Saturday , Mar , 10 , 2007 C.Y. Ellis

RedHawks and Zips lock horns in MAC title tilt

Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – The second-seeded Akron Zips take aim at their
first-ever Mid-American Conference Tournament title tonight, as they take on
the fourth-seeded Miami-Ohio RedHawks in the championship game from Quicken
Loans Arena in Cleveland. The winner will earn an automatic berth to the NCAA
Tournament.

The Zips won the MAC East Division title this year with a 13-3 record, and with
that came a first-round bye in this event. Akron began its run in the tourney
with an 82-53 triumph over seventh-seeded Central Michigan in the quarterfinals
before defeating third-seeded Kent State, 61-54, in the semifinal round on
Friday. With the victory over Kent State, the Zips tied a school record for
wins (26) in a season and in the process earned a spot in their first-ever MAC
Tournament title game. Akron, which has won six straight games, was a league-
worst 3-9 all-time in this event before its run this season.

As for Miami, it also had free pass from the opening round following its 10-6
league finish. The RedHawks opened tournament play with a 70-51 victory over
fifth-seeded Ohio University before pulling the upset of top-seeded Toledo,
58-53, in the semifinals on Friday. This is Miami’s 11th appearance in the MAC
Tournament championship game and its first since 2001. The RedHawks, however,
are just 3-7 in their 10 previous title games, winning their last crown in
1997.

Miami leads the all-time series against Akron, 21-14, with the teams splitting
a pair of meetings during the regular season.

The RedHawks shot a sizzling 56.8 percent from the floor and sank 5-of-12 shots
from long range, as they overcame 20 turnovers in a five-point upset of Toledo
on Friday. Tim Pollitz, once again, headed the charge, as he turned in 22
points and eight rebounds. It was the second big game in a row by Pollitz, who
posted 25 points and 10 rebounds in the team’s quarterfinal round win. Michael
Bramos and Nathan Peavy each reached double figures for the second straight
game as well, finishing with 16 and 11 points, respectively. On the season,
Pollitz is the is the team’s top scorer at 15.8 ppg, and he is also pulling
down 5.7 rpg. Peavy adds 14.5 ppg and a team-best 6.3 rpg to the mix, while
Bramos chips in with 11.0 ppg. Overall, Miami has had most of its success on
defense this season, limiting its opponents to mere 57.6 ppg and just 40.7
percent shooting from the field.

The Zips were able to overcome a 33-19 deficit at the half by shooting 52.9
percent from the field in the second frame of a seven-point win over Kent State
on Friday. Akron also converted 20-of-30 free-throw tries and committed just
eight turnovers. Jeremiah Wood scored 19 points and pulled down eight caroms to
lead the Zips. Nick Dials chipped in with 12 points and Romeo Travis had 10
points and four blocks. Travis, the MAC Player of the Year, paced the Zips with
16 pints in their quarterfinal round win. For the season, Travis is netting a
team-best 15.0 ppg and grabbing 5.7 rpg. Cedrick Middleton has provided the
squad with a spark off the bench, as he chips in with 11.2 ppg. Dials adds 10.3
ppg to the rotation, while Dru Joyce and Wood each turn in 10.1 ppg. Wood is
also pulling down a team-best 7.7 rpg for the Zips, who are averaging a solid
76.0 ppg on an efficient 48.8 percent shooting from the field this season.

AKRON MIAOHIO