Zips Falls in Final Four of the College Cup

Article also featured on The Buchtelite

 

The University of Akron men’s soccer team had the chance to deny Stanford a second opportunity to be the second soccer program in NCAA history to win three consecutive national titles. However, the Zips would suffer a familiar fate, losing to Stanford in the Final Four of the College Cup tournament 2-0 in Philadelphia, Penn. at Talen Energy Stadium.

The Cardinal’s first half was a dominant display of defensive pressure. Stanford took nine shots, four on goal,  to Akron’s two shots, one on goal.

Stanford keeper Nico Corti made five saves to ensure the clean sheet for Stanford, who has not surrendered a goal in NCAA Tournament play this season. Akron keeper Ben Lundt pulled in four saves for the Zips but gave up two goals due to Akron’s sloppy mid-field play.

Stanford had a seven-minute stretch in the first half where the Cardinal kept Zips on their defensive third, having five near opportunities to put the ball into the net at the Major League Soccer venue.

Stanford’s skipper, Drew Skundrich, forced a turnover from Akron’s Pau Belana, allowing the Cardinals to set up Foster Langsdorf for a diving header for the first goal of the game.

“I think every player was handful tonight. If you turn the ball over in the right spots, Langford will prey on it and we didn’t make him play the game he didn’t want to play. For that reason, we let him do what he wanted to do tonight,” said Embick on Langford’s performance on the night.

The best chance for Akron came in the 61st minute when David Egbo’s shot was saved by Corti. Corti’s save deflected to Niko De Vera, had a strike on goal, which again was saved by Corti.

“That was the moment that we had the momentum and a chance to get back in the game and I do think it’s a key one,” Embick said on the two saves. “If we really rose to the occasion at that moment, who knows what would have happened. When it didn’t go through we kind of had a lull and they started to get back into the game. That’s what happens.”

The final blow for Stanford came in the 79th minute when Werner took a deflection and drove the ball down the left side of the box. He hooked a left-footed shot over Lundt, and the ball deflected on the bottom side of the crossbar and in, giving Stanford the victory and ticket to the final.

“It’s hard to say it, but they were the better team out on the field tonight. They came out aggressive, and I think they got us early and we couldn’t respond,” said head coach Jared Embick after the game.

Cavs tip-toe past Pacers in double OT

The LeBron vs. Paul George endeavor was entertaining throughout the course of the game last night in Cleveland. The Cavs topped the Indiana Pacers in double overtime with a tight score of 135-130. This game is a potential preview of a first-round playoff matchup.

LeBron finished with his 11th triple-double of the season, and poured in a resounding 41 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists. On the other hand, Paul George had 43 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists. In the double OT thriller, LeBron put in 51 minutes, and George countered with 48.

LeBrons extended minutes had to accommodate for Kyrie’s off night, while shooting 5/20 from the field. J.R Smith continued to heat up tonight while shooting 6/11 from deep, and hitting the clutch go ahead shot to send the game to overtime.

Playoff time is here, and LeBron is playing an extended amount of minutes to make sure that the Cavs end the season strong. As of right now, the Cavs are neck and neck with the Boston Celtics for first place in the Eastern Conference.

The Cavs have six games left, that includes a back to back that finishes with a trip to Boston for a final regular season showdown. The race for the top spot in the East is getting tighter and tighter, and the Cavs have limited time to build cohesion within the roster.

 

 

Kent State Wins 2017 Mens MAC Championship


The Kent State Golden Flashes defeated the Akron Zips to win the MAC Men’s Basketball Championship, 70-65. Kent State led for most of the game, but Akron came within striking distance on multiple occasions.

The Flashes got out to a quick 9-3 lead thanks to a quick 5 points from Jaylin Walker (#23), and another 4 from Jimmy Hall (#35). Kent state got into early foul trouble, with 5 fouls overall just 9 minutes into the game. De La Rosa (#1) accounted for 2 of those fouls. Akron played from behind for most of the first half, and it wasn’t until 3:30 remaining that the Zips took the lead. Josh Williams hit a clutch 3 bringing the fans back into the game with a score of 23-21. Kent state quickly answered with back to back field goals to retake the lead. Both teams traded shots in the last minute of the first half, heading into the locker rooms with a score of 27-24 Kent state.

Both teams shot under 45% from the field during the 1st half. Kent State lead Akron in points in the paint and 2nd chance opportunities. Akron’s bench made an impact, scoring 8 of the Zips 24 points. Neither team had much luck from the 3 point line, with both teams combining for 2 3-pointers in 13 attempts. MAC Player of the Year Isaiah Johnson led the Zips in the 1st half with 10 points, while Jaylin Walker and Jimmy Hall lead the Golden Flashes with 11 and 10 points respectively.

Kent State came out hot in the 2nd half, taking a 36-28 lead. Less than 2 minutes later, Akron narrowed the lead to 34-36. Jaylin Walker responded with only the 3rd 3 pointer of the game, with Kent State leading 39-34. Akron finally tied up the game again with 11:15 remaining in the second half. For the next few minutes, the lead changed 3 times, with neither team ever more than 2 points ahead of the other. With 4:24 remaining, Kent State had an 8 point lead thanks to an 10-0 run. The Flashes held unto their lead despite the Zips best efforts, who could only get within 3. Kent State won a hard-fought victory, 70-65. Isaiah Johnson and Jimond Ivey both finished with 24 points for the Zips.

A huge part of Kent State’s upset victory can be attributed to their 63.9% field goal completion percentage in the second half. Jaylin Walker finished with 30 points, 6 rebounds, and was voted MAC Tournament MVP. Jimmy Hall finished with 18 points and led both teams with 10 rebounds. They will move onto the NCAA Tournament, and the bracket will be released tomorrow.

Akron Head Coach Keith Dambrot gave Kent State credit for making so many big plays in the last 8 minutes, and congratulated Kent State Head Coach Rob Senderoff for turning their team into championship quality. Rob Senderoff accredited the win to their shooting percentage and also their low number of turnovers, only committing 6.

Here’s what Coach Dambrot had to say:

 

Zips beat Falcons, advance to MAC Championship

The University of Akron men’s basketball team defeated cross-state foe Bowling Green on Friday night, 80-66, at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The win advanced the Zips to the Mid-American Conference Championship Game, where they will play either the Ohio Bobcats or the Buffalo Bulls.

The Zips had five players score double-digit points, led by Isaiah “Big Dog” Johnson. Johnson led the way for both teams, scoring 23 points on 9-11 shooting. Johnson also grabbed a team-high six rebounds and blocked one shot. Senior Jake Kretzer also came off the bench to score 15 points and collect five rebounds. Kretzer made three out of four 3-pointers and made both of his free throws.

The starters also played a strong game. Senior Reggie McAdams made two 3-pointers and six free throws to total 14 points. McAdams also pulled in three rebounds, dished out two assists, blocked two shots, and had two steals. Houston native Antino Jackson made two shots from deep and finished with 12 points and four assists. Sophomore point guard Noah Robotham finished with 11 points, while Kwan Cheatham Jr. added five points.

Bowling Green was led by freshman guard Antwon Lillard, who scored 12 points and pulled in four rebounds. Spencer Parker and David Joseph each scored 11 points for the Falcons, while Zach Denny scored nine points off the bench. Rasheed Worrell came off the bench and led Bowling Green with 11points while adding five points.

The Zips found themselves down early, 6-5. However, a 10-3 run fueled them to a 15-9 lead just over five minutes into the first half. After back-to-back Falcons baskets, the Zips went on another run. This time it was a 9-0 run that put them ahead 24-13. The two teams traded baskets for most of the remainder of the half, and the Zips went into the half with a 41-35 lead.

Isaiah Johnson led the way for Akron at the half with 12 points. Johnson went 4-6 from the foul line in the half. McAdams scored ten points in the half, going 2-5 from beyond the arc and 4-4 from the foul line. Finally, Jackson had seven first half points while Kretzer added six points off two 3-pointers. Bowling Green was led by Parker, who had seven points in the first half, while Lillard scored six and Joseph added five.

The Zips outscored the Falcons 39-31 in the second half, and the lively crowd played a major role. The crowd at Quicken Loans Arena was mostly Akron fans, and they showed that late in the second half especially. They nearly sent the roof off The Q when Jackson found McAdams for an alley-oop dunk. Then, after a failed Bowling Green possession, Jackson stuck the dagger into Bowling Green with a 3-pointer at the end of the shot clock, and the crowd went into a frenzy as the Falcons called a timeout. The shot gave Akron a 72-59 lead with just 4:06 left to play. The Zips rolled on to an 80-66 victory.

For the Zips, they will play a team that they already beat twice this season in either scenario. If the win the MAC Championship, then they will go to March Madness and play in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2013. The season is over for Bowling Green, but they made a strong run after upsetting Kent State and Central Michigan in the first two rounds of the MAC Tournament.

Anita Brown’s 37 sparked a Zips win

Cleveland, OH- The Akron women’s basketball team enters the MAC championship as the number 5 seed, with Toledo standing at the number 4 seed. This quarterfinals game took place at the Q in Cleveland. The game had a lot of hype because Akron took the first game with a score of 81-71 midseason.

 

The game started off very quickly with Akron’s DiAndra Gibson hitting a 3, and having 5 points in the beginning of the quarter along with Anita Browns’ 5. Toledo was giving a solid effort but could not keep up with Akron’s 22 in the first quarter. Anita Brown was ripping through the lane, and put up 11 points in the first quarter. Toledo had a collective team effort with 5 players on the board in the first but Akron held the lead with the score being 22-17.

 

In the beginning of the of the 2nd quarter Akron’s Hanna Plybon came of off a mean screen and hit a quick three, and Toledo’s Janice Monakana responded with a three of her own. Toledo’s senior Brenae Harris put in 10 points of her own by the middle of the second quarter, and was an impact player while it was still a tight game. Anita Brown made it very difficult for Toledo as the 2nd quarter went on, but they hung in there.

 

DiAndra Gibson hit a deep three in the Q with two minutes remaining in the first half, and continued scoring. Gibson ended the first half with 8 points and a rebound along with Anita Brown’s 21 and 4 rebounds. Toledo’s leading scorers were Janice Monakana with 11 points and 5 rebounds, and Brenae Harris’s 10 points and a rebound. The end score of a hard fought game at the half was 40-36 with Akron leading.

 

The third quarter started off with a very fast pace, and a added a quick layup for Anita Browns 23rd point of the day. Janice Monakana went out early in the 3rd with a knee tweak, and that put a damper on scoring. Things got a little scrappy midway through the third quarter while Akron had a comfortable lead of 10.

 

After 3 quarters the Akron Zips led the game 50-44, and the leading scorer for Akron had 25 while Toledo’s leading scorer had 15. Megan Barilla ended the quarter with 6 points, and 9 rebounds, and really made a huge impact.

 

In the 4th quarter the star player for the Rockets returned, and continued to make an impact while starting the 4th quarter with 11 points, and 7 rebounds. With 8 minutes remaining in the 4th, the forward for Toledo, Ana Capototso hit a 3 pointer to tie the game up at 50-50.

 

Going down the stretch of the 4th, Akrons Anita Brown hit a difficult contested shot to put the lead up by 2. DiAndra Gibson received her 5th foul with 3 minutes left in the game and really put a hole in the Akron Zips offense. Toledo’s Brenae Harris put in a solid 19 with 2 minutes left, but Anita Brown kept it tight with a fast break layup.

 

With an exciting ending, Akrons Greta Burry hit a layup that tied the game with 10 seconds left with a score of 60-60. Akron regained possession with 2.6 seconds left, and used a quick timeout to bring have a chance at a game winning shot. Anita Brown was very close to hitting a game winning shot but slightly missed off of the backboard, and brought it to OT, with a score of 60-60.

 

Akron started off hot in OT, and Anita Brown got a quick bucket to stretch the lead 64-61. Hannah Plybon hit a very clutch 3 for Akron with time running down to give Akron a 67-63 lead, and really broke the game open for Akron. The action was non-stop as Brenae Harris hit a pair of free throws to bring the game within 2.

 

In the final moments of the game, Anita Brown hit a pair of free throws to end the game. Akron Zips won a nail biter, 73-71 and advanced to the semi-finals to face Buffalo.