hit McClanahan a second time.
I hope I don't lose your readership with this next statement: I was a Kent State fan when Waters coached there. Yes, I was. Well, heck, campus was five minutes away from my house, and the Flashes went to the Elite Eight. I rooted for Kent and even wore Kent State gear to high school now and then. That was before I saw the light. ... But anyhow, it was devastating to see Waters go to Rutgers. I think it has made me more sensitive to the possibility that the Zips would lose Dambrot or Porter. I really pushed for the athletic department to extend the contracts of both Dambrot and J.D. Brookhart in 2006 because of that fear.
If you're still reading, thank you. If you never forgive me for that confession, I understand that too.
I think it would be hilarious for Brett McKnight to do the following: Start buying tickets to home games. Sit up near the rafters and half-way try to conceal his identity. Then one night, storm the court in street clothes, steal the ball during a play, knock down a jumper, then walk out to a chorus of boos. Sure, it's an old-school pro wrestling storyline, but maybe that's why it would be so awesome.
On a serious note regarding Brett ... It sounds like this is a decision by the athletic department. Never before has a player been suspended for breaking "university rules," and never before has Dambrot needed the university to help him decide a personnel matter. I applaud Dambrot for opting to put up a unified front publicly, but it doesn't add up.
Cole might be heating up. He's taking those long field goals that only the really good players shoot, and only to show off their range.
Latis returned to the game and quickly picked up his fourth foul.
Marshall just blew the easiest shot he'll ever see. He caught a rebound a foot from the rim. Rather than dropping it through the cylinder, he dropped it over the cylinder. CSU has opened up an eight-point lead based on the Zips' inability to score. They have only 11 points in the 12 minutes that have expired in the second half.
Latis just fouled out with 7:45 left. He had only twice as many minutes (11) as fouls (5).
Harmon has found a floorboard that is giving him good luck. He has drilled three 3-pointers from the same spot. CSU leads by 12 with 4:49 left. Akron has not yet shown a pulse on offense. It's Cvetinovic driving, an occasional Marshall hook shot, or a turnover. Harmon, by the way, plays most of the game with his mouthpiece hanging out of his gums. Odd habit.
McClanahan hit a 12-footer from the baseline that appeared to travel over the corner of the backboard.
Reasons Akron is losing: 2-for-11 on 3-point attempts. 34 to 29 rebounding deficit. Harmon is 4-of-7 on 3s.
A Vikings player chucked the ball at referee Bo Boroski, who was not looking. It hit him in the head with some velocity. Boroski was not pleased, but he wasn't sure if the intent was to blast him with the ball. Boroski somehow finds himself in controversy more than most refs.
With a Roberts jumper, quick turnover and McNees 3, Akron cut CSU's lead to six. The Zips have the ball with 1:32 left.
Marshall airballed a jump hook. After a scrum for the ball, Cole came away with it for a breakaway dunk. Marshall was just close enough to foul him, which tacked on another point. With Akron down nine and one minute left, it's basically over.
Roberts dribbled around for 10 seconds, drove, and heaved up a turn-around shot from the foul line. It hit backboard, rim and wound up in McClanahan's hands. Unfortunately, he fouled to get that position. Cole made a couple more free throws to extend CSU's lead.
CSU plays some great defense, but Akron hardly put up a fight. And the defense was only marginal.
Final score -- Akron 51, Cleveland State 64
Final stats of note: Both teams shot poorly: 36 and 37.7 percent. Akron was 3-of-16 on 3-point attempts (CSU 6-of-20). CSU outrebounded Akron 39 to 31. Cole finished with 19. Harmon had 18. Marshall led Akron with 14. McClanahan and Cole tied for the game high with seven rebounds apiece. Cole also had seven assists. The Zips had 16 turnovers (CSU 12).
I have an event to go to tonight, so I won't be writing down press conference quotes. Sorry.
The Zips don't come back home until December 18. They play at Detroit on Wednesday.
I will be previewing the Akron-Buffalo pillow fight sometime in the next 24 hours.

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Caleb Porter wants to "Fill the Hill"

By Michael Beaven Published: November 24, 2010

University of Akron men's soccer coach Caleb Porter put together a video message for Zips fans that is on the UA athletic website, www.gozips.com.
UA (19-1-1) hosts Indiana (10-7-2) in an NCAA Tournament third round game at Lee R. Jackson Soccer Field.
Here is the video, courtesy of the Zips Athletics Department:

"This Sunday we face the Indiana Hoosiers at 4 o’clock," Porter says in the video. "We hope that all of you who have been so supportive to our program will come out to this game and step up even more. We need your help. Our mission is to "Fill the Hill." I have personally decided to buy 500 tickets that I will be giving out to students on campus. I’m willing to do whatever it takes so that our program will win a national championship. I hope that all of you will help and do your part as well. As I have always said we will do our part on the field, you do your part off the field, and together we will be champions."
The Zips drew two crowds of over 4,000 fans earlier this season with wins over Cal State Northridge and Tulsa. A record 4,744 attended the Tulsa match.
UA has had four crowds of over 3,000 fans, in victories over Florida Atlantic, Michigan, Western Michigan and Creighton. The two smallest regular season home crowds came during wins over Buffalo and Cincinnati.
The three most recent home matches, wins over Buffalo, Western Michigan and West Virginia, have drawn 2,825 or less fans.

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NCAA Tournament -- Akron defeats West Virginia 3-2

By Michael Beaven Published: November 21, 2010

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Division I NCAA Men's Soccer Tournament Second Round at Lee R. Jackson Soccer Field
UA wins 3-2.
The University of Akron Zips (19-1-1) vs. the West Virginia University Mountaineers (11-8-2).
AKRON 1-0
Freshman forward Darren Mattocks scored a goal to give the Zips a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute from a couple yards out. The goal came following a corner kick by senior midfielder Anthony Ampaipitakwong.
Mattocks' initial shot was saved by Mountaineers sophomore midfielder Uwem Etuk. Mattocks then gathered the ball after the deflection and put it into the net past senior goalkeeper Zach Johnson.
AKRON 2-0
Mattocks scored his second goal of the match in the 31st minute with a shot in front of the goalie box. Johnson got a hand on the ball, but it trickled past him and into the net. Junior defender Kofi Sarkodie notched the assist.
AKRON leads 2-0 at halftime
Mattocks nearly made it 3-0 in the second half with a shot on goal that sophomore Eric Schoenle deflected away.
AKRON 3-0
Sophomore midfielder Scott Caldwell netted a goal in the 69th minute to lift the Zips to a 3-0 advantage. Ampaipitakwong and junior forward Darlington Nagbe were both credited with an assist.
AKRON 3-1
Sophomore midfielder Abel "Shadow" Sebele cut the Mountaineers deficit to 3-1 with 9:06 remaining in the match. Freshman Jay Williams and senior Daniel Hagey each received an assist.
AKRON 3-2
Junior defender Uzi Tayou netted a goal with 4:57 to go in the match. Sebele earned the assist.
UA Starting Lineup
Goalkeeper: Sophomore David Meves.
Defenders: Senior Chris Korb, junior Kofi Sarkodie, sophomore Zarek Valentin and sophomore Chad Barson.
Midfielders: Senior Anthony Ampaipitakwong, junior Michael Nanchoff, sophomore Scott Caldwell and freshman Perry Kitchen.
Forwards: Junior Darlington Nagbe and freshman Darren Mattocks.
Freshman Reinaldo Brenes and sophomore Ben Speas each contributed in reserve roles.

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UA coach Caleb Porter talks Zips men's soccer

By Michael Beaven Published: November 21, 2010

Akron vs. Youngstown State - Live Updates

By mrasor Published: November 20, 2010

Men's basketball
Keep updating your page for minute-by-minute updates during the game...
Here is today's surprise in the Brett McKnight saga: He's off the roster. They even deleted his stats on the front page of tonight's media packet. McKnight traveled with the team to Dayton, but did not dress. I didn't see him come out with the team tonight. Certainly, we will ask Keith Dambrot about this after the game.
Brian Walsh is wearing a medical boot on his left foot. He is sitting out this year per NCAA rules after transferring from Xavier. Normally, it wouldn't matter much, but the Zips are grooming Walsh to play some point guard next season, when he will be a sophomore.
Akron's starters: Zeke Marshall, Nik Cvetinovic, Brett McClanahan, Darryl Roberts and Steve McNees.
Youngstown State has played twice this season, beating Samford by 3 and Buffalo by 11, both at home.
Even though Akron is expected to win tonight (line: Zips minus 12), you can tell the level of competition has picked up quite a bit from the prior two games against non-Dvision I teams.
Marshall and Cvetinovic have each hoisted shots well outside their respective ranges. It's a good rule of thumb to say don't shoot if they don't rush out to guard you.
Akron is about to substitute out almost its entire starting lineup. One of the players coming in is Dakotah Euton. Dambrot told us last week that Euton would redshirt. Apparently that changed with the McKnight possible dismissal. Roberts was the only starter to stay on the floor.
If McKnight is gone, Akron's depth won't suffer. The Zips have a lot of bodies who can play small forward. It will mean more minutes for Euton, McClanahan, Quincy Diggs and Josh Egner. But Akron does lose a big scorer.
Almost midway through the first half, only three Zips have scored: Cvetinovic (6), McClanahan (6) and Roberts (3).
McClanahan is becoming a "player." By that I don't mean his girfriend, if any, should be worried. I mean he's becoming a guy who other teams will need to gameplan for. And he's someone that Akron would miss. His defense has improved. His rebounding numbers are great (5.0 per game). You can tell he's becoming a leader, too.
I have been impressed tonight with Akron's interior passing. Cvetinovic has made a few good dishes to Marshall. The most recent resulted in a Marshall thunder-dunk. McNees tossed up an alley-oop to Marshall off the dribble. For being such a jovial, innocent kid, Marshall lashes out aggressively on dunks and when he's looking to swat a shot.
With that said, Youngstown State has done a good job pushing Marshall around. The referees have complied with this plan by not calling any loose ball fouls on rebounds.
Speaking of "players," I really like Egner. He's confident, mature, intelligent and as athletic as anyone in the conference. Dambrot was being cautious in the press conference last week when he said, "It's good for us, because I get to see guys like (Egner) who I normally don't see." In my humble opinion, you will see more Josh Egner than you ever expected come this spring. If he can develop a jump shooting range out to 15 feet, watch out.
Diggs just wound up on the wrong end of a Kendrick Perry poster. It was a fast break and Diggs trailed the play, looking for the LeBron-esque chase-down swat. Perry exploded and threw down with both hands.
The Zips are playing a sloppy game. They have nine turnovers. It's not the same offense I saw on Tuesday at Dayton, when the Zips were running an effective inside-then-outside game. The ball went into Marshall, then was kicked out for a clear 3 attempt. Akron hasn't found that rhythm yet.
Jimmy Conyers is sitting courtside. The Erie BayHawks drafted him into the NBA's Developmental League eight days before cutting him. Ironically, his predecessor as Akron's small forward is still on the team. Nate Linhart has played in one game for Erie and scored 11 points.
Notable halftime stats: Akron 34, YSU 34. YSU is shooting 33 percent; Akron is 48 percent. The Zips have 10 turnovers; YSU has five. McClanahan has game-highs with 11 points, three turnovers and four rebounds. Perry, a 6-foot YSU guard, has four assists.
It was a "blah" first half for Akron. YSU should feel very fortunate to be tied, despite making only 3-of-15 on 3-point attempts.
Kent State's football team lost 38-3 today at Western Michigan. This is significant because the Flashes lost their seventh game and thus will not be bowl-eligible. Dave Carducci of the Record Courier said before the game that it's "unlikely" coach Doug Martin would be back for his eighth season if the Flashes don't go .500 (and today's loss clinches that they won't).
The official word is that McKnight is suspended indefinitely for violation of "university policy." This is different than previous Dambrot suspensions for violations of "team rules." That tells me that it's not entirely an internal decision from the coaching staff.
YSU has gone to a 2-3 zone to begin the second half. This is all the more reason to go to the inside-outside game. Feed Marshall and allow him to drop in baby hooks or dish it out to the perimeter.
The Penguins have opened up a five-point lead with some sweet 3-point shooting.
Update on the Martin/KSU issue: I texted my buddy who works for Kent State. Me: "Any chance Doug Martin comes back?" Him: "Any chance the sun doesn't come up tomorrow?" Me: "It's Northeast Ohio. So yes."
A guy with the band is banging a cowbell. You'll never hear me protest about there being too much cowbell. (See below)

The referee finally called an over-the-back foul on YSU. The Penguins are an aggressive rebounding team. When the refs swallow their whistles, like in the first half, they have an advantage. YSU has 10 offensive rebounds tonight (Akron has six).
A block from Marshall might have swung the game permanently. The block sent Akron running the other way for an easy Cvetinovic layup. YSU called timeout. The fans are into the game. It's a pretty large crowd, too.
The Zips might have three players with career highs in points. Cvetinovic has 19 points, which is beyond his previous high of 15. McClanahan is six away from his high of 21. Marshall is one away from his high of 17.
Cvetinovic is really working it on offense tonight. He appears willing to take over and get the Zips a basket on critical possessions.
Egner and Marshall have shot 18 free throws combined, and made eight of them.
Marshall blocked a shot with two minutes left. His aggression in blocking became a curse on the next possession. He left the paint to pursue a player shooting from eight feet out. The shot missed, but Akron didn't have a rebounder to collect the change. YSU scored with a foul. The Penguins are up two with 1:09 to play.
McClanahan jump stopped at the foul line and spun home a jumper. Tie game.
YSU kicked the ball out to Devonte Maymon, who hit a wide-open 3. Penguins lead by three with 25 seconds left.
I've been to a lot of games at Rhodes Arena. That was the most amazing moment yet. Akron didn't get off a shot until 10 seconds were left. Roberts bricked it. Marshall rebounded it and tossed it to McNees, who missed another. Marshall leaped up to catch another board. As he stumbled, Marshall zipped it out to McClanahan, who swished a fall-away 3 from the near the Akron bench. We're going to overtime. WOW.
After a play like that, you often hear people say, "Team A has the momentum going into overtime." In my experience watching college basketball, I'm not sure that helps. The team that ties the game dramatically doesn't usually stomp on the opponent's throat in the extra five minutes.
Marshall and McClahanan are both one point away from matching career highs.
Youngstown State keeps pouring in 3-pointers. It reminds me of what Akron was able to do for a short time at Dayton. As Akron learned, you cannot rely exclusively on that strategy, though.
If I'm a YSU fan, I'm going to be really ticked off at coach Jerry Slocum. He should have instructed his team to consider fouling when the ball is inside the arc. The Penguins had two chances to hammer Marshall and they just played it normally. I would be shouting "FOUL!" at the top of my lungs from the bench.
The Zips regained the lead on Cvetinovic free throws. Then they put together their best defensive stand of the night. YSU chucked up a 3 attempt that missed everything but backboard. McClanahan hit a runner on the other end. Akron forced a turnover. Marshall made a jump hook. Just like that, the Zips opened up the gash. Winning by five with 52 seconds left. YSU timeout.
The Zips fouled Maymon, who made both free throws. Now YSU will try to press and foul, down three with 40 seconds left. Dambrot should put the following players on the floor: McNees, Roberts, McClanahan, Cvetinovic and Euton (the foul shooters and ball handlers). He put Marshall in, instead of Euton, for the size advantage to catch an inbounds pass.
Roberts committed an offensive foul by chucking a guy on a screen. He used his elbow, which makes the call easy for the refs.
YSU missed a 3, got the rebound and traveled with it. The ball goes back to Akron with 27 seconds left, Zips up three.
Upon the inbounds pass, two Penguins assaulted Roberts. His free throw attempts touched nothing but net, and only barely net.
YSU came up without points on another possession. Marshall rebounded it in the corner (then threw an unnoticed elbow) and got fouled. He made both shots.
Marshall punctuated an exciting game by blocking a meaningless Penguins' 3 attempt at the buzzer.
Final-OT -- Akron 91, Youngstown State 84
Three Zips have new career scoring highs: Marshall (22), McClanahan (22) and Cvetinovic (27). Roberts added 11. Outside of those four, Akron only scored nine points. McClanahan also grabbed 10 boards for a career high. McNees had five assists, but only two points.
Final stats of note: YSU made 6-of-11 3-point attempts since halftime. Vytas Sulskis of YSU scored 20 and grabbed seven rebounds. YSU shot 38.9 percent for the game (Akron was 55.6 percent).
Jerry Slocum quotes:
"We were one rebound away from winning the basketball game. In that situation, we've gotta get one rebound. He made a big shot. We missed some foul shots in overtime. That was the difference."
"We would have considered fouling with four to five seconds left. If it was a knocked out ball, we could have set our defense and we would have definitely fouled."
"We're going to take a bunch of 3s this year. That's our personality. In our first road game, I thought we battled for forty minutes. I thought our guys did a good job working hard all night."
Keith Dambrot quotes:
"That game kind of reminded me of my first year when we played (YSU). They had us down and we struggled. That guy (Slocum) has won a lot of games. I think they came in with a better belief structure than before. They deserved to win in a lot of ways. We had a tough time. We just couldn't guard them. We played some pretty good zone in stretches and the final six seconds we'd blow it."
"I didn't think we were really ready to play. Zeke played only a third of the game. He's gotta start manning up and fighting his own battles. He's gotta play better than that. We are slim on our bench now because a lot of our guys are young. I like those kids but they've gotta get ready before they can play. We are about as thin as they've ever been bench-wise."
"I don't care how (Cvetinovic) plays offensively. He made some big buckets, but we need him to get eight to 10 rebounds per game and guard the best player. We have rebounded the ball poorly at the 4 and 5 for the last few years. Those big guys have got to get some rebounds. We can't win if (Marshall) doesn't get eight to 10 rebounds per game."
"We've had a lot of (dramatic shots) recently. But I give McClahanan a lot of credit on the offensive side. He has paid his dues. He had a short string last year."
"I don't know (whether McKnight will play again). He's got to abide by the rules. We have to wait on that. It's an athletic department/team decision. It's quite a blow for us. We were preparing to play with him. So we have to get the young kids ready to play. I like Brett McKnight. Nobody's bigger than the team, including the coach."
"Two games in a row, we have done a poor job of keeping guys off their strong hands. We need to pack it in. They got on a little role where they drove and kicked it back out on us."
"We got to get more out of Diggs and Alex. I was mad at Diggs, that's why I didn't play him."
"Nik stood and watched (when YSU took a three-point lead near the end of regulation), if I remember correctly."
On why McNees was yelling at McClanahan: "We butchered the play call. Specifically, McClahahan butchered the play call. McNees got on him and said, 'You can't butcher that play call.'"
"We used more zone than we've played in at least three years."
"We've been trying to get (Cleveland State) to play. So obviously Gary (Waters) thinks he's good and doesn't think we're good. It's a good series for the fans. They're better than us right now. We scrimmaged them last year, so we know a lot about them."
Nik Cvetinovic quotes:
"This game goes to our buddy Shawn who we met at Children's Hospital."
"We're expecting big things from (Marshall). Sometimes he's bringing it; sometimes he's not. There's no more excuses. If he goes, we go. If he was playing from the get-go like that, we would not need to go into overtime."
"The gameplan was to go inside and use our size. We are a little bit bigger than them. If we get that inside-to-outside game going, we can be really good."
"The whole left leg was locked up. Our trainer took care of it."
Brett McClanahan quotes:
"I was just trying to get the rebound again. Zeke went up and got a man's board. He got it to me. At that point, there's no thought to it."
"Absolutely (it was the most exciting moment in his career). It was raw emotion after I hit it. We had a scare there in regulation. They played very well. They did some things that threw us for a whirl. We came out lackadaisically. We got away with one tonight."
"(Marshall) played well as of late. He has played through adversity."

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Zips fumble away hopes to win first game

By mrasor Published: November 17, 2010

Football
The Zips had a great chance tonight to avoid going to 0-11, but they found a way to avoid that.
Miami won 19-13. Akron's potential game-winning drive ended with a Jeremy LaFrance fumble in the redzone.
With just more than a minute left on the clock, Rob Ianello called timeout to give the replay referee the time to take another look at the play. Someone in the booth should have told Akron's coach that it was an open-and-shut case: fumble beyond a reasonable doubt. As a result, the Zips had expended their last timeout and could not stop the clock after Miami took over.
It wasn't all bad. The coaches showed some more creativity when the Zips faced fourth-and-one on that last drive. Rather than the predictable QB sneak or fullback plunge, Patrick Nicely pitched the ball to Alex Allen; the quarterback ran a route and caught a pass from the running back -- first down Akron.
There were other positive aspects of the game. Allen ran for 126 yards, highlighted by a 91-yard touchdown dash. Jalil Carter played his best game at receiver, catching seven balls for 119 yards. The defense clamped down in the redzone. Nicely passed for 200 yards for the first time this season.
But the win column number remains zero. And it sets the stage for a historic Black Friday, when Buffalo comes to town and Akron faces the realization that this is the worst team in the program's history.

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Zips fall at Dayton

By mrasor Published: November 17, 2010

Men's basketball
Akron played a tough game and made a load of 3-pointers, but Dayton's late rally overcame the Zips.
The Flyers won, 76-68, last night in Dayton.
I was actually more impressed in that loss than in the previous two "wins."

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Akron vs. Dayton - Preview

By mrasor Published: November 15, 2010

Men's basketball
Akron slapped around the 5-foot-8 guards with ease.
Now it matters.
The Zips travel to Dayton for what will be one of their toughest games this season. The Flyers are the defending NIT champions and are one of the teams "receiving votes" in the Coaches Poll (albeit only 1 vote).
Many players on the Dayton roster will be familiar faces for the Zips coaching staff, as Akron also recruited many of them.
The Flyers are quite talented in the frontcourt. Zeke Marshall must put his body into 6-foot-10 Devin Searcy on the boards. It will likely Nik Cvetinovic's duty to keep up with the athletic Chris Wright.
I haven't seen enough of this team in competitive situations to know if the Zips can keep up, but Dayton likely has the same uncertainty.
If the past is any indication, it will be a thrilling game. Who can forget the double-overtime nailbiter three years ago?
Oddsmakers don't think so. Dayton is a 12.5-point favorite.
[poll id="143"]
Football
The Zips (maybe I should use a lowercase "z" so you don't confuse them with the basketball team) gave us just enough time to almost forget this season was still going on.
Oh, but it is! In fact, there are two more games.
Miami will enter Wednesday's contest with a serious incentive to win. At 6-4, the RedHawks' bowl hopes rely on a win. They don't want to be heading into Week 12 against Temple, needing a win. With a 5-1 MAC record, a trip to Detroit is likely by winning out.
The RedHawks' success is somewhat mysterious. Over the course of the season, they have averaged almost seven points fewer than they have given up. Miami rushes for only 72.1 yards per game (hint: that's pathetic). The team needed a last-minute field goal to beat a bad Bowling Green team last week. (If you missed it, the weather was very foggy.)
The RedHawks' defensive statistics aren't anything to gasp at, either. But I'll give them this, they hunker in on third down and they're stingy in the redzone. Really, that's the key to football: executing at opportune times.
Zac Dysert is a decent quarterback. If this was a 3-3 Miami team, no one would give him much thought. But the RedHawks' achievements have exceeded their talent level, and he should get some credit for that. Like Western Michigan, Miami also has two of the league's most productive receivers. Armand Robinson and Nick Harwell are sixth and eighth in the MAC in receptions and yards per game.
All in all, I think the Zips have a great chance to break their oh-fer season, despite being 10.5-point underdogs.
[poll id="144"]
Men's soccer
As you know by now, Akron received a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
To refresh your memory, the top four are the ones to which you aspire. The Zips won't play another game this year that isn't at Lee Jackson Field or in Santa Barbara, Calif., for the College Cup.
The Zips have a first-round bye and will open the postseason on Sunday against the winner of Xavier and West Virginia.

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MAC Final -- Akron defeats Western Michigan 4-0

By Michael Beaven Published: November 14, 2010

Please keep refreshing for updates
Mid-American Conference Men's Soccer Tournament Championship Match
At Lee R. Jackson Soccer Field
The University of Akron Zips (18-1-1) defeated the Western Michigan Broncos (10-8-2) Sunday 4-0.
AKRON 1-0
Junior forward Darlington Nagbe give the Zips a 1-0 lead with a goal in the 48th minute.
AKRON 2-0
Sophomore midfielder Scott Caldwell extends the Zips lead to 2-0 with a goal in the 54th minute.
AKRON 3-0
Freshman forward Darren Mattocks upped the Zips advantage to 3-0 with a goal in the 56th minute.
AKRON 4-0
Mattocks netted his second goal of the game in the 70th minute to make the score 4-0 in favor of UA.
The No. 1 seeded Zips against the No. 2 seeded Broncos were scoreless at halftime.
UA Starting Lineup
Goalkeeper: Sophomore David Meves.
Defenders: Senior Chris Korb, junior Kofi Sarkodie, sophomore Zarek Valentin and sophomore Chad Barson.
Midfielders: Senior Anthony Ampaipitakwong, junior Michael Nanchoff, sophomore Scott Caldwell and freshman Perry Kitchen.
Forwards: Junior Darlington Nagbe and sophomore Ben Speas.
Zips entering the match as reserves: freshman forward Darren Mattocks, freshman midfielder Reinaldo Brenes, freshman midfielder Eric Stevenson, freshman forward Thomas Schmitt, junior defender Michael Balogun, freshman midfielder Martin Ontiveros, junior defender Matt Dagilis, senior defender Enrique Paez and freshman forward McKauly Tulloch.

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Akron vs. Millikin -- Live Updates

By mrasor Published: November 12, 2010

Men's basketball
Akron's starters: Zeke Marshall, Nik Cvetinovic, Brett McClanahan, Steve McNees and Darryl Roberts.
Millikin's point guard is wearing an extensive wrist guard. You would be safe calling it a cast. The fact that he's still the starter tells me he's the best player on the team. (Keeping with my long-standing policy, I don't use names of players on opposing non-Division I teams.)
Millikin has one of the shortest starting lineups I've ever seen. I don't doubt the average fivesome at the Rec Center has more inches.
Brett McKnight checked into the game. He's wearing a leg sleeve that extends down to his calf.
Millikin has not gotten much offensively. With their lack of size, I'm guessing it's a team that prefers to slash. There's a seven-footer wearing white that has plugged the lane so far.
A cheerleader fell to the floor while being lifted up by a male cheerleader. She got up and walked off the court OK, but you could tell she was in pain.
Millikin committed a lane violation when one player took a step inside the 3-point arch after the referee had already handed the ball to the shooter. It's a rule that not too many people know. I knew about it, but I don't know the rationale behind it.
This is a real game for Akron. So any freshman who plays tonight loses his redshirt. Alex Abreu's is gone, as he checked in at the 14 minute mark.
This game is over before it really started. Akron is up 19 with 12:11 left in the first half.
Abreu just stole the ball about three feet away from me along the side line. Right before he nabbed it, Abreu shouted "Oh, give me that!" It was pretty funny.
I'm happy with the size of this crowd. It's actually much larger because many people are waiting in the concession lines for their dollar hotdogs.
Akron beat Buffalo in soccer to advance to the MAC Championship at 4 p.m. on Sunday. The NCAA Selection Show is Monday at 4:30 p.m. You can watch with fellow fans at the Barley House.
That cheerleader who fell is back on the floor. It takes some serious guts to get back out there right after falling from eight feet in front of thousands of people. Kudos.
Since the coaching staff calls me "Coach Rasor," here is some advice from Coach Rasor: Use this game to develop a killer mentality. The new goal is to keep Millikin under 10 points this half. And 30 points for the entire game. In other words, be cold-hearted jerks. There is no room for compassion in this game. The only reason Millikin's player are still on the floor is to close your lead, so make your only objective to widen it.
Millikin's tallest player prefers to hang out on the perimeter, so it's giving Marshall some experience outside his comfort level. Marshall, by the way, is 5-for-5, including a deep bank shot (on which Zeke did not call "glass").
Akron is playing a GREAT defensive game. Millikin simply isn't getting opportunities. If the Zips can duplicate this regularly, watch out.
McClanahan hoisted a 3 from the corner with an unusual stroke that seemed to rely equally on both arms. It sailed over the rim for an airball.
Abreu got beat off the dribble by a not-too-athletic-looking Millikin guard. Keith Dambrot subbed him out at the next opportunity.
Blowout watch: Akron's up 37-7 with 5 minutes left in the first half.
Josh Egner's redshirt is on the bonfire.
Dambrot is following my philosophy. He is contesting inbounds passes after made shots (all with a 35-point lead). That's cold, but I love it.
McClanahan took another unusual-looking shot. It also missed badly.
The AK-Rowdies fooled a Millikin player into thinking the shot clock was going to expire. The poor kid heaved an off-balance shot that didn't come close to hitting the rim.
C.J. Oldham checked into the game. Nevermind what I've said about Marshall's legs; Oldham has the skinniest pegs I've ever seen.
McClanahan tossed up his third ugly shot. Sometimes I do something weird with my golf swing (like raising my hands at address) if I'm really having trouble with my hooks. Perhaps McClanahan is suffering from the basketball shanks.
Akron achieved the cartoonish goal I set 12 minutes ago. Millikin only scored nine points in the first half.
Halftime stats: Akron 49, Millikin 9. Marshall has 14 points, four rebounds and two blocks. McClanahan has nine rebounds. Roberts and McNees have three assists apiece. Millikin has committed 17 turnovers (wow). The Zips are shooting 54.3 percent from the floor; Millikin is 17.4 percent.
Let's put this beatdown in context. Marshall alone has outscored Millikin by five. McClanahan has only three fewer rebounds than the entire Millikin squad. McNees and Roberts have three times more assists than Millikin's one. Millikin has four times more turnovers than it has field goals.
Cvetinovic got the ball stripped away and the refs called a foul. Cvetinovic took exception to the amount of contact, and he got up in the Millikin player's face. So much for that composure. A few plays later, Cvetinovic committed a technical foul. Unless the Millikin kid is talking smack against Serbia, I don't understand what's the big deal.
McClanahan shot another 3 and missed, but this time with a more normal form. A couple plays later he finally hit one.
Millikin has scored nine points in the first five minutes of the second half, already reaching the team's first-half output. In that span, Akron has scored 10 but let off the pedal defensively.
Millikin has shifted to a zone defense.
Marshall swished a 15-footer from the baseline. Normally, when the Zips make a shot, Dambrot just watches. This time, he applauded. It must be something the coaches want to see more of.
Forget what I said about that cheerleader. She went home after hitting her head and did not return to the game. She had ice on her head at halftime.
Mike Bardo is the Zips player I'd least like to fight. When he gets mad, it's unmistakable. It looks like he could go all Kermit Washington (explanation) on someone.
We haven't seen Dakotah Euton or Michael Green. If Euton's nickname is not "Big Country," then I'm all out of ideas.
McKnight tried to lead the fast break. It was not graceful. Dambrot let McKnight know he needs to "give it up" next time.
Zippy is attempting to start the wave in the bleachers.
McNees has not scored on two field goal attempts. He has been on the floor most of the game.
Abreu got burned off the dribble again by the same unathletic guard. Dambrot shouted across the floor, "Alex, you've gotta get down like this," while himself getting into the defensive position. Abreu was subbed out for Kyle Peterson.
On the fast break, Diggs zipped a perfect behind-the-back pass to Egner, who was coming from the baseline. Egner leaped too early (to avoid a Millikin defender) and consequently missed the dunk.
In other MAC-tion... Kent State and Miami escaped with narrow victories tonight. Eastern Michigan is getting a beating at Michigan State. Western Michigan nearly won at Xavier. Northwestern is playing at Northern Illinois. Kent State and Cleveland State are participating in a tournament at CSU, which will conclude Sunday with a matchup between the Vikings and Flashes.
I complained two weeks ago about the MAC media predicting Ohio and Kent State above Akron. Word is, these writers are so keyed in that Armon Bassett received three votes for Preseason All-MAC Team. This is amusing because Bassett is no longer enrolled at Ohio University.
Egner punctuated the victory with some thunderous dunks. The kid can soar.
Final stats of note: Game highs: Marshall, 17 points and four blocks. Abreu, eight assists. McClanahan, nine rebounds. Other stats: Diggs had eight points and eight rebounds. Roberts scored 14. Egner scored 15. Akron shot 51.6 percent compared to Millikin's 30.8 percent (which was much-improved since halftime). Millikin was only 4-of-14 from the foul line (28.6 percent).
Final score -- Akron 89, Millikin 41
Dambrot quotes:
"We played pretty well the first half. We didn't shoot it as well as we could have. We weren't really good the second half. It didn't matter at that point. You try to get them to play hard. It's hard to fool them. Obviously, we won at halftime, so what do you expect?"
"It's good for us, because I get to see guys like (Egner) who I normally don't see. It lets us build on Zeke's practice sessions. I didn't like him in the second half."
"I think the biggest thing that Zeke has this year is that, when I tell him something now, he totally buys into it. Part of it is we spent a lot of time together. You're going to see him hit that 15-foot jumper before it's over. I'm going to compare him to LeBron in this sense -- he's such an unselfish guy. When your potential best player is so unselfish, it's good for the team."
Said he gave all three freshmen forwards the option to redshirt. "Things may change, but for right now, (Euton and Green) are going to redshirt and (Egner and Abreu) are going to play. Josh really wanted to play. He's local and he thinks he's good. He's not very smart right now, but he's got loads of athleticism. He's going to be the next Romeo Travis. I believe that. He might play a lot (this season) before it's over."
"Steve McNees is totally unconcerned about how much he scores which shows maturity from a fifth-year senior. McClanahan showed how hard he can play. Roberts was more assertive than I've seen him offensively. At times, we played good defense. I thought we played reasonably well considering that Nikola was just fair. He needs to play with composure. Brett McKnight is about 50 percent of the way there physically."
"The one thing I realize about Zeke is that he's starting to realize what he has. God gave him a lot of gifts. It's hard to beat the big boys with 6-6 guys. The last time we were in the tournament, we were playing with a 6-foot guard and a 6-2 guard and the McKnights against Gonzaga. You can be in great position and it might not matter."
Egner quotes:
"It was a lot of fun. It's a great learning experience right now. The biggest thing is to get used to the speed we play at. Zeke, the Serb and Brett McKnight do a great job at pushing me to get ready."
"That's always fun (the dunks at the end). Alex reads the floor so well. I was trailing. He just saw me put my hand up. He does a really good job of seeing the floor. I think he could be a really good player here."
"Coming in, I knew, especially to start the season, it would be a battle to get minutes. I can't say I'm there. It's tough to get minutes until I learn how to defend. I hope I can contribute. What I don't know defensively I try to make up with athleticism."
"I definitely did (think about redshirting), but I thought there are things I can contribute to this team. I think we're going to be good, and I want to be a part of that."
Marshall quotes:
"Our coaches emphasize defense. We got at it hard and we pressured as hard as we can."
On his bank shot: "I didn't call bank. The ball was slippery at the time."
"All I look for is the win. It doesn't matter whether I get zero or 20 (points)."
"I worked on every aspect of my game in the offseason. More defense, strength. I'm just getting a little more comfortable, knowing I have to score to win games. I realize I have to score more. As much as I don't want to, I have to."
"If I absolutely have to, I have to. I'm really unselfish. They say I'm too unselfish. That's who I am."
"I'm more comfortable. That's the biggest improvement. I'm not as jittery as I was last year."
Said he gained 15 pounds.
"If anyone sees a seven-footer when they drive, they're going to think about it."
"I take so much pride defensively. I didn't play well defensively (tonight)."

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MAC Semifinals -- Akron defeats Buffalo 3-1

By Michael Beaven Published: November 12, 2010

Please keep refreshing for updates
Mid-American Conference Men's Soccer Tournament Semifinal Match at Lee R. Jackson Soccer Field
University of Akron Zips (16-1-1, 6-0-0) vs. University at Buffalo Bulls (7-9-1, 3-3-0)
AKRON 1-0
The No. 1 seeded Zips took a 1-0 lead over the No. 4 seeded Bulls when junior midfielder Michael Nanchoff scored a goal in the 29th minute. Freshman forward Darren Mattocks recorded the assist.
AKRON 2-0
Mattocks scored his 13th goal of the season in the 69th minute to extend the Zips lead to 2-0. Senior defender Chris Korb notched the assist.
AKRON 3-0
Sophomore midfielder Scott Caldwell scored a goal in the 89th minute for the Zips.
AKRON 3-1
Buffalo's Sam Craven scored a goal just a few seconds later.
UA Starting Lineup
Goalkeeper: Sophomore David Meves.
Defenders: Senior Chris Korb, junior Michael Balogun, sophomore Zarek Valentin and sophomore Chad Barson.
Midfielders: Senior Anthony Ampaipitakwong, junior Michael Nanchoff, sophomore Scott Caldwell and freshman Perry Kitchen.
Forwards: Junior Darlington Nagbe and freshman Darren Mattocks.
Sophomore midfielder Ben Speas, junior defender Kofi Sarkodie and freshman midfielder Reinaldo Brenes each entered the UA lineup as a reserve.

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Zips add guard from Illinois

By mrasor Published: November 11, 2010

Men's basketball
The Zips locked up their second guard of the early signing period today.
If you can say his name, you've already got a step up on most fans at Akron's opener tomorrow against Millikin.
Adedeji Ibitayo is 6-foot-3 and played at Rich High School in Illinois. Here is what GoZips.com has to say about him:

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Zips sign guard from SW Ohio

By mrasor Published: November 10, 2010

Men's basketball
Akron added a guard to the roster for next season.
Six-foot-3 Blake Justice has a quick release and long shooting range. Here is the press release:

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Zips fall to 0-10 after double overtime loss

By mrasor Published: November 6, 2010

Football
Akron almost scored as many points today (30) as it did in the past four games combined (37).
That improvement did not lead to the Zips shedding the zero in their win column. Akron lost to Ball State in double-overtime, 37-30.
Alex Allen played the best game of his season, with 194 yards of offense (165 rushing, 29 receiving). Jeremy LaFrance returned to catch two touchdown passes from Patrick Nicely, who actually made some plays. Even Jalil Carter got into the game, catching six balls for 69 yards. Nicely threw four touchdowns and three interceptions, including one that ended the game.
On defense, the Zips suffered from the same disease that has undone every other positive defensive development: a secondary that gives up a lot of big plays. Ball State scored its two touchdowns in regulation on pass plays of 63 yards and 49 yards.
This was a game that could have gone either way. Akron missed an extra point. The Zips had an opportunity to step on the Cardinals' throats in the first overtime, but dropped an interception. A good team does those things and sings songs on the bus ride home.
Let me leave you with this poll. And before you answer, consider that Gardner-Webb, Kent State, and Ball State are on the schedule.
[poll id="142"]

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Akron vs. Ball State - Preview

By mrasor Published: November 5, 2010

Football
By now you're certainly aware that ESPN.com has a feature called "The Bottom 10."
Akron has reached the pinnacle of this list, which means our alma mater is the worst team in the country. (I say "alma mater" because no current student could possibly possess the stamina to follow this team so far into the depths. And of course, Akron doesn't attract any of those fans that didn't attend the university, like Ohio State.)
The good news is, Ball State is No. 9 on that list. And it's likely the Zips will get back the only offensive playmaker, Jeremy LaFrance, for today's 1 p.m. game against the Cardinals.
Oddsmaker still think the Zips will lose by 13.5. But those oddsmakers have been so abused by Rob Ianello's team that the Zips would be getting two touchdowns against the Little Giants.
I think this game will be different than the first nine. I think Akron will win.
That would not be great news for everyone. I get the sense some people would rather that Ianello fall flat on his face -- as comeuppance for some sin, whether it be snubbing them personally, canceling the golf outing, or just replacing a likable guy in J.D. Brookhart.
That is unfortunate. I predicted that Ianello's style would wear thin on players, but it has done more to anger fans.
Ianello's personality works fine with a winning program. It is intolerable when the team stinks. Look at Bill Belichick as an example. It's ironic because Ianello is a branch (of sorts) from Belichick's coaching tree. But anyhow, Belichick was despised when he coached bad Cleveland teams. With the same standoffish personality, he is beloved as a Super Bowl winner.
Unless the coach tee-pee's Luis Proenza's yacht, he'll be here for three years.
And by winning against Ball State and maybe Buffalo, this program will be (like it or not) heading in a better direction than it was at the end of last season.
As for today's game, Ball State turns the ball over a lot. The Cardinals hardly have a passing game. This game could easily end without a bona fide offensive touchdown. This is a bold prediction for any level of football, but I would say it's likely the defenses and special teams will account for more touchdowns than the offenses.
[poll id="141"]

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Akron vs. John Carroll -- Liveblog

By mrasor Published: November 4, 2010

Men's basketball
Akron's starters: Zeke Marshall, Nik Cvetinovic, Brett McClanahan, Darryl Roberts, and Steve McNees.
Marshall stamped home Akron's first field goal with a one-handed vicious slam. We have been hearing about these 20 points that Marshall supposedly tacked on. Does he look thicker? No. The legs are still Lincoln Log-thin. But he does have more definition in his arms.
McClanahan is starting in lieu of Brett McKnight, who was suspended. It might not seem like a big deal to him now (you know, only missing some practices), but let's be practical. Brett won't be a pro basketball player -- or at least not as his sole lifelong profession. At some point, he will apply for a job somewhere, they will Google his name, and it won't be hard to see that he has been suspended twice. Then he gets to explain that. Not fun.
The crowd is pretty good. In fact, there are more people here than some of the early season thrillers against the likes of North-Central Coast of Panama City State. This feels like a regular season game, except that the scoreboard reads "Home" and "Guest."
Alex Abreu checked into the game with his shaven head. His first shot was a 3 from the corner. An airball -- long.
Mike Bardo and Marshall are on the floor at the same time. I don't think you'll see that too commonly once the games count.
Abreu has come out aggressively. Man, he is short! He has that stocky DaJuan Wagner body. The second thing that stands out is that he looks very comfortable on the court. He calls for the ball, looks confident when he's got it, and has dived to the rim on a couple occasions.
Hello, Quincy Diggs. Shortly after checking in, the newbee made the play of the game. Leading the break, Diggs took the ball behind his back and spun it off the glass while falling off-balance. Marshall put the exclamation point on the matter by spiking another shot (his third) on the other end.
Seeing a player like Diggs in an Akron uniform is unusual. Akron finally has a tall swingman who wants to take guys off the dribble. I caught a small indication, however, that he needs some additional indoctrination into Keith Dambrot basketball: He passed up an opportunity to dive on the floor for a loose ball.
Wow. I just realized I had been blogging about this game for a half-hour on my Stow political blog, rather than the Zips blog. Sorry to the fine residents of Stow for any confusion that caused. The blogging software is identical, so it's an easy mistake to make.
You might say that two referees tonight have a conflict of interest. One is Mike Roberts, Darryl Roberts' uncle. Another is Scott Gooden, a former Zips guard from 1996-1998. Gooden holds a school record for best free throw percentage in a season (88.7 percent).
Dakotah Euton checked in. Apparently you pronounce it "OOO-tun." He spun a smooth reverse layup off the glass for his first points as a Zip.
John Carroll just pulled a hockey-style line change. Five guys in; five guys out. It looked comical.
Diggs' teammates are calling him "Q." The last "Q" in the MAC was Kent's Haminn Quaintance, a favorite among Zips fans.
A John Carroll player basically speared Diggs out of mid-air on a fast break. It was a nasty foul that merited the flagrant foul call. Diggs got up a shoved the John Carroll player, and that earned him a technical foul. I think most people would have done the same. Still, those hard fouls are very common in Akron-Kent games, so you have to train the players a technical foul simply isn't worth it.
McNees crossed over and the JC defender wound up on the seat of his pants. He swished a 3. And1 Mixtape-style.
Marshall has now drained three quick jump hooks from about eight feet.
My favorite blogger is Mark Titus, formerly an Ohio State bench warmer. He wrote this when the Buckeyes were playing a small school named after a guy who was dead a long time ago:

Final score: Akron 111, John Carroll 48
Cvetinovic quotes:
"Now is the fun part. All of those miles (of training) are going to pay off."
"Especially for the young guys, this is a great opportunity for them. John Carroll gave us everything they had tonight."
The new players are "somewhere around 80 percent right now, but they're going to be ready."
"Free throws were a big emphasis this summer. Composure. Coach and I sit down and have a lot of talks about it. When you're an upperclassman, you need to go out there with composure and try to lead your team. I know my teammates need me."
McClanahan quotes:
"They just told me to keep crashing. I was doing well. I have big shoes to fill, and I do. Jimmy Conyers had 22 rebounds in one game."
New guys "will play a big role. Coach D prides himself on getting more than six guys ready. (After last year) we lost a lot, but we also gained a lot."
"I thought there were a couple chippy fouls. (The referees) cracked down on it."
"Us guards have been working at our shot a lot. It has shown. I hung in there and just let it fly. That's what shooters do."
Dambrot quotes:
"If you analyze John Carroll, they live and die off that pressure. They can turn people over. We did a good job against the press."
"We're big and strong, which presents problems for Division II, Division III-type teams."
"I thought it was a tough game, coming in. Their big kid, who is an All-American, was hurt. They don't have a lot of high, Division I-type players. Their point guard is the other one."
"Nik, Brett and Bardo have really played well this fall. It has been clear-cut which guys are going to play. Our fluidity with our old guys is better. We're a little further along."
"I think Alex and Quincy are big keys for us. We feel like Alex is going to be an 85 percent free throw shooter, and he didn't make any (tonight). He looks like he's slow as molasses, but he's getting by guys. We would like to take six, seven, eight pounds off him so he can defend. Quincy doesn't know very much as far as our system, but he's an explosive athlete. He gets his hands on a lot of balls. He just has to get used to me."
"Dakotah and Josh Egner are going to be good too. They just need to learn the playbook. If you're not going to be smart, you have to be a hard-playing moron."
"I was a little upset with (Alex, after the off-the-backboard stunt). Terry (Weigand) said to me, 'At least it was unselfish.'"
"I thought (Zeke) did some good things. We've gotta keep the ball inbounds on his blocks. He has a terrific jump hook. I think he's 100 percent better than he was last year. He's still not what he want, which is total domination. I think that's where he'll be next year. Last year, we force-fed his minutes. This year, we're going to force-feed his touches. Next year, we'll get a Chris Kaman-like guy we can play through -- and then hope he doesn't leave early (for the NBA). I'd like to get him to about 225 (pounds)."
"I think (Brett McKnight) is going to have a good year. He's just gotta abide by the rules. He's a great kid. He just has to do what we want. I think he'll play (against Millikin)."
"I think we're going to be good. I always think we're going to be good. We have a tough schedule. Our record might not be great, but we're capable of winning the league. We're a little light in the backcourt. If we can keep our core group, we can play with anyone in the league. We're just a little better camaraderie-wise."
"We're going to be as good as the big boy is. If he's good, it doesn't matter what anyone else does."
"I love LeBron. I don't care what anybody thinks. We have a great shoe deal because of LeBron. We get to recruit a lot of good players because of LeBron. Do I wish we would have stayed? Yes. But maybe we'll have more people in the seats because they won't be going up to Cleveland. I wouldn't be the coach here if it wasn't for him. I'm going to stay by my guy."

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Conyers drafted to play in NBA Development League

By Michael Beaven Published: November 4, 2010

Former University of Akron men's basketball standout Jimmy Conyers was drafted in the eighth round of the 2010 NBA Development League Draft by the Erie BayHawks.
Conyers, 24, was the second selection of the eighth round (No. 124 overall pick).
Conyers, a 6-foot-5 and 220-pound forward, earned the Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year honor last season, and averaged 10.1 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.4 assists.
Conyers helped the Zips reach the MAC Tournament championship game four years in a row and appeared in 129 games (59 starts). UA won the MAC East Division title in 2007, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament after winning the MAC Tournament in 2009.
The Reno Bighorns selected Nick Fazekas, a 6-foot-11 forward from the University of Nevada with the No. 1 pick of the draft.
The New Mexico Thunderbirds tabbed Alan Anderson, a 6-foot-6 guard-forward from Michigan State, with the No. 2 pick. The Maine Red Claws chose Magnum Rolle, a 6-foot-11 center from Louisiana Tech, with the No. 3 selection.

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Zips Basketball - 10 Storylines for 2010

By mrasor Published: November 2, 2010

Men's basketball
Akron basketball will begin its 2010-11 season on Thursday with a 7 p.m. scrimmage against John Carroll.
Consequently, it's time to stop giving weekly eulogies for the football team and start discussing a team that can make the university proud.
I'm not willing to go through each position, like you'll see in any run-of-the-mill season preview. I think everyone is mostly familiar with the likely player rotation, but I'll breeze through it quickly.
PG: McNees, Abreu SG: Roberts, McClanahan SF: McKnight, Diggs, Egner PF: Cvetinovic, Euton C: Marshall, Bardo
(Key losses: Conyers, C. McKnight, Hitchens, Steward, Sullivan, Sweich)
Here is an insider's guide of storylines for 2010-11.
1) Transfers -- At the end of last season, this blog preached extensively about the need to improve the athleticism on the floor. I trust Keith Dambrot to "coach up" just about anyone, so why not go after some riskier transfers? The coach must have been seeing the same thing, because Akron received three transfers since last season ended. Although only Quincy Diggs is eligible this season, Akron's roster will have a different look also because of the four players who transferred out (namely Humpty Hitchens).
2) Crunch time option -- If the MAC Tournament taught us anything, it's that Steve McNees is an assassin. He pulled out some of the wildest, gutsiest plays you've seen in March. Leading up to the tournament, the Zips had lost several games because Dambrot ran a play for Brett McKnight when the team needed a basket with one possession left. Nothing against Brett, but he's just not that kind of player. McNees showed he is. Will that carry over to this season?
3) Zeke Marshall -- The most anticipated freshman in the program's history led the MAC in blocks and made the All-Freshman Team. We wanted more. We wanted a back-'em-down center who would not get out-muscled by the Kenneth Van Kempens of the world. Word out of Zips camp is that Marshall put on some weight with the help of Mom's spaghetti. Will that extra strength translate to results?
4) Leading scorer -- One of the tenets to the Dambrot system is that no one player will be among the league leaders in scoring. Sometimes I wonder if it's intentional. Sometimes I wonder if it helps Dambrot better control the team if he does not allow the team's scoring needs to rely solely on one ego, or to provide more predictability for the team's hopes not to rely on one shooting arm. Heck, even LeBron James wasn't a totally dominant scorer under Dambrot. Last season, Jimmy Conyers led Akron in scoring with 10.1 points per game -- only the 29th highest average in the MAC. It appears that trend will continue this year, but if there is an offensive weapon on this team, it's probably McNees or McKnight.
5) Shut-down defender -- Lately, the Zips have had the luxury of a shut-down defender at the swingman position. It was Nate Linhart, then Conyers. At first glance, it doesn't look like Akron has a replacement for that role. If either Brett McClanahan or Diggs can become that player, it will be a sure way to get extra minutes.
6) Attendance -- Can I speak to harsh truth with you, Zips fans? We do not have a very good fan base. Akron's home attendance was sixth in the conference last year, despite it being the sixth-consecutive year of exciting, winning basketball. Our arena is not conducive to having a wild student section, but the tiny student section we have is not always full. I have heard plenty of excuses about the venue, the university, global warming, etc. It's irrelevant. We have heard a lot about Tom Wistrcill's ability to build a fan base. It's time to see dividends.
Oh, I'm not done. I'm going to a second paragraph on this. ... Give away tickets if you have to, in order to make the JAR lively during non-conference games. Literally, hand them to folks in the mall. Pride about "maintaining the ticket's value" is only going to retard the program's advancement. I'm a strong believer that the atmosphere is what gets people coming back. And, no, using parents of kids who are doing hula-hoops at halftime to boost attendance does not give you a better atmosphere. (It makes people want to leave after the first half.)
7) Freshmen forwards -- Akron recruited three forwards in this class. It looks like Dambrot will need to use at least one. The easy pick would be Dakotah Euton, the former Kentucky recruit who can bruise you and stroke 3s (like Antoine Walker, without the bankruptcy). Michael Green has a Conyers-like skill set. Ironically, like Conyers often did, Green is also lacking confidence so far in camp. Josh Egner is a high-motor, high-athleticism defender. My guess is that Euton and Egner will play and Green will redshirt, but I reserve the right to change that opinion after seeing the exhibition game Thursday.
8 ) Alex Abreu -- The Zips have lacked a true point guard since Dru Joyce. If there is one definition for Abreu, it's "true point guard." Dambrot's biggest complaint is that Abreu isn't only "pass-first," he is pass-second, -third, etc. However, he will learn under ideal circumstances -- under McNees, a senior who is unafraid to chuck it up from 25 feet at any moment. The question is, can Abreu advance this season to the extent where he can take over the PG role by next season? If you look at the prospective 2011-12 roster, you'll see Dambrot is really counting on it.
9) MAC East competition -- The MAC media is either 1) not paying attention, or 2) getting paid off by Dambrot, in order to give his team bulletin-board material. They picked the Zips third in the division behind Ohio and Kent State.
First, let's discuss the Ohio Bobcats. At the end of last season, they were the undisputed favorites. Then Armon Bassett went pro. Then Alex Kellogg said he's quitting to focus on academics. I think the Bobcats have plenty of talent returning, but hopefully the writers noticed these minor details.
Next, let's talk Kent. The Flashes lost six seniors and have only two contributors returning in Justin Greene and Rodriguez Sherman. I don't doubt Geno Ford's ability to compete, but it's a little presumptuous to put them ahead of Akron.
10) Nik Cvetinovic -- Another story out of camp is that the junior center has calmed down and become a team leader. It sounds to me like a Major League II storyline (i.e. "Wild Thing" Rick Vaughn goes Wall Street). But I hope it's true. When Cvetinovic plays with poise, he is a great steadying player in the Zips rotation. He grabs important boards and comes up with clutch baskets.
I plan to liveblog from Thursday's exhibition game. In the mean time, here is a poll:
[poll id="140"]

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