The rivalry marches on

The Kent State and Akron rivalry continues every year out on the court, and fans are ready again this year.

It’s more than just a game

every time the Kent State men’s

basketball team faces Akron. It’s

a rivalry game that every student,

player and coach thirsts for.

Last season, the Kent State vs.

Akron game included a player

ejection within the first two minutes,

a packed crowd of opposing

fans and two teams with home

arenas about 20 minutes apart.

During the game against

Akron on Senior Day last year,

Kent State won, 67-63, with the

help of a 14-5 run in the final


Fueling the comeback was

senior guard Mike McKee, who

gave the Flashes a 63-62 lead

with a couple minutes left in


The challenge of playing without

senior guard Chris Singletary,

one of the team’s most consistent

scorers, was presented to Kent

State because he was ejected in

the first minute after flagrantly

fouling Akron’s Nate Linhart.

Although the ejection hurt the

team last year, Kent State coach

Geno Ford said he doesn’t think

something to that extent would

affect tomorrow’s game.

“It’s a physical game — it’s

going to be a grind,” Ford said.

“It’s going to be a little choppy

at times, and neither team wants

to back down. We’ve got to make

sure we stay focused on execution

and not getting caught up in

all the extracurricular activities

that go on at times.”

Last year’s game consisted of

5,327 Kent State and Akron supporters

who packed the M.A.C.

Center, anxiously awaiting the

result of the game.

“Anytime you play in front of

a packed house it gets you that

much more pumped,” McKee

said. “If you come into the game

playing three games in a week

and you’re tired as soon as you

get out there and the crowd is

going crazy, all of that doesn’t

mean anything.

“Once the lights go on and

people are in the seats, nothing

else matters.”

Akron is currently tied with Buffalo

for first place in the Mid-American

Conference East Division. The

Zips have nine players averaging

over 13 minutes per game, giving

them depth similar to the Flashes,

who have nine players averaging

over 15 minutes per game.

“They’re really deep,” Ford said.

“It’s a really odd group because it’s

not just one guy you can focus on.

It’s going to be one of those games

where you have to make changes on

the fly. Both teams have to come at a

high level mentally.”

Contact sports reporter

Cody Erbacher