Akron, Ohio – The University of Akron Zips men’s basketball team earned their first ticket to the NCAA Tourney Saturday night when they beat Buffalo 65-53 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
It took Akron three tries to earn the automatic bid after losing to Kent State and Miami in the 2008 and 2007 MAC Championship games respectively. Akron played in the NIT in 2006 and 2008. On both occasions, the Zips won their first-round match-ups and lost in the second round.
Akron (23-21) is slotted as a 13th seed in the NCAA Tourney and will face #4 Gonzaga (26-5) Thursday at 7:25pm eastern at the the Rose Garden in Portland, Oregon.
If Akron wins Thursday, they will advance to play the winner of the Illinois/Western Kentucky University game.
Akron, OH – Cleveland.com is reporting that former Akron men’s basketball player Cedrick Middleton has been hired as the program’s graduate assistant coach.
“Cedrick was one of the hardest-working players we have had at Akron and who I have ever had the opportunity to coach,” fifth-year head coach Keith Dambrot said in a statement. “He had a great playing career and is a great person. He is one of the main reasons we were able to turn this program around and enjoy so much success over the last four seasons.”
Middleton played for the Zips from 2005 to 2008. His 130 games played, logging time in every contest, is the most by any player in program history.
He was honored as the Mid-American Conference’s Sixth Man of the Year in 2007 and finished ranked 29th on Akron’s all-time scoring list (1,120) and eighth in all-time steals (131). Middleton, a Chicago Heights, Ill., native, earned his bachelor’s degree in communication in May, and will pursue a master’s degree in sports science and coaching.
Akron, Ohio – A University of Akron basketball player was arrested Saturday night after opening fire on police, NewsChannel5 reported. Akron detectives said that Rydell Brooks, a sophomore at UA, was arrested after a routine traffic stop. They said Brooks, 20, fled from the vehicle and fired shots at the officers. The officers were not hit. After a short foot pursuit, Brooks was arrested. Police said he is being held in the Summit County Jail and is facing attempted murder and felonious assault charges. Brooks joined the Zips last year. He was a 2006 Buchtel High School graduate. He transferred to Akron from Niagara University to join the men’s basketball team. Brooks averaged 4.7 points in starting 30 of 35 games as a freshman in 2006-07 for the Purple Eagles, who he helped qualify for the NCAA tournament. He sat out the 2007-08 season for the Zips and is eligible to play the next three seasons. According to his Web site, Brooks was born Sept. 29, 1987, in Akron. He is the son of Rydell Brooks and Diane Bell and was raised by his paternal grandmother, Katherine Brooks. He has six siblings. Brooks is expected to be in court on Monday.
Akron, Ohio – Tom Gaffney of The Akron Beacon Journal reported that Zeke Marshall, one of the top center prospects in the country, has made an oral commitment to the University of Akron men’s basketball team.
Marshall is 6-foot-11 and from McKeesport, Pa. He is ranked as the 11th-best center and 61st overall junior, according to Scout.com.
Scout.com reported that he was choosing between the Zips, Pitt, Duquesne, Virginia and Virginia Tech.
Amherst, MASS – The Akron Zips long season came to an end today in Amherst, Massachusetts as they lost to UMASS 68-63 in the National Invitation Tournament.
The Zips seemed to struggle in the beginning. Akron was slow to adjust to the UMASS height in the paint and their tough 3-point shooting from the perimeter. The Zips were sloppy with turnovers and inaccurate with their outside shooting, but they still managed to battle back to within 3 points at the half.
It was a different game in the second half as Dambrot made adjustments in the locker room. About five minutes into the half, Akron took the lead for the first time since they were up 2-1. Then Jeremiah Wood turned on the afterburners. Wood was hitting shots from inside the key to outside the 3-point arc. With just over eleven minutes to go, Akron found themselves up by 9 points. UMASS seemed to fall victim to the same shooting bug that infected Akron a few times this season, especially against rival Kent State.
With six minutes to go, the shooting and turnover bug began to infect Akron. It seemed that neither team could get anything to fall. With 4:22 to go in the game, UMASS battled back to within 3 points. A turnover by Cedrick Middleton allowed UMASS to cut the lead to 1 and sent the crowd into a frenzy.
UMASS continued to press and play the tough defense that had them leading in much of the first half. Consequently, the Zips continued to make poor passing choices leading to turnovers.
With 3:14, UMASS took the lead at the free throw line 61-60. On the next trip down, Nick Dials was double-teamed and lost the ball, in the skirmish for the ball, Chris Lowe was tripped by Dials and Akron was charged with a controversial intentional foul giving UMASS two free throws and the possession.
Brett McKnight hit a 3-pointer with 2:10 to go to bring the Zips to within 2 points. After a stop at the UMASS end, Akron again turned over the ball and proceeded to call a timeout with 1:30 to go down 65-63.
With 54.7 to go in the game, Akron brought the ball into the forecourt. Brett McKnight missed a 3-point shot and UMASS called a timeout with 24.3 to and 23 on the shot clock. Akron, down by two, needed to foul to stop the clock. UMASS’s Gary Forbes was fouled and missed the first of two shots. Akron, down by three with 17.6 left, Akron inbounded the ball which eventually led to an unnecessary 3-point miss by Jeremiah Wood which sealed their fate. In the last half of the game, Akron was out shot 25-7.
The loss ends the Zips season, already the longest in school history with 35 games. Akron finished 24-11.
For Akron, Jeremiah Wood again led the team in scoring with 25 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 assists. Cedrick Middleton had 14 points, while Nate Linhart and Nick Dials had 6 and 3 points respectively. Off the bench, Brett McKnight had 11 points while his brother Chris had 6 points.
Akron shot 43% from the field, 76% from the free-throw line and 41% from 3-point range.
Today was the last game for seniors Nick Dials, Jeremiah Wood and Nick Goddard (did not play).
Tallahassee, FL - Whenever Akron travels outside the MAC to play, they are greeted with the usual “Where is Akron?” or “What is a Zip?”. Tuesday night was no different as Akron opened NIT postseason play against the Florida State Seminoles. Whether the Seminoles and their fans received answers to their questions they won’t soon forget that the team that they taunted beat them in overtime 65-60. It is their first ever win over an ACC team and it was Florida State’s first lose in the first round of any postseason tournament. The loss was the first to a non-conference team this season for Florida State.
The win wasn’t pretty. Akron was up by as much as 12 points in the first half, but Florida State battled back to within one at the half as the Zips led 34-33.
The second half was even uglier. Akron couldn’t hit their free throws down the stretch. They went 4-4 in the first half but went 1-8 in the second half. The free throw woes continued for much of the overtime as Akron went 10-19 on the night, but Nick Dials did hit key shots from the charity stripe in the waning seconds of the extra period.
The night belonged to Nick Dials who is playing in his senior year with Akron. Dials only hit 2 baskets for most of regulation, but really turned it on in the last minute. In the overtime period he was unstoppable scoring 15 points, more points than the Seminoles did as a team in the extra frame. Dials had a team high 21 points with 4 assists and no turnovers.
Jeremiah Wood struggled a bit with 9 points, but he had 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Nate Linhart put in 12 points and a team high 8 rebounds while Chris McKnight added 10 points. Off the bench for Akron the only points came from Darryl Roberts with 8 points.
Akron shot 38% from the field, they were 11-28 from 3-point range 39% and they shot 10-19 free the throw line. Akron had 12 assists to only 10 turnovers.
Akron will next play second seed UMASS in Amhurst, mass on Saturday 12:00 noon. The game will be televised on ESPN. For all of your Zips game day information, visit the UofAZIPS.com Game Day page.
Akron, OH – The Akron Zips will play Florida State Tuesday at 9:00pm in the National Invitation Tournament. The game will be played in Tallahassee, Florida on the campus of Florida State.
This is Akron’s second selection to the NIT in three years. It was expected that Akron would have been in the NIT last year, but they were snubbed by the tournament committee and did not see post-season play. Akron is a 6 seeded team in their respective bracket while Florida State is a 3 seed.
For all of your Game Day information, visit the UofAZIPS.com Game Day page.
Cleveland, OH – Redemption is sweet when you get it. But it makes you bitter when you want it so bad and can’t have it. That is what Akron fans are feeling as the Zips fell to Kent State Saturday night in the MAC Championship game 74-55 at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. A win for the Zips would have ranted them an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Now Akron will be in a familiar position as they were last year waiting for a miracle invitation to the Tournament or hoping not to be snubbed a second year in a row by the NIT.
Akron led for much of the first 10 minutes of the game, but KSU went on a 8-0 run with 7:00 to go in the half until Jeremiah Wood hit a free-throw with 4:32 to go in the half. Then Akron would continue to go cold as they went rest of the half without a point. KSU led at the half 33-20. Akron was getting great looks, but the ball would just not fall through the hoop.
Jeremiah Wood was a handful for Kent to answer for part of the first half, but KSU coach Jim Christian’s strategy seemed to be to put Wood at the line. Jeremiah is not a very good free throw shooter at 58%. He went 2-7 from the line in the first half. Every time Wood would get close to scoring, the Flashes would foul him to put him at the line.
The Zips came out of the locker room continuing where they left off. There shot selection was decent for most of the second half, but the ball just would not fall. KSU enjoyed leads of as much as 17 in the second half, but Akron began to gain some momentum when they narrowed the score within 10 with 8:13 to go. It proved to be short-lived as Darryl Roberts was charged with an intentional foul after he turned the ball over. Kent hit both free throws and then hit a 3-point play on the ensuing possession.
For the rest of the game, Akron was able to force stops, but they struggled to convert the play on the other end of the court.With 3:44 to go, Akron found themselves down 63-48. For the remainder of the game, Akron could not find their shot. They also struggled at the free throw line, a place that had become friendly to the Zips this season.
Jeremiah Wood led the Zips in scoring with 13 point, but he struggled mightily at the line shooting 5-14. Nick Dials and Nate Linhart had 9 points each while Chris McKnight put in 8 points. Cedrick Middleton didn’t have a very good night shooting going 1-7 from the floor for 4 points. Off the bench Darryl Roberts had 9 points.
Akron shot a 31% from the floor, 54 % from the free-throw line and 23% from 3-point range. The Zips were out rebounded 27-36.
So now it is a waiting game for Akron. The tournament selections will take place Sunday at 5:00pm for the NCAA and at 8:00 pm for the NIT. Stay with UofAZIPS.com for tournament updates on Sunday.
Cleveland, OH – For Akron Zips fans, this season began with a chip on our shoulders. Fans were still numb from the controversial game-winning shot by Miami(OH) that sent Akron packing. They lost a chance at an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and were subsequently snubbed by the NIT for postseason play.
Now, the only thing standing between Akron and its first division one conference Championship is the Kent State Golden Flashes. Akron has already faced Kent twice this season, both times losing. Both games were hard fought and close at the finish. Needless to say, Saturday night’s match-up should be an exciting game. Because of both school’s proximity to Cleveland, Quicken Loans Arena should be packed to the rafters and loud.
Coach Keith Dambrot is all business as he prepares his Zips for the big game. Dambrot was to be interviewed with Tony Rizzo and Kendal Lewis of Fox SportsNet during halftime of the Kent-Miami game. They were unable to find coach Dambrot because he was presumably scouting Kent and Miami and then taking his team back to the hotel for a meal and rest.
The most important thing is that Akron will get a chance at redemption Saturday night. They shouldn’t take that chance lightly. And they won’t.
For Akron fans, they too will get another chance at redemption. The Zips were able to get more than 10,000 fans to travel to Detroit the day after Christmas in 2005 for the Motor City Bowl. Akron, now’s your chance to show your spirit. Many of you live less than an hour from Cleveland, much closer than Detroit. Why not postpone your plans for Saturday night and head to Quicken Loans Arena? If you don’t, you may not get a third chance.
Cleveland, OH - The Zips are one huge step closer to another chance at a MAC Championship title as they took care of the Western Michigan Broncos 78-62 in the MAC Tournament Semi-Finals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.
The Zips started out strong. Their first two baskets were 3-pointers from Cedrick Middleton and Nate Linhart. Akron had an quick 10-2 lead. The Zips enjoyed a lead most of the first half. At times the lead was as much as 11 points.
Akron’s first-half shooting was very strong especially from the perimeter. The Zips shot 16-28 (57%) from the floor in the first half and were 5-9 from three-point range. Brett McKnight led the Zips in the first half with 12 points while Cedrick Middleton had 11. Akron led the Broncos 37-24 at halftime.
The Zips came out of the locker room strong and did let up. They allowed WMU to get within 8 points with just over two minutes left to go, but crucial free throws unlikely hit by Brett McKnight helped seal the Bronco’s fate.f
Akron for the second night was precise from the floor and tough on defense. They shot 61% in the second half and only allowed a total of 10 turnovers.
Jeremiah Wood again had a strong performance dropping in 12 points, with 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 4 steals. Chris McKnight led Akron in scoring with 16 points while Nate Linhart accounted for 7 points and 3 rebounds. Cedrick Middleton had 13 points and Brett McKnight put up 11 points and 4 rebounds. Nick Dials may have only scored 5 points, but he was a huge factor in the Zips win commanding the floor adding 5 assists and only 2 turnovers.
Akron shot 59% from the floor, 47% from 3-point range and 60% from the free-throw line. They out rebounded Western Michigan 28-25 and had 14 assists to 10 turnovers.
Akron improved to 23-9 on the season and will return to the MAC Championship game Saturday night at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio at 7:00pm. For all of your Zips Game Day information, visit the UofAZIPS.com Game Day page.