Flashes take on rival Akron Zips


Senior guard Rod Sherman cheers from the bench during the Akron game last season. Tonight’s game will be Sherman’s last game at the M.A.C. Center. Photo by Rachel Kilroy

TV2’s Sean Barie previews the game.


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The only thing on Rod Sherman’s mind for the past week has been Friday’s basketball game.

“I think it’s going to be a great day in the Kent area,” the senior guard said. “I’m amped up already.”

And for more than one reason.

Kent State battles Akron at 7 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center — a game that is significantly important to the Flashes, more than just a cross-town rivalry.

Currently in first place in the Mid-American Conference East, the Flashes (20-10, 11-4 MAC) clinched the regular-season championship on Tuesday by defeating Bowling Green. A win on Friday will help Kent State clinch a No. 1 seed in the MAC Tournament. If the Flashes fall to the Zips, they can still clinch the top seed if Miami and Western Michigan lose this weekend.

The Flashes already earned a first-round bye in the MAC Tournament by defeating Bowling Green on Tuesday. But arriving at the tournament as regular-season champions wouldn’t be a bad thing.

“If we can do that, my life would be lovely,” Sherman said. “It’s my senior year, so I really want to finish out on top.”

Taking a moment to celebrate “Senior Day” before the game starts also makes Friday important.

But since Sherman is the only senior on the team, it’s more like “Rod Day.”

Sherman said the ceremony and the fact that it’s his last time playing at the M.A.C. Center would make for an emotional night.

And his teammates do not want that night tainted by a loss to Akron.

“‘Rod Day’ will be a lot better if we win,” said sophomore guard Randal Holt.

After losing at Akron 65-62 on Jan. 8, the Flashes are out for revenge.

“We know Akron will come out all amped up because it’s a rivalry game,” Holt said. “But we have to stay calm, do what we do and get this ‘W.’”

According to Sherman, that means starting the first half with a lot of energy and remaining focused in the second. But he said the team seems prepared for the intense game already.

“It’s our rival, so it shouldn’t take that much to get us amped up to play this game,” Sherman said. “I know they’re going to try to come here and spoil our party, so we just have to be ready to compete.”


Kent State: Rod Sherman (Sr.) Akron Zips : Steve McNees (Sr.)
Points: 371 253
Assists: 90 85
Rebounds: 115 72
Steals: 48 23
Free Throw % : .775 .691


Kent State: Justin Greene (Jr.) Akron Zips: Brett McKnight (Sr.)
Points: 465 232
Assists: 47 16
Rebounds: 249 71
Steals: 10 14
3-Point %: 0 .413


Kent State: Justin Manns (Jr.) Akron Zips: Zeke Marshall (Soph.)
Points: 126 262
Assists: 6 18
Rebounds:122 137
Steals: 10 14
Blocks: 33 68


Kent State: Eric Gaines Akron Zips: Alex Abreu
Points: 102 203
Assists: 16 105
Rebounds: 81 47
Steals: 30 41
Turnovers: 21 68

Contact Rachel Jones at [email protected].