11:00 p.m. - FINAL: EASTERN MICHIGAN COMPLETES COMEBACK WITH 67-58 WIN OVER AKRON
This is one that is going to sting for a while for John Groce's Akron Zips. After being down 47-28 with 12:30 to go in the game, Eastern Michigan went on a furious 39-11 run to win 67-58. Eastern Michigan will head to tomorrow night's MAC Semifinals and a date with West Division-rival Toledo.
Elijah Minnie finished with a game-high 21 points to go with 14 rebounds. Tim Bond and Paul Jackson each added 15 points.
Akron finishes the season 14-18. They will learn from this disappointment. This was a game that they were in complete control of, but let slip away.
Daniel Utomi led the Zips with 14 points.
10:53 p.m. - PAUL JACKSON LEADS EASTERN MICHIGAN TO THEIR FIRST LEAD OF THE GAME
Junior guard Paul Jackson's and-one basket with 2:23 to go has given Eastern their first lead of the night. The No. 3 Eagles lead Akron 60-58 as we tick down to just over a minute to play. Great comeback by EMU. Hang on.
10:46 p.m.- EAGLES ARE SOARING
How about a 20-3 run by Rob Murphy's Eastern Michigan Eagles to battle back after being down by 19 points here in the 2nd half. Suddenly, it's Akron up by just one possession at 57-54 with 4:03 to play.
Eastern Michigan has frustrated Akron with their press defense. The Zips have coughed it up 14 times this evening.
10:34 p.m. - WHY NOT...ANOTHER TECHNICAL FOUL
Akron's Jimond Ivey made a bad mistake with 8:08 to go. Upset at a call that didn't go his way, he slammed the basketball to the floor and received a technical. The result? A 5-point trip by Eastern Michigan to cut the deficit down to 54-44. That's four technical fouls tonight, two from each team.
More importantly for the Eagles, they have a little life.
10:18 p.m. - ANOTHER EASTERN MICHIGAN TECHNICAL FOUL
It was Tim Bond in the first half for the Eagles, now James Thompson IV has been teed up for the Eagles. Thompson was called for an offensive foul for hitting Daniel Utomi up high with an elbow, then he jawed with the officials, who have a low tolerance tonight. Suddenly with two free throws and the ball, Akron has upped their lead to 45-27, their largest of the game. We're closing in on 12 minutes to go in the game, Eastern had better settle down and figure out how they can make a comeback.
10:07 p.m. - FIRST MEDIA TIMEOUT OF 2ND HALF WITH ZIPS IN CONTROL
Akron began the 2nd half with three-point baskets from Malcolm Duvivier, Eric Parrish, and Jimond Ivey to open up their largest lead of the game, 40-26 over the Eagles with 15:59 to go in the game.
Eastern's Elijah Minnie is almost single-handedly keeping his team in the game right now. He has 10 points and 4 rebounds.
Coming out of the timeout, Akron Head Coach John Groce just got hit with a technical foul. Could this give the Eagles a chance to get out of their rut and back into the game?
9:47 p.m. - AKRON LEADS EASTERN MICHIGAN, 31-22, AT THE HALF
Coming into this game, the story was how would Akron manage against Eastern's zone? So far, so good. The Zips lead by 9 at the break and are playing terrific right now. Malcolm Duvivier leads the way with 9 points (all on triples). Akron has out-rebounded EMU, 20-13 and has 9 assists to just two for the Eagles.
Eastern Michigan is shooting a meager 32% from the field, including 2-11 from 3-point range.
So far, so good for John Groce's Zips. You have to wonder if their win over Kent State last Friday or the comeback against WMU was the spark for potentially something great.
20 minutes to go for a date with the Toledo Rockets tomorrow night.
9:42 p.m. - TEMPER, TEMPER
Could be a moment in this game to stick a pin into. As we went under a minute to play in the first half, EMU's Tim Bond made an errand pass to start an Akron fast break. Bond came back on defense and nearly had a chasedown block on Akron's Eric Parrish. Bond protested the foul and got teed up by the officials.
Also, it's good to see that the Akron faithful traveled well despite the rough weather tonight:
9:27 p.m. - ZIPS KEEP PRESSURE ON, LEAD 20-12
Akron is absolutely owning the boards right now, out-rebounding EMU 15-8 to help them to a 20-12 lead with 6:19 to play in the first half.
The Zips have been balanced so far. All five starters have already scored, including 6 points apiece from guards Malcolm Duvivier and Jimond Ivey.
9:21 p.m. - MAC SCOREBOARD UPDATE
Here's where we stand as the Zips and Eagles wrap up the quarterfinal quadrupleheader at the Q:
Top ranked Buffalo defeated Central Michigan, 89-74. The Bulls will face Kent State in the first MAC semifinal tomorrow night. The Golden Flashes held off Ball State, 76-73. Read Matt Florjancic's game story here.
Earlier tonight, No. 2 Toledo edged Miami 71-69. The Rockets await either Akron or EMU tomorrow.
9:14 p.m. - HOT START FOR THE ZIPS!
Now that's how you want to come out of the gates as an underdog! The Zips went inside and outside to build a 10-0 lead as the two teams hit the first media timeout with 15:27 to play.
One thing to watch tonight: Eastern uses a suffocating half-court zone defense. Teams sometimes just settle for outside shots instead of attacking the rim. Let's see if Akron can stay aggressive.
9:02 p.m. - AKRON AND EASTERN MICHIGAN UNDERWAY AT THE Q
The final MAC Tournament quarterfinal matchup of the night pits the No. 11 seed Akron Zips against the No. 3 Eastern Michigan Eagles. The Zips check in with a 14-17 overall record and 6-12 in the MAC. They used a mammoth comeback after being down 18-0 and 27-4 to Western Michigan to beat the Broncos, 79-78.
Eastern Michigan checks in at 20-11 overall record and 11-7 in MAC play. The Eagles closed the regular season with winners of 6 straight and 9 of their last 11.
The Zips may be young, but their head coach John Groce has a ton of experience coaching in this tournament. Don't be shocked if Akron is able to find a way to post another upset tonight.
4:33 p.m.-KENT STATE ADVANCES TO MAC SEMIFINALS
CLEVELAND -- The Kent State Golden Flashes are moving on in the 2018 Mid-American Conference Tournament.
Seeded fifth entering the tournament, the Golden Flashes (17-16) fought their way to a 76-73 victory over the No. 4 seed in the field, the Ball State Cardinals (19-13) in the quarterfinals at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland Thursday.
With the victory, the Golden Flashes will take on the top seed in the tournament, the Buffalo Bulls, in the semifinals on Friday night.
Kent State got double-digit scoring production from four of its five starters, including a game-high 19 points from junior guard Jaylin Walker, who was four of 10 from three-point range in the win over Ball State, while fellow guards Kevin Zabo and Jalen Avery added 17 and 15 points, respectively.
Center Adonis De La Rosa tallied a double-double of 17 points and 10 rebounds to go along with an assist and a pair of steals. De La Rosa made only two field goals, but drew eight fouls and knocked down 13 of his 16 attempts from the charity stripe.
3:54 p.m.-KENT STATE CONTINUES STRONG RUN
CLEVELAND -- After starting the second half strong, the Kent State Golden Flashes continued their run over the next four minutes of play and took a 56-47 lead over the Ball State Cardinals into a media timeout with 11:54 left in the second half of their quarterfinal matchup in the 2018 Mid-American Conference Tournament at Quicken Loans Arena.
The fifth-seeded Golden Flashes utilized the dribble-drive ability their guards, Jaylen Walker and Kevin Zabo, but build onto their advantage.
After center Adonis De La Rosa kept alive a possession by securing an offensive rebound, Walker got the ball on the left side of the floor and used his speed and athleticism to not only get a step on a defender, but also, knock down a layup.
Then, Zabo got a pair of layups to go over the next minute, including one after a mad scramble that saw freshman forward BJ Duling track down a deflected ball in the backcourt, fire a pass across the timeline despite taking contact from a Ball State guard and get Kent State back into the flow of the offense.
Zabo beat his man off the dribble, finished at the rim and drew a foul in the process. The made free throw gave the Golden Flashes a nine-point edge.
3:43 p.m.-KENT STATE STARTS SECOND HALF STRONG
CLEVELAND -- The Kent State Golden Flashes opened the second half strong and behind a pair of three-pointers and some interior scoring, staked themselves out to a 49-44 lead over the Ball State Cardinals with 15:47 to play in the second half of their quarterfinal matchup in the 2018 Mid-American Conference Tournament at Quicken Loans Arena.
Junior guard Jaylin Walker got the Golden Flashes on the board in the second half when he buried a three-pointer, which answered the jumper that Trey Moses knocked down for the Cardinals on the other end of the floor.
Then, after center Adonis De La Rosa made two free throws and forward Danny Pippen got a layup to go, junior guard Jalen Avery buried his third three-pointer of the game for the Golden Flashes.
3:20 p.m.-KENT STATE DRAWS EVEN WITH BALL STATE AT HALFTIME
CLEVELAND -- Because of Kevin Zabo’s driving layup late in the first half, the fifth-seeded Kent State Golden Flashes and No. 4 Ball State Cardinals took a 39-39 tie into the halftime intermission in the quarterfinals of the 2018 Mid-American Conference at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland.
After being down by as many as 10 points midway through the first half, Ball State stormed back with a 21-10 scoring run that was fueled by the three-point shot.
One of just three Ball State reserves to play in the first half, freshman forward Zach Gunn proved to be the catalyst on the scoring run, as he buried four shots from beyond the arc on the way to a team-high 12 points.
Additionally, forward Kyle Mallers connected on a long-distance shot during the run.
Kent State answered when junior center Adonis De La Rosa utilized a pump fake to get around a defender along the baseline, threw down a right-handed dunk that drew a foul and brought the Golden Flashes’ fans to their feet in the process. De La Rosa knotted the game at 37 when he knocked down the free throw.
2:58 p.m.-KENT STATE PUSHES LEAD TO SEVEN
CLEVELAND -- After the first break in the quarterfinal matchup between the Kent State Golden Flashes and Ball State Cardinals in the 2018 Mid-American Conference Tournament at Quicken Loans Arena, the fifth-seeded Flashes held a 10-8 advantage, and that lead expanded over the next eight minutes.
Sophomore forward Mitch Peterson initiated the run when he caught a pass from guard Jalen Avery on the right wing and buried a three-pointer. Then, on the next trip down the floor, Avery got his number called and responded with a triple of his own, which gave Kent State a 16-10 edge with 12:44 to play in the half.
Following the conversion of three free throws over the next 65 seconds, Kent State went nearly two minutes without a score, but fortunately, for the Golden Flashes, the Cardinals could not find the bottom of the net much either.
When guard Kevin Zabo pulled down a defensive rebound and converted a right-handed layup after running the length of the floor, the Flashes went up by a 21-12 count with 9:57 to play.
Kent State pushed the lead out to 10 points, 24-14, when Avery buried another three-pointer.
2:40 p.m.-KENT STATE STORMS OUT TO LEAD
CLEVELAND -- The Kent State Golden Flashes started out slowly against Ball State in the quarterfinals of the 2018 Mid-American Conference Tournament, but behind the play of junior guards Jalen Avery and Jaylin Walker, they recovered well and took a 10-8 lead into the first media timeout.
Avery got the run started when he knocked down a layup in the lane, drew a foul and buried the ensuing free throw. Then, after Ball State’s Tahjai Teague threw down a dunk, Walker caught a pass on the right wing and hit a three-pointer to knot the score at 8-8 with 15:21 left in the half.
Then, on the next possession, Avery converted a layup that put the Flashes in front for the first time since they held a 2-0 advantage.
2:30 p.m.-KENT STATE TAKES ON BALL STATE IN MAC QUARTERS
CLEVELAND -- The Kent State men's basketball team opened pursuit of its second straight Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship with a 61-59 win over Northern Illinois at the M.A.C. Center in Kent on Monday night, and now, they look to move onto the semifinals as the action shifts to Quicken Loans Arena.
The fifth-seeded Golden Flashes (16-16) take on the No. 4 seed in the tournament, the Ball State Cardinals (19-12) in the MAC quarterfinals with a trip to Friday night's semis on the line.
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