Ohio took on Akron in the MAC Championship last night. Alex Hider was court-side at the Q. These are his thoughts in real-time.
5:55 (34 minutes to tip off)-This arena is going to be loud. Ohio’s student section is nearly full at this point. Akron fans are a bit tardy, but as local favorites, they’ll travel well. Last night’s Akron-Kent State was the loudest MAC game I have ever attended. Tonight’s atmosphere should be similar.
6:08 (22 minutes to tip off)-After a little research, I find that Zeke Marshall scored only 8 points and grabbed 4 rebounds in last year’s championship game. Ohio will need a repeat of this performance if they want to punch their ticket to the NCAA Tournament.
6:10 (20 minutes to tipoff) I need a seat upgrade. Time to head down to press row. Hope I don’t get kicked out.
6:23 (6:57 to tip off) 13-year-old Macey Simpson’s National Anthem clocks in at about 1:30.
6:27 (3:00 to tip off) Ohio takes the court to thunderous applause. I was wrong. Tonight, The Q becomes the “Mobile Convo.”
:30 (:00 to tip off)-Lights out in the Q. Chills.
6:31 (:00 to tip off)-I take that back. Akron fans are in the house. A lot of them.
19:00 – Keely and Marshall trade layups. A big game is needed for Keely if Ohio wants to compete.
16:00 – Reggie Keely is on fire. He hits a jumper near the top of the key to make him 4-4 from the field. When Keely plays well, Ohio plays well. Unfortunately, he can’t do much on Marshall at the other end.
14:21 – Keely with an and 1. He is playing unreal. No other way to put it.
12:30 – Akron commits its fifth turnover. Ohio is outhustling them. They want it more right now.
11:54 – Akron’s first offensive rebound. They get three in one trip down. The possession ends with a Treadwell tip.
11:51 – Akron’s dance team is wearing t-shirts and sweatpants. Come on, this is the MAC Championship, not an 8 a.m. class. Not to say I wouldn’t marry all of them.
10:04 – Offutt cans a three from the top of the key. Ohio will miss him next year. The energy and leadership he brings is unparalleled.
9:52 – Ohio’s student section calls Brian Walsh Reggie Miller after he travels. Awesome.
8:22 – Harney’s two hand slam is the highlight of the night so far.
7:36 – Ohio leads 23-16. Maybe I’ve been watching the Bobcats too much, but this lead seems a lot less than 7 points.
7:31 – Ohio fan on the scoreboard just referred to himself as a townie. At least he’s proud of it.
5:18 – Akron stepping up its defense in the paint. A couple rejections and altered shots.
5:10 – Jon Smith records his third personal foul and leaves the game. Last night, Christian said Keely got tired with 31 minutes. He needs his rest.
4:35 – As I type that last sentence, Keely hits another layup over Marshall. He’s playing like a beast.
3:21 – Kretzer hits his first three of the night. He had 19 the last time these teams played. He’ll be the wild card tonight.
1:13 – Ivo Baltic forces a turnover. A good sign. He misses a contested three at the other end. A bad sign.
1:05 – Ugly minute of basketball for both teams. Four turnovers combined. But Akron has cut Ohio’s lead to two.
Halftime – Hall totally traveled on his buzzer-beating finger roll. Bobcats catch a break going into the half.
12:30 to 2nd half: Bobcats are playing excellent defense so far. They have forced 10 Akron turnovers thus far. Shockingly, 3 of the 6 Ohio turnovers have come from none other than D.J. Cooper. Cooper has yet to score. If I knew his stat line before the game started, I would assume Akron is leading in a blowout.
9:18 – Ohio has made one three this half, but shot 48% from the floor. Ohio will need to start making triples in the second half. I also can’t shake this feeling that Ohio is still due for an extended cold streak.
:45 – Forgot to go pee at halftime. This could be a problem…
:5 – Took this long for them to play “Thrift Shop.” Kind of surprised.
17:30 – Demetrius Treadwell called for a loose ball foul. Kind of a weak call, he has a right to be upset.
16:20 – Offutt takes it strong to the hoop late in the shot clock for a layup. Refer to my last post about him.
15:00 – Akron takes its first lead since 16:42 in the first half. Gilliam cans a three “deep in the Q” to give the Zips a five-point lead. Momentum: shifted.
14:55 – Christian burns a timeout. Akron fans are loud through the whole time out. Energy is definitely on the Zips side.
13:27 – Remember that cold streak I predicted? Yeah, it’s happening now. Akron is on a 9-0 run, and Ohio hasn’t scored in nearly two minutes. Sloppy turnovers, missed rebounds all over the place.
12:57 – Treadwell bends over in pain after blocking Ricardo Johnson’s shot, but remains in the game.
11:56 – A banana and a zip lock bag of popcorn were included as a prize for the high low game. What?
10:42 – Cooper has only two points. Not sure if I’m reading that right…yeah I am. Wow.
9:05 – Hall air balls a three. There just doesn’t seem to be the magic surrounding this Ohio team tonight.
7:49 – Ohio has yet to hit a three pointer in the second half. They are 0-6 from beyond the arc this half, 1-14 for the game.
6:44 – Akron takes an 11 point lead on a Harney and-1. It is now desperation time for Ohio.
6:14- A loose ball is picked up by Akron and laid in by Kretzer. It’s been one of those days for Ohio.
5:16 – Cooper misses a contested layup. That makes him 0-6 from the field. I can’t make this stuff up.
4:30 – Treadwell gets the crowd on its feet with an incredible reverse layup. Offutt travels seconds later. Akron leads by 14. This one is on the verge of a blowout.
3:12 – Ohio seems content to let the clock run out. The Bobcats are standing around on defense. The spark is gone. Ohio wanted it more in the first half. Akron wants it more now.
2:44 – First images of Bobcat fans filing for the exits.
2:09- Akron fans chant “Where is Cooper?” Excellent question.
1:00 – Ohio is done. Standing around waiting to get out of the Q.
:00 – The end of an era. The most successful class in Ohio history walks off the court without a final MAC championship. After last year’s run, it’s hard to imagine that this is how it would end for the Bobcats. Even with a possible NIT berth, I always imagined this team was destined for more.