CLEVELAND – With four quarterfinals games today I am just going to get the highlights of the games and try to give fans a flavor for what is going.
Game One: WMU vs EMU
Led by David Kool’s 24 points No. 2 seed Western Michigan (20-11) beat No. 7 seed Eastern Michigan (14-17). In a game that Eastern Michigan never led, they did make it interesting when at the 10:34 mark they tied the game at 34-34 when Jarrad Axon made two foul shots, but that was a fleeting moment of joy as the Broncos closed it out to end Eastern Michigan’s season.
“We weren’t talking well on defense and they are a great shooting team. With this being their first game of the tournament, we knew they were going to be pumped up and ready to go and we did not match their intensity and that hurt us in the long run.”
EMU guard Travis Lewis.
-This is WSM’s first trip to the semifinals since 2005.
-The crowd for this game was rather meager considering that Michigan leads the country in unemployment. With all that free time you would think more of them would be here watching two Michigan teams play.
-WMU leads the all-time series with EMU 49-44.
-Western Michigan plays Akron at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Game Two: Akron vs CMU
Akron the No. 3 seed stayed true to form and whipped up on the No. 6 seed Central Michigan 81-60. This game was close for the first 23 minutes before the Zips opened up a double digit lead at the 16:42 mark. Akron’s Jeremiah Wood led all scorers with 17 points. Akron (22-9) shot 56 percent (28-50) from the field and 58.8 percent (10-17) from beyond the 3-point line. Central Michigan (14-17) shot just 34.5 percent (20-58).
“Today it was, ‘I just want to play basketball.’ Whatever I could do I wanted to do. We are in the part of the season where every game can be your last and I just wanted to leave everything out there.”
You thought the quote was going to be Akron coach Keith Dambrot and nine times out of 10 it usually is, just not today.
-Akron leads the all-time series with CMU 23-13.
-Akron plays Western Michigan at 7 p.m. on Friday.
Game Three: Kent State vs Toledo
No. 1 seed Kent State pounded No. 8 seed Toledo into submission 77-54. The first half was relatively close with Toledo (11-19) getting their biggest lead at three at 7-4 at the 16:42 mark. At halftime Kent State (26-6) led 39-29. In the second Kent just enlarged their lead as they were led by Mike Scott’s 23 points.
“On the court we do not think we should get any fouls. The officials made a few calls we did not necessarily agree with and the calls gave us a disadvantage and took away from us being aggressive.”
Toledo forward Jerrah Young.
-Kent State had a nice crowd at the game and they made a lot of noise.
-Toledo leads the all-time series with Kent 78-41.
-Kent State plays Miami at 9:30 p.m. on Friday night.
Game Four: Miami vs Ohio
A typical Miami/Ohio game that No. 5 seed Miami pulled out over No.4 seed Ohio 74-61. The game was a lot tighter than the score indicates. Miami (17-14) was led by Michael Bramos’ 23 points and after getting pounded on the boards by 19 in their last game, the RedHawks out-rebounded the Bobcats 42-31. With 2:10 left it was still a close game with Miami clinging to a four point lead at 63-59. Ohio would score just one more basketball in the game.
“I think we won with our guards and we got solid contributions from everybody on the boards. Last night we got out-rebounded by 19 so to come back to night and go plus 11 was a big thing.”
Miami forward Tyler Dierkers
-Ohio leads the all-time series with Miami 93-88.
-Miami plays Kent State Friday at 9:30 p.m.
-Miami has a four man broadcast team which is by far the biggest in the MAC. Steve Baker delivers the pbp, Joe Berry adds the color, Tim Bray gives sideline updates and Tommy Leugers engineers the whole mess. Some MAC schools simply have one guy that does all four jobs.
-And yes, Tim Bray actually does something besides carry Steve Baker’s luggage. At 1:30 p.m. today he was in the media room hard at work doing research for tonight’s game Miami/Ohio University game. Tommy Leugers calls him “Tidbit Tim” for all the great research he does that provides his reports. I would put that broadcast team up against any from the BCS programs.
-They are playing the woman’s tourney here at the same time as the regular tourney so it makes for a lot of downtime especially on Friday and Saturday for the fans and writers.
-Akron coach Keith Dambrot is one of the best quotes in college coaching and I like using him when I can. After I finished interviewing him he looked at my rather large stature and told me to come up to Akron to take a look at his program and he would take me to one of the best restaurants ever. That may just cost him a boatload of money someday. He also is not very PC which makes for a better interview.
-Ohio University has the best looking dance in the MAC.
-Miami’s coach Charlie Coles is not with the team. He had a heart procedure performed in a local hospital and there is no word as to when he might return. Assistant coach Jermaine Henderson is coaching the team for the remainder of the season.