On Saturday night, The University of Akron men’s basketball team (17-10) defeated the Creighton Bluejays (17-12) 76-67 in front of a crowd of 2,861 at James A. Rhodes Arena.
“On Saturday night, The University of Akron men’s basketball team (17-10) defeated the Creighton Bluejays (17-12) 76-67 in front of a crowd of 2,861 at James A. Rhodes Arena.
The victory for the Zips marks their fifth straight, while improving 4-1 all time in the ESPNU BracketBuster matchup at James A. Rhodes Arena and 4-5 overall.
Leading UA in scoring was forward Brett McKnight who had a game- and season-high 21 points, with 13 of those coming in the second half. McKnight finished the game 9-for-13 from the floor in 20 minutes off the bench.
”It’s amazing. If you look back two weeks ago, we couldn’t beat anybody,” Head Coach Keith Dambrot said. ”It’s just psyche, mental psyche. I thought we had reasonable ability; I thought we had high character in the locker room. I figured we were going to turn it around eventually.”
Forward Nikola Cvetinovic also added 19 points, eight rebounds and three assists in 32 minutes of game play.
Guard Steve McNees was the only other Zip to score in double figures with 11 point. McNees also added six rebounds and two assists.
With the win over Creighton, the Zips are now set to finish the regular season with four games left in the MAC West, as they try to battle for one of the four top seeds in the MAC Tournament.
”I think we’re pretty good,” Dambrot said. ”We’re playing more like Akron basketball than at any time this year. It’s the right time of the year, but we can’t let that lemon sneak up on us now.”
The first half, the game saw eight lead changes and four ties, but McNees nailed a three-pointer to make the score 28-all with 2:17 before the break. Creighton’s Antoine Young would nail a three-pointer with 56 seconds left, cutting the Zips lead to 32-31 going into the half.
”Everybody in the locker room knew we were going to win this game,” Cvetinovic said. ”I don’t want to sound cocky or anything, but just the mood the last couple days. We’ve been working hard in practices. We’d won a couple games. Our confidence is getting back.
The Bluejays were led offensively by Doug McDermott with 16 points and 16 rebounds, while Young had 13 points and three assists in the matchup.
On a side note, McKnight passed Nate Linhart on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,040 points (2007-present, 116 games).
The win over Creighton now sets the Zips’ all-time record against the Bluejays 1-1.
The Zips return to action this Wednesday at James A. Rhodes Arena in Akron, with tip-off set for 7 p.m. against Miami (Ohio).
“” #1.2008234:255176662.jpg:Akron Zips Brett McKnight:Brett McKnight led the wayfor the Zips, scoring a game and career-high 21 points off the bench. The Zips have won five straight games with three of those coming at Rhodes Arena.:Wallace Ball”