Everyone knows how being part of a blowout feels. The winning side is clearly overjoyed with utter domination of an opponent while the losing side is left scratching their heads wondering what just happened. That's what happened Wednesday when Akron took out visiting Eastern Michigan 77-47 at the James A. Rhodes Arena. I'm sorry if I just ruined the end of the movie for some of you, but this motion picture would have been up for a Razzie Award.
In some ways, blowouts are good for both teams. The victor gets the most important thing: a win. Also, the starters get some rest and the coach gets to see what he has on the deeper part of his bench. Coaches can do things that they don't normally do in a game setting to see how they work out. For the losing team, it's a humbling experience. Most basketball players have been on both sides of blowouts, so they all know the feeling. It gives them even more of a reason to forget what happened during the last game and really focus on the next one. The coach also gets to see what kind of "fight" his team has. Do they give up and stop playing after getting down 25 points, or do they scrap and claw every possession? I would think coaches are not really big on moral victories, but in some sense this type of play would be welcoming to see amongst a tidal wave of mistakes and otherwise poor performance.
Now, in most blowouts, fans become quiet, bored and more concerned with what else is going on in the arena than the game. Announcers try to dig up any storyline possible to try and make the game interesting, like how Zips Head Coach Keith Dambrot was LeBron James' high school coach (who knew?). The only thing that fans at the game look forward to is the point when the end-of-the-bench guys get their two minutes of playing time. The crowd and starters cheer wildly as the walk-ons get try to get in the stat sheet however they can. In this case Luke Avsec, Akron's walk-on, was the man. He's the true definition of a walk-on: found in the rec center playing pick-up ball, wears number 42 as a guard, and doesn't have the name on the back of his jersey. Luke finished with two minutes of playing time and one rebound, and it was probably the coolest rebound that he had ever gotten.
As for the game, it was total domination from the tip. Eastern Michigan goes straight 2-3 zone over the entire course of a game, and actually did fairly well with it prior to this game. They came in at 5-3 in the Mid-American Conference, even though they were the third-worst scoring team and the fourth-worst shooting team in the nation. The Eagles were a grind-it-out kind of team, and the final scores of their games showed it. A 42-37 defeat against Air Force. Wins against Northern Illinois and Toledo by scores of 47-40 and 41-38, respectively. They had only scored over 60 six times. But, they came into this game as the leaders in the Western division of the MAC.
The zone did not faze the Zips though, as they cashed in on 44.8% of their field goals and actually out-rebounded the Eagles 41-25. Akron's defense was stellar as well, as the Eagles' starters only combined for 17 points. Eastern couldn't seem to throw it in the ocean, as they shot 20% in the first half while making only four field goals. Akron capitalized off of Eastern's mistakes as well in the first half, coming up with 19 points off of 16 Eagle turnovers. It took 13:29 for the Eagles to hit double digits on the scoreboard. Case in point, it was not a good night for Eastern.
Akron moves to 8-1 in the MAC while Eastern drops to 5-4. Surprisingly that is still good enough for the Western division lead, as the West has only won 3 of 24 games total in East-West crossover games. Unfortunately, with two more games of inter-division play left in the MAC, we may see some more blowouts.
at AKRON 77, EASTERN MICHIGAN 47 02/04/2012
EASTERN MICHIGAN 10-13 (5-4) -- A. Green 3-10 5-7 13; A. Strickland 2-7 0-0 4; D. Riley 0-4 0-0 0; M. Balkema 7-10 1-3 15; D. Lampley 3-10 2-2 8; J. Harris 2-4 1-4 5; A. Chandler 0-0 0-0 0; J. Sims 0-6 2-2 2; D. Thompson 0-1 0-0 0; A. Harper 0-1 0-0 0; K. Janton 0-0 0-0 0; Q. Dailey 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-53 11-18 47. AKRON 16-7 (8-1) -- A. Abreu 3-5 0-0 8; N. Cvetinovic 5-10 2-4 12; Z. Marshall 3-7 5-7 11; B. McClanahan 4-9 0-0 11; Q. Diggs 1-3 2-4 4; D. Treadwell 2-6 2-4 6; B. Walsh 2-7 1-2 6; C. Gilliam 5-9 1-1 13; N. Harney 1-2 4-6 6; C. Oldham 0-0 0-0 0; K. Petersen 0-0 0-0 0; L. Avsec 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-58 17-28 77.
Three-point goals: EMU 2-13 (D. Lampley 0-3; A. Green 2-5; J. Sims 0-3; M. Balkema 0-1; D. Thompson 0-1), AKR 8-22 (C. Gilliam 2-4; B. Walsh 1-5; B. McClanahan 3-8; N. Cvetinovic 0-1; Q. Diggs 0-1; A. Abreu 2-3); Rebounds: EMU 25 (M. Balkema 6), AKR 41 (D. Treadwell 9); Assists: EMU 11 (D. Lampley 5), AKR 16 (A. Abreu 5); Total Fouls -- EMU 23, AKR 11; Fouled Out: EMU-J. Harris; AKR-None.