Four games in seven days is tough enough for a player, much less someone trying to do a write-up for four games that were pretty much the same. I've been studying for the GMAT over my Christmas break, so these basketball games have been a nice study break for me. Anyone with any tips for the test let me know in the comments; I'm really looking forward to another year of school (not).
Unfortunately, there were no awesome bands performing during the game like the last time we saw North Carolina A&T. There were, however, lots of bad shots being taken. Neither team could make a shot as the Zips started out 1-10 from the field. At the under 15:00 timeout, it was NC A&T 4, Akron 4. This looked to be more like a Big Ten game than your everyday non-conference game. A terrible start by both teams led to the atmosphere being sucked out of the James A. Rhodes Arena. No one on the court seemed to be playing with any intensity and everyone was really just going through the motions. Akron coach Keith Dambrot got a technical foul after imploring the referees to make better calls (in so many four letter words), and usually a coach getting a tech would wake up his team. Unfortunately, that did not happen. The lackluster play continued and NC A&T capitalized, hitting open threes and going up 17-9.
Akron's troubles seem to have stemmed from not having sophomore point guard Alex Abreu available for this game after having surgery on a torn meniscus that he has been playing on since Thanksgiving. He will be out about two weeks, but should be back for MAC play in January. Freshman Adedeji Ibitayo got his first start at point, and played well. Finding a point guard out of Ibitayo, Quincy Diggs and Brian Walsh will be a key for the Zips in their next two non-conference games: home against VCU and at Marshall.
Finally, the Zips stepped up. They took advantage of the refs calling ticky-tack fouls (nickel-dimers as Bill Raftery would call them) and got points at the foul line along with finally hitting open threes to push out to a 22-19 lead. More free throws and missed shots by the Aggies contributed to the Zips leading 40-32 at the half. That was the closest the game ever got as Akron dominated the second half. A&T ended up shooting 28.3% and only had nine assists. There were a combined 69 rebounds in the game, which shows just how bad the shooting was.
Zips fans were hoping that the new football head coach would be announced at the game, but we heard nothing. Fortunately Akron finally ended the almost month-long search Thursday, as it has been unofficially reported that Terry Bowden (of mid-nineties Auburn and ABC Sports fame) will be the head man. He will face the challenge of turning around a Zips team that went 2-22 in the last two seasons. Godspeed, coach.
I hope that all of the Mid-Majority readers and fans have a great holiday season. I know I'll enjoy a little time off (and a lot more studying) this winter break.
at AKRON 79, NORTH CAROLINA A&T 52 12/21/2011
NORTH CAROLINA A&T 4-9 (0-1) -- M. Hill 2-12 2-2 7; L. Smith 1-3 0-0 2; J. Underwood 2-6 1-2 6; N. Simpson 2-10 8-9 13; A. Powell 3-6 0-0 6; A. Witter 2-4 0-3 5; R. Buck 0-3 2-4 2; D. Upchurch 0-3 2-2 2; J. Louisme 3-6 0-0 9; K. Shephard 0-0 0-0 0; A. Estes 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 15-53 15-22 52. AKRON 7-5 (0-0) -- N. Cvetinovic 4-9 4-4 12; B. Walsh 5-9 1-2 15; Q. Diggs 4-7 0-1 10; Z. Marshall 5-9 10-13 20; B. McClanahan 2-9 2-4 8; D. Treadwell 3-6 2-2 8; C. Gilliam 2-7 0-2 4; A. Ibitayo 1-4 0-0 2; C. Oldham 0-1 0-0 0; K. Petersen 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-61 19-28 79.
Three-point goals: NCAT 7-18 (M. Hill 1-3; N. Simpson 1-5; A. Powell 0-1; A. Witter 1-2; J. Underwood 1-2; J. Louisme 3-5), AKR 8-28 (C. Gilliam 0-3; B. Walsh 4-6; B. McClanahan 2-8; N. Cvetinovic 0-3; Z. Marshall 0-1; Q. Diggs 2-4; A. Ibitayo 0-3); Rebounds: NCAT 24 (L. Smith 8), AKR 45 (N. Cvetinovic 11); Assists: NCAT 9 (A. Witter 3), AKR 19 (Q. Diggs 7); Total Fouls -- NCAT 22, AKR 18; Fouled Out: NCAT-L. Smith; AKR-None.