“Cleveland- The University of Akron men’s basketball team defeated the Central Michigan University Chippewas 81-60 in the quarterfinal round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena. The Zips (22-9) outscored the Chippewas (14-17) 47-31 in the second half and shot 56 percent (28-50) for the game.””
Cleveland- The University of Akron men’s basketball team defeated the Central Michigan University Chippewas 81-60 in the quarterfinal round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament Thursday at Quicken Loans Arena.
The Zips (22-9) outscored the Chippewas (14-17) 47-31 in the second half and shot 56 percent (28-50) for the game. Senior forward Jeremiah Wood scored 17 points and junior Nate Linhart added 16 to lead UA in scoring. Wood led the team in rebounding with nine.
The game was tightly contested in the first period with UA leading 34-29 at halftime after six lead changes and two ties. CMU hit 6 3-pointers in the half, accounting for 62 percent of the team’s points.
In the game’s final period, UA found its stroke from long range, connecting on 7-of-9 3-point attempts. CMU, on the other hand, lost its shooting touch, going 0-of-6 from beyond the arch and shooting 32.1 percent (9-of-28) from the field.
UA head coach Keith Dambrot said that the Zips didn’t change their defensive approach during halftime.
We didn’t make any changes, we just guarded them a little better, Dambrot said. They’re a good shooting team. The key was moving guys on and off (Giordan) Watson.
The Zips limited the Chippewas’ two-time All-MAC senior guard to 11 points on 3-of-11 from the field.
Linhart said that his goal while guarding Watson was simply to bother him and make him work for all his points.
I tried to keep my length and limit his touches, he said. I’m not going to keep him from scoring, though, he’s too good of a player to do that.
In the win, UA outscored CMU 36-20 in the paint and the Zips’ reserves outscored the Chippewas’ bench 31-14. Freshman forward Brett McKnight scored a career-high 12 points on 5-of-8 from the field.
Dambrot indicated the success of McKnight and several of UA’s other underclassman was instrumental in the Zips advancing to the tournament’s semifinal round Friday night.
The older guys played well, but I’m proud how the younger guys played great, he said. The good thing this team has done is overcome adversity.
UA will face Western Michigan in the semifinals of the MAC Tournament. WMU defeated Eastern Michigan 70-61 in Thursday’s first quarter final match up. The Broncos defeated UA 88-66 Feb. 6 in Kalamazoo, Mich. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. Friday.