Akron spoils comeback with late layup in OT
Freshman guard Chris Singletary, Akron junior forward Quade Milum and Akron forward Romeo Travis struggle for the ball at the men’s game last night. ABBY FISHER | DAILY KENT STATER
Credit: Jason Hall
Tied with just under 10 seconds remaining in overtime, Akron junior forward Jeremiah Wood hit a layup to give Akron a 66-64 win and the Mid-American Conference East Division title.
“We didn’t guard the ball,” said Kent State coach Jim Christian. “We had been picking (Akron) up at three-quarter court for the whole second half … we let them get a full head of steam. We can’t let guys turn the corner like that.
“It’s disheartening. We wanted to play better in this game and we didn’t.”
Wood made the final shot after Kent State senior guard Armon Gates hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 64.
Christian said the Flashes’ struggles at the free-throw line were the difference in the game.
Sophomore Julian Sullinger missed two free throws with just over a minute left in overtime. The shots would have given Kent State the lead. They were 12-22 from the line.
“When you play good teams in big basketball games, you’ve got to knock them down,” Christian said.” At the end of the day, that was the difference.”
Kent State shot a season-low 18 percent in the first half and scored only 18, also a season low.
“That was our fear coming into the game,” Christian said. “We’re a young team, and they haven’t been in those types of environments or those types of games before. We were getting good shots. We were getting the ball where we wanted to get it. We just didn’t make it.”
Akron coach Keith Dambrot said he knew the Flashes would make a second-half comeback.
“When I looked at the stat sheet and saw 6-33 (field goal shooting), I knew we were going to have to weather a storm,” Dambrot said.
Kent State came back and shot 46 percent in the second half. Junior forward Mike Scott had a put back to send the game into overtime.
The Flashes have now dropped their last two against the Zips. But they may have an opportunity for revenge in less than a week at the MAC Tournament.
“We both have to win on Thursday, but we’ll probably play again,” Dambrot said.
Contact men’s basketball reporter Deanna Stevens at [email protected]