Blackshear's 44pts Kill Akron, 104-87

Ron Blackshear went crazy on the Zips. Marshall -behind an incredible 44-point performance from Blackshear including 14 three-pointers- beat Akron on Saturday, 104-87, in front of a paltry 2,685 in Akron.

The win was Marshall's second in a row, and enabled the Herd to host a first-round MAC Tournament game against Northern Illinois on Monday night in Huntington.

"Absolutely phenomenal," said Marshall coach Greg White of Blackshear's unconscious 14 three-pointers. "Our guys did a great job of screening for him (Blackshear) and he just did a terrific job of catching it and stroking it."

Ron Blackshear

Akron jumped out early on Marshall, 14-2. With 8:22 remaining, Blackshear had drained 5 of his threes and catapulted Marshall back to a tie with the Zips at 30-30. The Zips weren't shooting slouches, either, hitting 79.2% of their shots in the first half (19-of-24), including 7-of-10 three-pointers. The fast-paced, high-scoring first half played into Marshall's favor, and the Akron lead of only 52-50 at the half would not last long.

Not with #11 on the floor.

"They (Akron) were in such a groove running their motion offense the first half," added White. "Once we could get them to miss some shots and get them in transition, we were a lot faster than they were and we got some easy baskets."

Blackshear's ninth three-pointer not only put Marshall back in the lead at 63-60, it also kicked off a 15-2 run that put the win out of reach for the Zips. At one point during that run, Ron Blackshear was a perfect 11-for-11 from three-point range, which tied an NCAA record.

During the final two minutes, Blackshear attempted five more threes in pursuit of tying (or breaking) the NCAA record for number of made three-pointers in a game (set, coincidentally enough, by former player Keith Veney in 1995), to no avail. The well had run dry at 14 made, 44 points total for the Temple transfer playing his first season for Marshall. Akron coach Dan Hipsher threw both his sons at Blackshear during the game, in an attempt to stem the tide of three-pointers, to no avail.

"He's exhausted back there," said White of Blackshear, after the game.

And yes, other Marshall players made baskets in the game, too. Tamar Slay led the group of merely conscious Marshall players, with 21 points. J.R. VanHoose added 15 points, this after sitting most of the first half. Ardo Armpalu came on in relief of VanHoose, and provided a physical presence inside that led to the Estonian grabbing 6 points and 5 rebounds with authority. Marshall's Richard Wilson dished out 7 assists.

"We both shot the lights out," summed up White.

The only difference being that MU's Ron Blackshear not only shot the lights out, but he also turned the lights out on the Zips while doing so, singlehandedly.

Marshall returns home to host Northern Illinois in the first round of the MAC Tournament at the Henderson Center on Monday evening.

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