UB 67, AKRON 62
How UB won: The Bulls shot only 33 percent. But they got 25 points and 13 rebounds from stud forward Justin Moss. They also got a season-high 24 offensive rebounds – 24! (UB was leading the MAC at 13.4 offensive rebounds a game.) They also got nine steals.
Player of the game: The Big Man from Michigan, Moss, was amazing close to the basket. He hits reverse layups, off balance bank shots, spin move lay-ins, rebound put-backs with 6-11 guys hanging on his shoulders, alley-oops, power drives. Fun to watch.
What it means: UB (9-6) is alone in fifth place in the MAC but now is just one game behind both Kent State (10-5) and Bowling Green (10-5) and has beaten both. UB plays at Kent State Saturday and hosts Bowling Green in 11 days.
Stat check: UB beat Akron in points off turnovers, 17-3. In the house: 3,541 at Alumni Arena, and there were at least 800 students; a good showing.
What’s next: At Kent State, which got upset by Miami Tuesday.
Key play No. 1: Rodell Wigginton tosses an alley-oop to Moss, who lays it in to tie the game, 56-56, with 2:00 left.
Said Moss: “A great screen was set by Jarryn Skeete, which got me open, and Rodell read it right and threw me the lob.”
Said Akron coach Keith Dambrot credited UB’s Bobby Hurley with having his players look for the lob: “He’s smart because usually they never throw the lob. They flare the guy out the back. So he took advantage of our intelligence. We told our guy don’t help at all. Bobby knows we’re going to do our homework and know what they’re going to do.”
Key play No. 2: On the ensuing Akron possession, the Zips ran a set play to get Kwan Cheatham an open three, and he missed. Two Zips were under the boards for the rebound, but Wigginton reached between them and batted the ball off one of the Zips’ hands. The officials went to video to check possession: UB ball. “I didn’t see the replay, but obviously it wasn’t clear-cut because it took 45 minutes,” Dambrot said.
Key play No. 3: The ruling gave UB the ball with 1:37 left. Hurley had four times out remaining. The Bulls were discombobulated. He called one at 1:30. UB sets up a play and is out of sync again. Hurley called time out at 1:18. This time, the set play worked to perfection. Moss cut from the high post, took a pass from Shannon Evans and scored a layup. UB 58, Akron 56.
“We had a play called and it just wasn’t run the way it was drawn up so we had to regroup,” Hurley said. “The possession looked like it wasn’t going anywhere, so we called another one. It was just Justin cut well and a good pass and he drove it hard and scored. It was more about just getting him in space, and he took over from there. I was in a good spot. Maybe there could have been other times I used the time out here or there throughout the game, but I just had them in my pocket. We needed to rest in the timeout so we could play with the energy we needed to. Every possession mattered.”
Key play No. 4: UB was ahead, 62-56, with 28 seconds left when Akron’s Pat Forsythe rolled the ball inbounds in an effort to save time. But UB’s Evans anticipated it. He cut in front of guard Antino Jackson for a steal and called time out. On the sidelines, Hurley leaped in the air about 3 1-2 feet. Who knew he still had such hops?
Said Hurley of his reaction: “I’d have to watch it again. It felt like an out of body experience. It felt like something that I would try and do when I played so I’m kind of living through Shannon with that play. It was an amazing amazing thing to watch.”