MAC Basketball Tournament: A Lesson in How NOT to Miss a Free Throw

Um, so that is not how you miss a free throw. After free throws were a problem Friday for Akron, you would think missing one in the final three seconds wouldn't be an issue.

And yet Alex Abreu's second shot went back rim, front rim, back rim and fell in while everyone jumped to try and get the tip.

No one touched it, and despite D.J. Cooper missing some final free throws, the Bobcats are going dancing, with a 64-63 win over Akron.

Every team needs a star to shine in front of its supporting cast. Saturday, Cooper earned a star on his door, a trailer and a first billing come Thursday or Friday.

The junior guard put the Bobcats on his back in what could be looked at as a flashback to 2010. Ohio hung around outside on Akron and Cooper was the main catalyst, shooting 4 of 9 from 3-point range on his way to a game-high 23 points.

The common saying is that the NCAA Tournament is a guard's tournament. If that's the case, Cooper and company have the man who could make them a tough out in the first, excuse me..., second round.

The secret Saturday? Ohio did what it does best, forcing Akron into turnovers and converting them into points. There was no getting around it. Late in the second half, that stat was 15 points off turnovers. Yes, Ohio was that good.

They needed them too. Sometime during the night, Akron learned how to hit from long range. Yes, the team with all the big men shot 9 of 12 from 3-point range.

And that shooting almost caused an Ohio collapse for the second straight night. Saturday, it was the stall with three minutes left that almost did them in.

When you don't have the size advantage, who does that?

As far as I can tell, they were saved by Reggie Keely's clutch free throws (see, I told you free throws would be important here). Without him extending the lead to three points in the final six seconds, there is no need for the foul on Abreu, no need for him to miss the shot, a different end to this one.

MACtion, it's FANTASTIC!

Keely finished with 8 points to complement Cooper.

Akron got 19 from Abreu and 12 from Quincy Diggs off the bench, including several of the clutch 3-pointers.

The Zips earn the consolation prize of an NIT berth for winning the MAC. Ohio will wait and see who will be their opponent on the selection show Sunday night.

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