Updated Sat, Mar 16, 2013 1:02 am
Akron 62, Kent State 59
No. 1 Akron
Zeke Marshall: 18 points, 10 rebounds, 7 blocks
Demetrius Treadwell: 14 points, 12 rebounds, 3 steals
No. 4 Kent State
Randall Holt: 19 points, 5 assists, 3 steals
Chris Evans: 6 points, 9 rebounds, 1-11 field goals
Without point guard Alex Abreu for the second straight game, Akron relied on the post presence of Zeke Marshall and Demetrius Treadwell. The two combined for 32 points and 22 rebounds as the Zips outmuscled Kent State in the paint. Marshall's seven blocks and Treadwell's three steals on the defensive end also came at key moments in the game.
Just before the end of the first half, Chris Evans drove down a wide-open lane and rose for a thunderous dunk over Marshall, the MAC Defensive Player of the Year. That was the only field goal that Kent State's First Team All-MAC forward made all game, however. Evans was 1-for-11 from the field and fouled out with 36 seconds left after missing a potential game-tying layup.
Randall Holt picked up Evans' slack with a game-high 19 points on 7-of-14 shooting. The senior's hot hand carried the Golden Flashes' offense, as he was only Kent State player in double-figures. Holt cooled off late in the game, though, missing two 3-pointers in the final 15 seconds that would have given Kent State the lead.
In two games without Abreu, the Zips are averaging just 63 points, well off thier season average of 73.3. Backup point guard Carmelo Betancourt had just two assists and 4 turnovers Friday, as Akron struggled to move the ball against heavy ball pressure.
Despite some concerns surrouding the Zips' point guard situation, Akron is headed to a seventh consecutive MAC Championship Game. The Zips are just 2-4 in the previous six. Akron will meet the winner of the second semifinal between Ohio and Western Michigan in the conference title game Saturday at 6:30 p.m.