Archive for March 4th, 2017
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Kent, Ohio – The Akron Zips defeated rival Kent State 66-56 at the M.A.C. Center in a Crystal Clinic Wagon Wheel Challenge showdown on ESPN2 on Friday evening. The Zips earned a valuable half point for the Wagon Wheel Challenge to increase Akron’s lead to 6-3 against Kent State.
With the win, the Zips snapped the Golden Flashes five game winning streak as Akron finished regular season play with a 24-7 overall record and 14-4 in Mid-American Conference play. Kent State finished 18-13 overall and 10-8 in league play, earning a No. 6 seed in next week’s MAC Tournament. The Zips secured the No. 1 seed and MAC Regular-Season Championship on Feb. 25.
Akron used a balanced scoring attack for the season finale win as Jimond Ivey (Cleveland, Ohio) and Isaiah Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio) posted double-double performances. Ivey led the squad with 14 points and 12 rebounds, while Johnson had 10 points and 10 boards. Noah Robotham (Las Vegas, Nev.) followed as the Zips’ second leading scorer with 12 points, and Daniel Utomi (Houston, Texas) also notched double figures, scoring 10 points. Kwan Cheatham, Jr. (Cincinnati, Ohio) and Antino Jackson (Houston, Texas) added seven points apiece.
Jimmy Hall led the Golden Flashes with 16 points and 11 rebounds, while Jaylin Walker and Deon Edwin chipped in 13 points and 12 points, respectively.
Akron used an 11-0 run with 3:48 remaining in the game to take its largest lead of the night, 66-53, sparked by a 3-pointer on the left wing from Robotham. Johnson followed with a layup and Robotham knocked down a baseline jumper for a 63-53 advantage with 2:27 left in regulation. Moments later, Ivey delivered the dagger from long distance, extending Akron’s lead to 66-53 with 1:45 left to play. The Golden Flashes added two free throws before the final buzzer sounded.
Akron shot 41 percent from the field (25-of-61), including a 34.8 percent effort from behind the 3-point arc (8-of-12). The Zips added a 66.7 percent effort from the charity stripe (8-of-23) along with nine assists, six steals, and four blocked shots. Ivey secured a team-high three steals.
The battle of the boards was deadlocked at 40 rebounds apiece, while both teams committed nine turnovers each.
Kent State shot 33.3 percent from the floor (20-of-60), and Akron’s defense limited the Golden Flashes to shoot just 13.6 percent from deep (3-of-22).
Cheatham started the scoring with a trifecta, and Robotham found Johnson for the game’s second bucket. After a KSU layin by Hall, Akron knocked down back-to-back 3-pointers as Jackson and Robotham lifted the Zips to a 13-6 advantage by the initial media timeout.
Hall answered with a fourth layup, but Williams and Ivey combined for consecutive points in the paint. Williams hit a floater off the glass while streaking down the lane, and he Ivey cutting to the rim for a 19-13 advantage after a steal.
Kent State scored six straight points, while holding the Zips without a field goal for just over four minutes. Emmanuel Olojakpoke (Houston, Texas) ended the scoring silence with dunk and followed with another rim-rocker to put the Zips ahead, 23-19 with 5:53 left in the first half. The two teams traded blows as Akron went into the locker room clinging to a 32-28 halftime lead.
In the second half, Johnson started the scoring, but Kent State rattled-off nine consecutive points to establish its first lead of the game, 37-36. The KSU advantage didn’t last long as Ivey finished at the rim, and followed with a 3-point play opportunity. Ivey knocked down the free shot after the under-16 media timeout.
The Zips pushed the lead to five points after a Utomi 3-ball, 44-39, but Kent State’s Jimmy Hall answreed with a jump hook in the lane. Jackson split a pair of free throws, and a Robotham steal setup a finish at the rim for Ivey. The Zips led 47-41 with 10:49 left to play.
After a Johnson layup gave the Zips a seven point advantage, 52-45, Johnson picked up his fourth foul and became a spectator at 6:48 for the next two minutes. During that time, Kent State used back-to-back layins to cut the Zips’ lead to three points, 56-53 with 4:55 left to play.
When Johnson returned to the floor, Akron capitalized on two Kent State missed free throws. Johnson followed with a strong post move, and Ivey delivered the final bucket for the win.
Akron will be back in action at the MAC Tournament on Thursday, March 9 at 12 p.m., at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio against the winner of Monday’s opening round games. The Zips await the winner of the No. 8 Eastern Michigan and No. 9 Northern Illinois game.
2017 MAC Men’s Basketball Tournament Presented by VisitMyrtleBeach.com
Monday, March 6th, 2017 — First Round (High Seed Campus Sites)
Game 1: No. 9 Northern Illinois at No. 8 Eastern Michigan, Time TBA
Game 2: No. 12 Miami at No. 5 Western Michigan, Time TBA
Game 3: No. 10 Bowling Green at No. 7 Toledo, Time TBA
Game 4: No. 11 Central Michigan at No. 6 Kent State, Time TBA
Thursday, March 9th, 2017 — Quarterfinals
Game 5: Game 1 Winner vs. No. 1 Akron, Noon ET ^
Game 6: Game 2 Winner vs. No. 4 Ball State, Time TBA ^*
Game 7: Game 3 Winner vs. No. 2 Ohio, 6:30 p.m. ET ^
Game 8: Game 4 Winner vs. No. 3 Buffalo, Time TBA ^*
Friday, March 10th, 2017 — Semifinals
Game 9: Game 5 Winner vs. Game 6 Winner, 5:30 p.m. ET #
Game 10: Game 7 Winner vs. Game 8 Winner, 8:00 p.m. ET #
Saturday, March 11th, 2017 — MAC Championship
Game 11: Game 9 Winner vs. Game 10 Winner, 7:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2/WatchESPN)
^ Game will be televised on BCSN/Spectrum Sports/ESPN3
# Game will be televised on CBS Sports Network
*30 minutes following the completion of the first game of the session.
GAME RECAP WRITTEN BY Brian Dennison; COURTESY AKRON ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS
Football Names Gino Guidugli Running Backs Coach
CINCINNATI – University of Cincinnati Football Head Coach Luke Fickell tabbed former standout QB Gino Guidugli to coach the Bearcats running backs.
Guidugli, a member of UC’s James P. Kelly Sr. Athletics Hall of Fame and a charter member of Nippert Stadium’s Ring of Honor, returned to his alma mater after spending six seasons at Central Michigan. He replaces Gerad Parker, who resigned on Feb. 17, 2017.
Guidugli’s hire completes Fickell’s inaugural on-field staff. Guidugli joins offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Denbrock, offensive line coach Ron Crook, defensive coordinator/linebackers coach Marcus Freeman, cornerbacks coach Willie Martinez, special teams coordinator/tight ends coach Doug Phillips, wide receivers coach Joker Phillips, safeties coach Jon Tenuta, defensive line coach Al Washington and director of football sports performance Brady Collins.
“It’s a tremendous opportunity to bring a young, talented coach back to his alma mater,” Fickell said. “Gino is an up-and-coming offensive mind, has the reputation of being a strong recruiter and was an excellent quarterback at Cincinnati during his playing days. He helped build this program, graduated from this University and knows what it takes to succeed here.”
Guidugli was named CMU’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach following the 2016 campaign after previously serving as the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. He started his coaching career as a graduate assistant at CMU from 2010-12, assisting with the wide receivers and defensive scout team. Guidugli mentored a pair of NFL running backs during his time in Mt. Pleasant, Thomas Rawls and Zurlon Tipton.
Prior to joining the coaching ranks, Guidugli played professionally in the Arena and Canadian Football Leagues. He had two stints with the Green Bay Blizzard of AFL2 in 2007 and 2009. He played for the AFL’s New York Dragons in 2008, the CFL’s British Columbia Lions in 2007 and 2008 before closing out his pro career with the AFL’s Milwaukee Mustangs, passing for 4,872 yards and 86 touchdowns in 2012.
Guidugi led Cincinnati to three bowl berths during his four-year career as a starter, earning the Claude Rost Team MVP award in 2001 and 2004, the MVP of the 2004 Fort Worth Bowl, a three-time Conference USA Scholar Athlete and a Freshman All-America selection.
He still holds UC’s career records for passing yards (11,453), attempts (1,556), completions (880) and TD passes (78), along with the single-season marks for passing yards (3,543), attempts (472) and completions (258). He is the only signal-caller in school history to throw for 3,500 or more yards in a season and had 14 career 300-yard passing games.
He was tabbed for the Nippert Stadium Ring of Honor in 2005 and inducted into the James P. Kelly Sr. UC Athletics Hall of Fame in October 2013. The Fort Thomas, Kentucky, native was a standout basketball and football player at powerhouse Highlands HS and was part of three state championship football teams. He still ranks in the KHSAA record books as one of the top QBs in the state’s history.
He and his wife, Michelle, have a son, Ryland. His brother Ben played at Cincinnati from 2007-10 and was a key part of two conference championship teams and later played in the NFL for the St. Louis Rams.
Season tickets for the 2017 campaign, starting at $99, are on sale now and can be renewed or purchased by calling 1-877-CATS-TIX or visiting GoBEARCATS.com/tickets.The renewal period for existing patrons will run from Monday, Feb. 12, 2017, until March 31, 2017. New season ticket orders can be placed with a $50 deposit. New orders will be fulfilled starting in April 2017.
PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY Ryan Koslen; COURTESY UC SPORTS COMMUNICATIONS
(29 saves) recorded his fourth shutout of the season to move within one of tying the single-season Jets/Thrashers franchise record and lift Winnipeg within four points of a playoff spot . . . Matt Murray
(27 saves) earned his 24th win of 2016-17 to tie Gary Inness
(24-18-10 in 1974-75) for the most wins in a season by a Penguins rookie goaltender . . . Lightning forward Adam Erne
, a second-round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, scored his first career goal (7 GP) . . . Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews
scored the decisive marker in the shootout while playing in his 700th game . . . Mathieu Perreault
(3-7—10 in 6 GP), Dustin Byfuglien
(2-4—6 in 6 GP) and Nikita Kucherov
(7-6—13 in 5 GP) each extended point streaks . . . The Panthers welcomed the Stanley Cup
for Day 2 of the NHL Centennial Fan Arena’s three-day stop in South Florida . . . Alex Ovechkin delivered pizza to unsuspecting Capitals fans
as part of a charity benefit.
SNEAK PEEK AT SATURDAY’S ACTION
All Times Eastern
Colorado @ Winnipeg, 7 p.m., SN, ALT2
New Jersey @ Boston, 7 p.m., NESN, MSG+
Montreal @ NY Rangers, 7 p.m., NHLN-US, CBC, TVAS, MSG
Tampa Bay @ Buffalo, 7 p.m., MSG-B, SUN
Dallas @ Florida, 7 p.m., FS-F, FS-SW
Columbus @ Ottawa, 7 p.m., CITY, FS-O
Philadelphia @ Washington, 7:30 p.m., CSN-DC, CSN-PH
Chicago @ Nashville, 8 p.m., FS-TN, CSN-CH
Vancouver @ Los Angeles, 10 p.m., SN, FS-W
Detroit @ Edmonton, 10 p.m., CBC, FS-D
NBC Sports Channel Finder
Sportsnet Channel Finder
NHL Network Channel Finder
DIVISIONAL RACES SPOTLIGHT HOCKEY NIGHT IN CANADA SCHEDULE
Five of 10 games contested tonight will be part of the Hockey Night in Canada broadcast, highlighted by two key matchups in the Eastern Conference playoff picture: the Atlantic Division-leading Canadiens (36-21-8, 80 points) aim for a fifth straight win when they visit the Rangers (41-21-2, 84 points), who hold the first Wild Card spot but sit only two points out of second place in the Metropolitan Division; the Blue Jackets (40-16-6, 86 points), who occupy the No. 2 seed with two games in hand on New York, travel to Ottawa to battle the Senators (34-22-6, 74 points), who sit six points back of Montreal with three games in hand. In the other three contests, the Avalanche (17-42-3, 37 points) visit the Jets; the Canucks (26-30-7, 59 points) face off with the Kings (31-27-6, 68 points); and the Red Wings (25-26-11, 61 points) pay a visit to the Oilers (34-22-8, 76 points).
CAPITALS LOOK TO EXTEND STREAKS AT VERIZON CENTER
After establishing new franchise records for home win (14) and point streaks (15-0-1) in their last contest, the League-leading Capitals (43-13-7, 93 points) continue their pursuit of a second straight Presidents’ Trophy when they welcome the Flyers (30-26-7, 67 points) to town. Philadelphia, meanwhile, sits four points back of the Islanders (30-22-11, 71 points) for the second Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.
PRESS RELEASE WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHL MORNING SKATE PUBLICATION
PITTSBURGH 5, Tampa Bay 2
Arizona 4, CAROLINA 2
WINNIPEG 3, St. Louis 0
CHICAGO 2, NY Islanders 1 (SO)
CALGARY 3, Detroit 2 (OT)
ANAHEIM 5, Toronto 2
MALKIN POWERS PENGUINS IN MILESTONE GAME
Evgeni Malkin notched 2-1—3 while playing in his 700th NHL game (all w/ PIT) and Mark Streit (1-1—2), who was acquired from Tampa Bay on Wednesday, scored the game-winning goal in his team debut as Pittsburgh improved to 19-2-2 in its past 23 home games.
* At 39-16-8 (86 points), the Penguins moved into a tie – in terms of points – with the Blue Jackets (40-16-6, 86 points) for second place in the Metropolitan Division.
* Malkin – who also has reached milestones for career goals, assists and points this season (323-502—825) – recorded his fifth three-point effort of 2016-17 and the 74th such performance of his 11-season NHL career.
* Malkin ranks second on the team with 28 goals this season, matching his highest total since 2011-12 when he scored a career-high 50 goals en route to winning his second Art Ross Trophy as the League’s top point-getter (50-59—109 in 75 GP).
CLUBS EARN CRUCIAL WINS IN WESTERN PLAYOFF RACE
The Blackhawks (41-18-5, 87 points) and Flames (35-26-4, 74 points) each extended their win streaks to six games in contests that featured late tying goals, while the Ducks (33-21-10, 76 points) won in their return from the bye week to keep pace in the Western Conference playoff race:
* Artemi Panarin tied the game with 1:14 remaining in the third period and scored again in the shootout as Chicago rallied for their 11th win in their past 12 games. Panarin reached the 20-goal mark for the second time in as many NHL seasons as the Blackhawks moved within one point of the idle Wild (41-15-6, 88 points) for first place in the Western Conference. Minnesota holds two games in hand.
* The Flames yielded a tying goal with 1.8 seconds left in regulation, but Mikael Backlund scored in overtime – his 20th goal of the season – to help Calgary improve to 11-2-1 in their last 14 games. The Flames, who also went 6-0-0 from Nov. 30 – Dec. 10, 2016, have posted multiple win streaks of at least six games in the same season for the first time since 2006-07.
* Rickard Rakell (2-0—2) scored twice – including the eventual game-winning goal just 16 seconds after Jakob Silfverberg (1-0—1) tied the game – to help the Ducks pick up their third straight home win. Jonathan Bernier made 37 saves to earn the victory against his former club, as the Ducks leapfrogged the idle Oilers (34-22-8, 76 points) into second place in the Pacific Division, where seeds No. 2-4 are separated by only two
GAME RECAPS WRITTEN BY NHL PUBLIC RELATIONS; COURTESY NHL MORNING SKATE PUBLICATION
COLUMBUS CREW POST-GAME PRESS CONFERENCE
61,182 Gregg Berhalter Crew SC coach Team looked tired in 2nd half Did you sense that 3 4 2017
61,183 Gregg Berhalter Crew SC coach Things got out of hand in the 2nd half Team could not control game anymore 3 4 2017
61,184 Gregg Berhalter Crew SC coach How did new goalkeeper Zack Steffen do in his first game 3 4 2017
61,187 Gregg Berhalter Crew SC Ethan Finlay scored the goal and played well He is very important to the team 3 4 2017
61,188 Gregg Berhalter Crew SC Late goals in games hurt team in 2016 Already one in 2017 a concern 3 4 2017
61,190 Gregg Berhalter Crew SC coach On the offensive changes made over the winter you expecting more than 1 goal 3 4 2017
COLUMBUS CREW SC DRESSING ROOM
61,195 Jonathan Mensah Crew SC Defender On his first game in Columbus 3 4 2017 1:50
MATCH RECAP: COLUMBUS CREW SC 1, CHICAGO FIRE 1
Ethan Finlay scores his first goal of the season and 30th career tally in draw against Chicago Fire in Opening Match at MAPFRE Stadium;
Mohammed Abu, Artur, Jonathan Mensah, Jukka Raitala and Zack Steffen all make their Crew SC and Major League Soccer debuts
For Immediate Release: March 4, 2017
Columbus Crew SC 1 – Chicago Fire 1
MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
Saturday, March 4, 2017
NEXT MATCH FOR CREW SC (0-0-1, 1 point)
Columbus Crew SC at Houston Dynamo (BBVA Compass Stadium – Houston, Texas)
Saturday, March 11, 2017 (8:30 p.m. ET / The CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2, CD102.5 FM, La Mega 103.1 FM, English radio stream on ColumbusCrewSC.com).
MEDIA RESOURCES AVAILABLE
FULL BOX SCORE: http://bit.ly/2mo4vHG
TEAM STATISTICS: http://bit.ly/2mRmB2n
MATCH HIGHLIGHTS: http://bit.ly/2lJrZmx
HEAR FROM SPORTING DIRECTOR AND HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER IN POST-MATCH PRESS CONFERENCE: http://bit.ly/2n0f5l8
AUDIO FROM MIDFIELDER JUSTIN MERAM: http://bit.ly/2n0f5l8
TODAY’S MATCH INFO:
Venue: MAPFRE Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)
Referee: Fotis Bazakos
Assistants: Danny Thornberry, Kevin Klinger
Fourth Official: Mark Kadlecik
Weather: 35 degrees and partly cloudy
CLB – Ethan Finlay (Justin Meram) 17’
CHI – David Accam (John Goossens) 71’
CLB – Federico Higuain (caution) 41’
CHI – John Goossens (caution) 81’
Columbus Crew SC: Zack Steffen; Harrison Afful, Nico Naess, Jonathan Mensah, Jukka Raitala; Mohammed Abu (Artur 76’), Wil Trapp ©; Ethan Finlay, Federico Higuain, Justin Meram; Ola Kamara (Adam Jahn 69’)
Substitutes not used: Brad Stuver, Alex Crognale, Hector Jimenez, Connor Maloney, Niko Hansen
Chicago Fire: Jorge Bava; Michael Harrington, Johan Kappelhof, Joao Meira, Brandon Vincent; Arturo Alvarez (Luis Solignac 74’), Dax McCarty, John Goossens (Drew Conner 90+5’), David Accam; Nemanja Nikolic (David Arkashyan 90+2’), Michael de Leeuw ©
Substitutes not used: Matt Lampson, Brandt Bronico, Jonathan Campbell, Patrick Doody
Goalkeeper Zack Steffen made his regular-season debut for the club today …. Steffen signed with Columbus Crew SC as a Discovery Signing on July 22, 2016.
In addition to Zack Steffen’s debut, four other players made their Crew SC and MLS debuts today, including starts by defender Jukka Raitala, defender Jonathan Mensah and midfielder Mohammed Abu as well as a substitute appearance for midfielder Artur.
Midfielder Wil Trapp made his first appearance for the Black & Gold since being named team captain and his 94th regular-season appearance overall (91ststart).
Midfielder Ethan Finlay scored his 30th career goal and made his 132nd regular-season appearance (89th start).
Midfielder Justin Meram provided his 27th career assist and made his 155th regular-season appearance for the club (103rd start).
Crew SC next plays on Saturday, March 11 when it travels to BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas to take on the Houston Dynamo (8:30 p.m. ET / The CW Columbus, Spectrum Sports, BCSN2, CD102.5 FM, La Mega 103.1 FM, English radio stream on ColumbusCrewSC.com).
COLUMBUS CREW SC GAME NOTES:
The Fire lead the all-time league series with Columbus, holding a 24-17-18 record against Crew SC. Though Chicago haven’t beaten Crew SC in league play since June of 2013, they have a history of decent results at MAPFRE, having won 10 times and earned 8 draws in 29 all-time league visits – leading some of their fans to dub the venue “Firehouse East.”
CLB-CHI All-Time Meetings (59 matches since June 6, 1998):
- at Chicago (30 meetings): Fire lead 14-6-10 (46-36 in goals)
- at Columbus (29 meetings): Crew lead 11-10-8 (52-38 in goals)
- Suspended: None
- Int’l Duty: Cristian Martinez (Panama U-20s)
- Injury Report: Gaston Sauro (knee injury, out for season), Waylon Francis (right shoulder surgery), Abuchi Obinwa (left thigh strain), Ola Kamara (concussion symptoms)
The offseason departure of Steve Clark has opened up Crew SC’s No. 1 goalkeeping role, with US youth international Zack Steffen competing with Brad Stuver for the starting nod … Berhalter has hinted at the use of a three-man back line, and Crew SC may use a 3-4-3 look when chasing games. But for now they look set to keep faith in the width-oriented 4-2-3-1 that prospered in 2015 … Winter signings Artur, Jukka Raitala and Mohammed Abu were signed to vie for starting roles but all are new to MLS and may be given time to adapt.
CHICAGO FIRE GAME NOTES
Chicago have made dramatic changes to their roster this winter (nine players in, nine out) after two consecutive last-place finishes in the Eastern Conference, headlined by moves for midfielders Dax McCarty and Juninho and the signing of prolific finisher Nemanja Nikolic as a Designated Player.
Coach Veljko Paunovic and general manager Nelson Rodriguez have confessed to feeling keen pressure to qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2017, something the Fire have done just once this decade.
- Suspended: Juninho (Pre-Existing Suspension)
- Int’l Duty: None
- Injury Report: Matt Polster (right knee strain), Matt Lampson (left knee sprain)
Thus far in preseason Paunovic has leaned towards a 4-4-2 shape that often trends towards a 4-4-1-1
The Fire have the room, resources and desire to make further roster moves; veteran English fullback Ryan Taylor is in town on trial at present. GM Nelson Rodriguez said this week that Chicago have “the latitude, the cap space, the budget space and the resources” to sign a third Designated Player alongside Accam and Nikolic if the circumstances are right.
GAME NOTES, RECAP, WRITTEN BY & COURTESY OF COLUMBUS CREW COMMUNICATIONS