Zips men's basketball gears up for Buffalo

The University of Akron men’s basketball team will play their final regular home game of the season at James A. Rhodes Arena when they take on the Buffalo Bulls this Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Zips come into Saturday’s game trying to either secure a home game or a bye in the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament next month.


The University of Akron men’s basketball team will play their final regular home game of the season at James A. Rhodes Arena when they take on the Buffalo Bulls this Saturday at 7 p.m.

The Zips come into Saturday’s game trying to either secure a home game or a bye in the first round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament next month.

Buffalo is currently two games behind first place, trailing only Kent State and Miami (Ohio) with a record of 16-9 and 7-5, respectively, in the MAC.

The Bulls earlier in the season played Akron at their home court, when they defeated UA 73-70, with their leading scorer guard Byron Mulkey able to drop 17 points.

The Zips in that game were led offensively by guard Brett McClanahan who had 15 points, while forwards Nikola Cvetinovic and Brett McKnight scored 10 points, along with guard Daryl Roberts who had 12.

Buffalo this season has been somewhat of a surprise, as they were predicted to finish last in the East Division of the MAC but have played well all season, defeating teams such as Kent State, Ohio and Western Michigan.

The Zips, however, have had an up-and-down year, losing to teams like Eastern Michigan and Northern Illinois, who both currently have losing records.

The one thing that’s different this year is we have no margin of error to not play well right now. We put ourselves in a hole, said Head Coach Keith Dambrot. We’ve always rallied ourselves previous to this in the past. We have to win all the games at home now or else we’re in trouble as far as the seeding goes.

Buffalo is led offensively this season by guard Zach Filzen, who is averaging 16.4 points per game with a three-point percentage of .432. The Bulls are also led by Mulkey, who is averaging 14.4 points per game with a .400 three-point percentage.

Buffalo nationally ranks 71st with 73.4 points per game, 44th in assists per game with 15.2 and fourth overall with a .492 field goal percentage.

UA, however, is led by a strong bench with the likes of McKnight and Roberts, who each are averaging 9.7 and 8.7 ppg, while getting solid play from center Mike Bardo and forward Quincy Diggs.

We pretty much know what we are going to get out of Brett McKnight and Mike Bardo, but when Alex Abreu and Quincy Diggs are good, we are very good, said Dambrot. We’ve had a hard time with keeping Quincy consistent. If we could get him a little more consistent athletically, he could really give us a boost. We’re trying like crazy with him. He is basically a freshman for us.

Offensively, the Zips are led by Cvetinovic and McClanahan, who are averaging 11.9 and 10.9 ppg, respectively.

The Zips will honor their seniors this Saturday night at the JAR when they take on Buffalo at 7 p.m. The honored seniors are Steve McNees, Bardo, McKnight and Roberts.

UA will look to battle back to the MAC championship game for the fifth consecutive year, as they are entering post season play with some momentum, winning seven of their last ten games.

If I didn’t think we were one of those teams, I should hang ‘em up, said Dambrot. We feel like we haven’t played great to this point. We also feel like we can beat anybody on a given night. I walk around town and we’re 15-10 and people act like we’re 5-15. It’s still the third-best record in the league. We still feel like we can play with anybody.


” #1.2013568:2647077060.JPG:Brett McClanahan:Brett McClanahan is second on the team in points per game (10.9) and has the most three pointers on the team (66). The Zips will need to finish out the MAC regular season strong if they wish to earn a bye in the MAC tournament.:Wallace Ball”