MAC Championship Game: Akron vs. Kent State

CLEVELAND - 1:40 a.m.-CHAMPIONSHIP CELEBRATION GALLERY

Relive the moments that followed the Kent State Golden Flashes' 70-65 win over the Akron Zips in the Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship Game at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, Saturday night with our championship gallery.

10:34 p.m.--FINAL THOUGHTS

Matt and Dino put a bow on the 2017 MAC Tournament with a recap on Facebook Live. Thanks for plugging in with us these last few days and good luck to the Flashes as they head to the NCAA Tournament. 

9:47 p.m.--CONGRATULATIONS TO THE KENT STATE GOLDEN FLASHES

The Flashes won their fourth game in six night to capture the MAC Tournament title as they beat the Akron Zips by the final of 70-65. Read Matt's game story here. 

Make no mistake, this win means a lot to everyone in the Kent State community. They've watched Keith Dambrot build a juggernaut down the road in Akron, including a win over the Flashes in overtime in 2011 to win the MAC crown here at the Q. There's been plenty of pressure on Rob Senderoff to follow in the footsteps of Gary Waters, Stan Heath, and Jim Christian, all of whom took their KSU teams to the Dance. 

The All-Tournament team has been revealed for the 2017 MAC Tournament:

  • Jaylin Walker--Kent State
  • Jimmy Hall--Kent State
  • Isaiah Johnson--Akron
  • Antino Jackson--Akron
  • Jaaron Simmons--Ohio

Walker is your MAC Tournament MVP after (amongst other things) scoring 29 points in Kent's OT win over Central Michigan on Monday, hitting the game-winning shot in last night's semifinal win versus Ohio, and scoring a game-high 30 points this evening.

If you're scoring at home, Dino and Florjancic both had four of the five players on our list. Both of us also picked Hall for MVP, but have ZERO gripe with the selection of Walker. He was absolutely outstanding. 

More to come, including a postgame Facebook Live and a Championship gallery. 

9:31 p.m.--KENT STATE 66, AKRON 59, 16 SECONDS TO GO

Barring a miracle by Akron, Kent State is headed to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2008. Jaylin Walker has hit a couple of clutch free throws down the stretch, but the biggest shot of the game came from Mitch Peterson, who canned a three with the shot clock expiring to give the Flashes a nine point lead with 2:49 to play. It was Peterson's first points of the night. 

Plenty of postgame coverage coming up!

9:18 p.m.--KENT STATE 57, AKRON 49, 4:02 TO GO IN GAME

That's how you answer an Akron surge, Kent State! The Flashes are on a 10-0 run and have opened up an eight point lead. Keith Dambrot just took a timeout prior to the final media stoppage to give his team (particularly Isaiah Johnson) a little extra rest. 

Jaylin Walker has been absolutely superb for the Golden Flashes tonight with 24 points and 6 rebounds. Also on the Kent State side of things, Deon Edwin just picked up his fourth foul. A moment earlier, he had a great strip of Johnson that led to a Jimmy Hall breakaway dunk at the other end. 

9:07 p.m.--AKRON 49, KENT STATE 47, 7:59 TO GO IN GAME

Hello Josh Williams!  Akron's sophomore sharpshooter has hit a pair of three pointers to put the Zips ahead 49-47. Apparently, he'd like to be considered for the All Tournament team. He's got 12 points on the evening. 

Offensive rebounds have been huge in Akron's comeback. The Zips have outrebounded Kent 8-3 on the offensive glass this evening. 

Jimmy Hall is getting frustrated as Akron's constant double-teaming have caused him to make a couple of turnovers in the last couple of minutes.

8:59 p.m.--KENT STATE 43, AKRON 41, 11:27 TO GO IN GAME

Matt and I were just handed our ballots for the 2017 MAC All-Tournament Team. We are pondering our way through the second half.  I think I can safely say that both Mr. Hall for Kent State and Mr. Johnson for Akron will be there.

Also, props to Matt for an outstanding picture of Kent State Head Coach Rob Senderoff who perhaps wasn't a big fan of the Browns not bringing back Terrelle Pryor.

8:46 p.m.--KENT STATE 36, AKRON 28, 15:58 TO GO IN GAME

The Golden Flashes have opened up their largest lead of the game, and also just dodged a bullet. Isaiah Johnson was posting up against Jimmy Hall and Deon Edwin and drew a foul, which was called on Jaylin Walker. It would have been Hall's third foul, or Edwin's fourth. 

The Zips need to find some offense outside of Johnson. Antino Jackson has been held scoreless to this point, Kwan Cheatham has just two points, as does Noah Robotham. Someone needs to get hot for the Zips. 

8:35 p.m.--THE PHOTO GALLERY IS UP

Matt has posted our MAC Championship photo gallery. 

Just about ready to get the second half underway. 

8:26 p.m.--KENT STATE 27, AKRON 24, HALFTIME

Halftime at the Q finds the Golden Flashes holding a three point lead over the Zips.  Really the only negative for Kent State in the first half was foul trouble. Adonis De La Rosa picked up three fouls trying to body up on Isaiah Johnson while Jimmy Hall was getting some rest. Hall picked up two fouls as well.

If you're Akron, you have to be happy that despite early shooting struggles, you are right where you need to be. Johnson is also playing very well so far with 10 points. 

Jaylin Walker leads all scorers with 11 points. 

8:18 p.m.--KENT STATE 25, AKRON 22, 1:26 TO PLAY IN THE FIRST HALF

As expected, the crowd tonight at the Q is fantastic. The lower bowl is completely full and the second level looks mostly packed as well (they keep the top level curtained off). You felt a big surge when Akron's Josh Williams hit the Zips first 3-point basket of the night to give UA their first lead at 22-21. It didn't last long as Jimmy Hall came right back and hit a floater as the shot clock expired.  

Hall might have a double-double before we reach halftime, he's got 10 points and 8 rebounds as we finish up this final media timeout of the half. 

8:08 p.m.--KENT STATE 15, AKRON 12, 7:58 TO PLAY IN THE FIRST HALF

Matthew "Michael Kors" Florjancic has registered his opinion on Kent State's decision to wear the gold uniforms tonight instead of last night's black jerseys, "That's a fail."  See for yourself:

8:02 p.m.--KENT STATE 13, AKRON 10, 10:35 TO PLAY IN THE FIRST HALF

Akron is struggling with their shot in the early going, hitting just 3 for 13 from the field, including 0 for 5 from beyond the three-point line. Yet, they're right where they need to be. 

Both coaches have been strategic in when they are resting their star big men. Keith Dambrot took Isaiah Johnson out after the under 16 media time out. After Jimmy Hall hit a shot over Kwan Cheatham, back came Johnson. Rob Senderoff responded by taking out Hall. It's a chess match.

One thing to note: Akron will be in the bonus now for the rest of the half. 

7:47 p.m.--KENT STATE 9, AKRON 3, 15:37 TO PLAY IN THE FIRST HALF

Jaylin Walker has picked up right where he left off last night for Kent State. The Flashes guard has five of Kent's first 9 points as they take an early six point lead at the first media timeout.

One other point to watch tonight that Matt and I might have neglected to mention during the Facebook Live with Jimmy Hall and Isaiah Johnson: Fouls. Neither team can afford to have their star in any kind of foul trouble this evening. Hall picked up one just a few moments ago. 

7:37 p.m.--PREGAME WRAPPING UP

You have to like when the Q uses 'old school' music to introduce the two teams. Kent State was introduced to the stirring sounds of Europe's 'The Final Countdown' while the Zips get 'Sirius' by The Alan Parsons Project.

Synthesizers for everyone!

As you get ready to enjoy the game, here's our Facebook Live preview of all of the action. 

6:50 p.m.--WELCOME BACK TO THE Q FOR THE MAC CHAMPIONSHIP

Dino and Matt are back courtside at Quicken Loans Arena for the 2017 Mid-American Conference Men's Basketball Tournament Championship. It should be a special night as backyard rivals are set to meet for the right to advance to the NCAA Tournament. Top seeded Akron against #6 Kent State. Tip off set for just after 7:30 p.m.

We'll have plenty of coverage coming your way tonight, including Facebook Lives, photo gallery, Matt's game story, and much more. 

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