Zips hope to continue success on current stretch

“By Vincent Dorsey vdorsey@buchtelite.com The University of Akron’s men’s basketball team is 59-7 at Rhodes Arena under the guidance of fifth-year head coach Keith Dambrot, including a 6-2 mark this season. UA (12-8, 3-3 Mid-American Conference) will look to continue the trend and continue its current three-game winning streak when it hosts MAC West opponent Central Michigan.”

By Vincent Dorsey

vdorsey@buchtelite.com

The University of Akron’s men’s basketball team is 59-7 at Rhodes Arena under the guidance of fifth-year head coach Keith Dambrot, including a 6-2 mark this season.

UA (12-8, 3-3 Mid-American Conference) will look to continue the trend and continue its current three-game winning streak when it hosts MAC West opponent Central Michigan.

The game will mark only the third Zips home game this month, two of which came a week apart.

We’re vagabonds, UA head coach Keith Dambrot said of his team’s six away games this month. We’ve been on the road constantly.

This week’s slate of games – at Youngstown State, at Toledo and against Central Michigan – illustrates the team’s travel-heavy start to conference play.

While playing six-out-of-nine games on the road is a challenge, Dambrot said the games were all valuable learning experiences for his team.

I think this team needs to play, Dambrot said. Guys would rather play than practice.

MAC TOURNAMENT-ESQUE STRETCH

UA started the week by defeating YSU, 67-53, behind 15 points, nine rebounds and four steals by senior forward Nate Linhart and a stingy defensive effort that held the Penguins to 32.7 percent shooting (18-of-55) from the field.

If you take away the baskets they scored in the last three minutes of the game, we really had a strong defensive effort, Dambrot said during a post-game interview on 1350 AM WARF.

The Penguins tied the game at 33 early in the second half, but the Zips went on a 7-0 run and used their defense to secure the victory.

Freshman Nikola Cvetinovic, who scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds in his second consecutive start, was one of 10 Zips to play more than 10 minutes in the game.

Cvetinovic said he’s been working to channel his energy and emotion to become more productive on the court.

Through conversations with the coaches, I’m trying to channel all that energy and allow it to make me more productive on the court, the 6-foot-8, forward said on 1350 AM WARF. With the minutes and experience out there with those guys, it makes it better and better.

Last night, the Zips defeated the Toledo Rockets 70 – 61. Darryl Roberts made 6 of 7 from the free throw line, ending the night with 12 points. The game’s stats scream Dambrot: four players with more than ten points and three players with three assists.

Dambrot said during his postgame interview following the YSU game that he explained the importance of the upcoming stretch of games to his team in the locker room before the game, comparing it to win-or-go-home-games in the MAC Tournament.

This is another opportunity in the next two weeks to get yourself into the postseason, Dambrot said. We have to play with an unbelievable sense of urgency right now.

Tip-off with the Chippewas is set for noon. The game will be televised regionally by Fox Sports Ohio.

Call senior sports writer

Vincent Dorsey: 330-972-7395

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