Rivals to battle for conference supremacy

” The University of Akron will play the final game of the regular season Sunday when it hosts archrival Kent State. With a win, the Zips would share the MAC East title with the Golden Flashes. The team will honor the members of its senior class before the game.”

The University of Akron will play the final game of the regular season Sunday when it hosts archrival Kent State. With a win, the Zips would share the Mid-American Conference East title with the Golden Flashes. The team will honor the members of its senior class before the game.

It’s difficult to have Senior Night against your neighborhood rival because of all of the excitement surrounding the game, Keith Dambrot said.

You already have the emotion of being a senior in your last game, and now you gotta go play Kent, which is difficult as it is, he said after UA’s home win against Buffalo Saturday. Those five guys will go out there and shoot it every time they touch the ball.

Dambrot said that the game will be emotional for him because of the relationships he’s formed with this year’s senior class and the importance of the game.

Emotionally, it’s gonna be difficult for me, he said. A lot of good kids, a lot of guys that are gonna graduate, and on top of it, you gotta play Kent and, maybe, play them four or five days later (in the MAC Tournament).

Middleton said Saturday that he’d hoped that he would be playing at his best late in the season and that he hopes to continue his strong play and help the team reach its goal of winning the MAC Championship.

I’m trying to go out this season with the championship, the senior guard said. I want to go out there and leave it all out on the court. I don’t want to have any regrets once it’s over.

I’m working out by myself harder, because I don’t want to look back at my career and say I should have done this or that.

Tip off is set for 6 p.m. and the sold-out game will be televised by FSN Ohio.

Zips clinch bye with win

The Zips clinched the third seed in next week’s Mid-American Conference Tournament when it defeated the Ohio University Bobcats 80-77 Tuesday.

The Zips were paced offensively by senior forward Jeremiah Wood and senior guard Cedrick Middleton, who both tallied 19 points. Junior Nate Linehart’s five rebounds led the team.

UA (21-8, 11-4 MAC) shot 60.4 percent (29-of-48) from the field and converted 10-of-23 3-pointers.

The Zips’ hot shooting kept UA in front for most of the game, despite being out-rebounded 33-17 and scoring no second-chance points compared to OU’s 12.

UA head coach Keith Dambrot said in his post-game news conference that he thought his team would have difficulty winning if the game turned into a shootout.

There was no way that I thought that we could win an 80-77 game, Dambrot said. I thought that we could win 64-60, but not 80-77.

The Zips have now won their last four MAC contests since falling to Northern Illinois Feb. 12.

Dambrot said that the team’s experience in tight games throughout the season, and its ability to execute with the shot clock winding down, are reasons for the team’s recent success in conference play

Toward the end of the year we have started to win close games, and I think that a lot of that is because we have been in close games, Dambrot said. The biggest difference between this team that we have this year and teams in the past is that we are better in the last eight seconds of the clock than we have ever been.

The victory marked the first home loss of the season for the Bobcats.