- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 12, 2009

CLEVELAND (AP) - Steve McNees scored 15 of his season-high 17 points on 3-pointers, leading Akron into the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference tournament with a 73-63 win over Miami (Ohio) on Thursday night.

The Zips (21-12), who have lost in the title game the past two seasons, will play Bowling Green in Friday’s second semifinal. In the first semifinal, Ball State (14-16) will face Buffalo (20-10).

The winners will meet in Saturday night’s title game for the MAC’s automatic NCAA tournament bid.

Akron, the No. 5 seed, did its damage from outside in the second half. The Zips made six of their first eight 3-pointers to build a 13-point lead. McNees and Nate Linhart hit back-to-back 3s as Akron opened a 63:50 lead with 5:33 left.

The Redhawks (17-13) got it down to seven but couldn’t come up with the big shot when they needed one.



Michael Bramos, the conference’s player of the year, led Miami with 24 points.

Darryl Roberts had 15 points and freshman Nikola Cvetinovic (SEH-tin-o-VICH) had 12 the Zips.

Akron, which scored 93 points to beat Toledo in overtime in the opening round, started just 4-of-19 from the floor and fell behind by 12 in the first half. The Zips were teetering on serious trouble, but behind eight points from McNees, they closed with a 16-5 burst to pull within 32-31 at the break.

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