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Staff and wire report
AKRON -- Mid-American Conference regular-season champion Akron lost its star point guard in stunning fashion on the eve of its regular season finale against backyard rival Kent State.
The Zips suspended junior Alex Abreu after he was arrested Thursday and charged with possession and trafficking of marijuana.
A spokesman for the team says the indefinite suspension is pending the outcome of a police investigation. The spokesman says the university is gathering information, and questions about the investigation should be directed to the Akron Police Department.
Akron (24-5, 14-1 MAC) will battle the Flashes (18-12, 8-7) tonight at 7 in a game that will be televised nationally on ESPN2. Since the Zips have clinched the No. 1 seed for next week's MAC Tournament and Kent State has secured the fourth seed, tonight's battle is meaningless as far as the MAC standings are concerned. However, the two bitter rivals could meet once again next Friday in the semifinals if the Flashes win their MAC tourney opener on Thursday.
Kent State head coach Rob Senderoff said he would not make drastic changes in preparation for tonight's game due to Abreu's suspension.
"It doesn't change anything for us," said Senderoff. "We've gotta play at Akron (tonight) on their Senior Night. We are gonna have to play great to beat them regardless of who plays."
Abreu is averaging 10.3 points and six assists per game, which ranks second in the MAC. He plays over 30 minutes a game as Akron's primary ball-handler, and he's also made clutch shots and passes to help his team win several close games both this season and throughout his career. He was also suspended in November of 2011 for a violation of team policy.
Akron's backup point guard is freshman Carmelo Betancourt, who averages 1.8 points and just over nine minutes per game.
Akron secured its second consecutive Mid-American Conference title when it beat Miami 72-58 on Tuesday night. The Zips had a 19-game winning streak snapped by a loss at Buffalo on Saturday, which knocked them out of the Top 25 nationally.