Romeo Travis, Dru Joyce and Jeremiah Wood -- Akron's offensive foundation -- combined for just 16 points.
Luckily, Quade Milum (17 points), Nate Linhart (15) and Jimmy Conyers (9) filled in to lead the Zips to a 70-61 win at Youngstown State Tuesday night.
Akron held a decent lead for most of the game. The Penguins gathered momentum around the 10 minute mark in the second half, but the Zips always seemed to quell the surge with a key basket.
- Although Joyce didn't score, he dished 10 assists with only one turnover. This, in my humble opinion, is when the St. Vincent/St. Mary's product is at this best. Sure, he is a good long-range shooter, but maybe this game -- when Joyce possibly still felt effects of strep throat -- will show him how a true floor general leads his team to victory.
- I think most fans on both sides would agree the referees were subpar at best. They called the ticky-tack fouls, yet missed obvious hacks and traveling violations.
- The Zips played a clean game offensively. Still, I have some concerns. The Penguins outrebounded the Zips 39-30. They also grabbed five more offensive boards than Akron. This was not a team that should have done that to the Zips.
- One thing jumped out at me. Milum obviously had a great game, but Akron lost at least a couple offensive rebounds when he left his man to challenge a shot that -- if he blocked it -- would have been a goal tending violation anyhow. Coach Keith Dambrot should tell him to stay home on the weakside and box out his man.
- I really don't like all these alley-oop attempts, but they seemed to be effective tonight. Basically, once they start working, other teams will be ready. I see the alley-oop as a low-percentage field goal in a half-court set.
- But enough dogging on Milum. He showed serious offensive skill. As my buddies Dan Kadar and Kiel Fleming said during the game, Milum can be a real star next year if he continues his development. With Wood, Milum, Steve Swiech, Chris McKnight and even Mike Bardo, Akron will have a versatile and devastating front line next season.
- Once again, the Zips struggled at the free throw line, making just five of 10. Wood and Travis could become a liability down the stretch in MAC play for that reason.
- Attendance was awful. Only 2,091 fans showed up for this in-state game where both teams have legitimate hopes for conference titles. Reading the Penguins' Web site, some of the highest-attended games at the Beeghly Center occurred when Akron visited town. It became really quiet at some points during tonight's game.
- Overall, props to Dambrot and his staff for not allowing Akron to overlook the Penguins. Ohio -- which is just four days away -- is a huge conference game. I'll have more on that and tonight's game tomorrow.
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