What a bunch of Maloney

Written by: Sartaj Aujla

The men’s basketball team went undefeated in exhibition play with a win over Malone 106-67 on Friday at the James A. Rhodes Arena.

The Zips now look forward to the regular season, which starts this Friday at 7:30 p.m. as the Zips travel to Conway, S.C. to face off with the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers.

“We continued to do some good things,” said head coach Keith Dambrot at the post-game press conference. “We are trying to play hard. We are sharing the basketball well, but we have to make less turnovers.”

The Zips made 17 turnovers, versus Malone’s 15, but they were able to come away with a huge win, despite not having their head player, Alex Abraeu, who is nursing a sprained ankle.

“We did a good job, considering our leader Alex Abreu was not there,” Dambrot said. “We played with our main body and played our young players, and they continued to improve.”

Nick Harney filled Abreu’s shoes. The Zips came out strong and, with a couple of runs, outscored the Pioneers in the first half 29-61.

In the first eight minutes of second half, Harney and Chauncey Gilliam scored a combined 15 points, versus Malone’s 11, to bring the lead to 82-40.

The Zips continued to dominate on both sides of the ball, and the game ended with a final score of 106-67.

The biggest factor in the win was the Zips’ bench: Akron outscored Malone with 76 bench points to the Pioneers’ 22.

Harney scored the most points, with 22. Zeke Marshall led the team in rebounds, with 13.

Akron had the superior field goal percentage for the game. The Zips connected with 59.4 percent of their shots, while Malone only connected with 33.9 percent.

Despite the huge win, Dambrot knows that there are still improvements needed. The Zips turned over the ball more than Malone. Dambrot also commented on how he thought the men had to hustle in order to make up for the mistakes they made too often.

“We need to continue to improve,” he said. “And, to play at the highest level, we need to improve our overall defense.”