AKRON, Ohio. —- The atmosphere inside the home of the University of Akron’s James A Rhodes Field House at the start of the 2011 edition of the Mid-American Conference Men’s basketball Tournament first round action – charged and full of electricity.
Eastern Michigan University stepped onto the court as the 11th seed and into a hostile environment at the University of Akron.
The Zips finished the season strong at the end of season and it was enough to gain a six seed and a chance to host a tournament home game.
The two teams met last season in a quarterfinal game back on March 11, 2010 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio in a double overtime thriller with the Zips getting off of the court with a 97-89 hard fought victory.
That was then – ancient history.
The University of Akron drive toward the conference crown and a trip to the NCAA Tournament will be continuing onward to Cleveland, Ohio and their run in the Mid-American Conference Tournament at Quicken Arena because the Zips made shots and Eastern Michigan University could not and lost to the Zips 67-53, in front of 1,431 happy Akron fans.
“Yeah they played and showed a zone before against us and it was a smart move considering the way we shot the ball,” Ramsey said about his team inability to score against Akron’s zone defense. “It was one of those things that is contagious we had some descent looks but once they did not fall they did a good job in staying in it and it kept them out of foul trouble.”
“This game is the most pressure filled than any for me as a coach,” University of Akron basketball coach Keith Dambrot said about the game. “I do not worry about the championship game or the next one, these are the type of games are hard because people think that you are suppose to win and we have had a hard time with them.”
The off season work for the Eagles will be focused on shooting and making free throws.
Eastern Michigan University made 23 trips to the free throw line and only could convert 11 points from the line.
“It is not like we don’t shot free throws everyday I have a six and an 11 year old at home that can make free throws. Free throws are a mental confidence type of thing,” Ramsey said about his team’s inaccurate free throw shooting. “We shot them early and in the middle of practice and we shot them when we are tired. It is a mental thing and what happens also as you can see. When you get on a string of making them it is contagious and when you get on a string of missing them it is contagious and today it was very contagious.”
Eastern Michigan University is ranked 11th in free throw percentage by shooting an unimpressive 63 percent, leading the league is Miami University with a cool 74 percent.
Eastern Michigan University came out and started the game focused and scored the first points but the same problem that plagued the Eagle offense all season happen the Eagles could not score any points.
When the Eastern Michigan University offense struggle to score points then the Eagles lose focus and player begin to panic and they fall in love with the perimeter area and jump shots.
“Our best three point shooter is 1 of 8 with some pretty good looks,” Ramsey said. “In the balance we cut it down to a five point game with the ball and we promptly turn it over we don’t even get a shot attempting we have the momentum and we take and give it up on turnovers.”
Eastern Michigan University put together a small run at the end of the first half but still trailed the Zips 31-22 when the horn sounded the end of time.
The Eagles finished the first half shooting just 30.8 percent from the field; the Zips offense weaved there way through the Eagle defense and shot an impressive 48 percent, including 3 of 5 behind the three-point arch.
The Eagles came out back on the floor in the second half and pressured the ball and got a chance to get back into the game but their inability to get points with the benefit of a stopped clock finished the season for the Eagles.
Finishing his career at Eastern Michigan University, senior power forward Brandon Bowdry led the Eagles with 14 points and just eight rebounds.
Bowdry only needed two rebounds to be included in the 1,000 rebound club, he finishes with 1,006 rebounds and is second behind the all-time leader at Eastern Michigan University Kennedy McIntosh who finished his career with 1,426 rebounds.
Zips had four players in double digits led by forward Nikola Cvetinovic with 13 points and six rebounds, Akron finished the game shooting a crisp 48.9 percent from the floor.
“It is our season in a nutshell our veteran have not stepped up and lead the young guys,” Ramsey said. That is why we are going home.”
The shooting failed, the free throws failed and the chance to make some noise in the tournament short-circuit and the season is now over for the Eagles.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.