“The University of Akron’s men’s basketball team’s home-court dominance at Rhodes Arena ended against an unlikely opponent Tuesday. UA (17-7 overall, 7-4 Mid-American Conference) saw its streak of 22 consecutive home-wins and its string of 25 consecutive wins against MAC opponents at Rhodes Arena snapped by Northern Illinois (6-17, 3-8 MAC), 88-78.””
The University of Akron’s men’s basketball team’s home-court dominance at Rhodes Arena ended against an unlikely opponent Tuesday. UA (17-7 overall, 7-4 Mid-American Conference) saw its streak of 22 consecutive home-wins and its string of 25 consecutive wins against MAC opponents at Rhodes Arena snapped by Northern Illinois (6-17, 3-8 MAC), 88-78.
NIU shot over 64 percent from the field (31-48) and 50 percent (9-18) from behind the 3-point arc to offset its 20 turnovers. After reclaiming the lead at 38-37 on a pair of free throws by senior Ben Rand with 46 seconds remaining in the first half, the Huskies never relinquished their lead in the team’s first road win of the season.
UA shot 41 percent (28-68 from the field and only 29 percent on 3-pointers), usually one of the strongest phases of the team’s offense.
UA head coach Keith Dambrot said during his post-game press conference that he was disappointed by his team’s lack of competitiveness.
We let a team hang around because we let them stay in the game, Dambrot said. We had them on the ropes, but they got to feeling good about themselves and we didn’t weather the storm.
That was the worst defensive effort of my four years here, and you have to be more competitive than that.
The fourth-year head coach said that a lack of toughness has been a factor in the team’s seven losses and vowed to rectify the problem.
Every game we’ve lost this year has been a toughness issue, Dambrot said. We were out-toughed at Winthrop, we were out-toughed at Central Michigan and we got out-toughed in the second half against Kent State and here tonight.
That won’t happen again, because I won’t play guys who aren’t tough.
The Huskies out-rebounded the Zips 36-25. NIU head coach Ricardo Patton said that he thought coming into the game that his team needed to play well on the glass to beat UA.
That was an area I thought we had to control, particularly against a team that shoots so many 3-point shots, he said. We needed our guards to get those long rebounds on those shots and keep them from getting second chances.
NIU was paced offensively by freshman-guard Darion Anderson’s 24 points. Nick Dials’ 17 points led the Zips.
The Zips previous two home-losses were by a total of five points, a 57-54 defeat to Kent State on Feb. 9, 2005, and a 73-71 setback to top-25 ranked Nevada on Dec. 22, 2006. Durings his tenure as UA head coach, Dambrot is 52-3 at Rhodes Arena.
UA will start the second round of MAC East play Saturday when it travels to face the Bowling Green State Falcons. UA defeated BGSU 88-40 Jan. 20 at Rhodes Arena. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m.