Fisher’s jumper sends Kent St. past Miami of Ohio, into MAC final
CLEVELAND (AP)—Al Fisher’s double-clutching 15-foot jumper with three seconds left gave Kent State a 49-47 win over Miami of Ohio, sending the top-seeded Golden Flashes into the championship of the Mid-American Conference tournament Friday night.
After Fisher’s bucket, Kent State had to survive a last-second shot by Miami’s Tim Pollitz, who was short on a runner in the lane as the horn sounded.
Kent State will meet Akron in Saturday night’s final, with the winner getting the MAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Zips advanced to their second straight title game with a 73-62 semifinal win over Western Michigan.
The Golden Flashes beat the Zips twice during the regular season, winning last Sunday in Akron on Fisher’s last-second shot.
Cheered on by alum Wally Szczerbiak, the most famous player in school history now with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami tied it 47-47 on Kenny Hayes’ acrobatic layup with 34 seconds remaining. After a timeout, Kent State ran a play for Fisher, the conference player of the year.
Fisher drove the right side, got just enough space between himself and Eric Pollitz and adjusted in the air before dropping his game-winner.
Fisher scored 11 points—all in the second half—and Rodriguez Sherman had 10 for Kent State, which will be making its sixth appearance in the title game in eight years.
Tim Pollitz scored 15 and Tyler Dierkers had 11 with 11 rebounds for the defending champion RedHawks, who were without coach Charlie Coles. Miami’s 66-year-old leader had a heart procedure earlier in the week and missed the tournament.
Kent State, which lost to Akron in the semis last season, took a 44-43 lead on Sherman’s basket following a wild scramble under Miami’s basket that resembled a tag-team wrestling match.
Tim Pollitz fell over several bodies already on the floor, and as he scrambled to his feet, Kent State’s Chris Singletary and Haminn Quaintance as well as Dierkers rolled around trying to get untangled.
Playing their third game in three nights, the RedHawks figured to be fatigued. But they showed no signs of being tired in the first half as they outworked the Golden Falcons on the boards, especially Dierkers, who scored 11 points—all inside—and grabbed nine rebounds.