Zips victorious over Flashes

“Sophomore forward Brett McKnight scored a career-high 29 points to lead the University of Akron’s men’s basketball team to a 68-54 win over archrival Kent State in front of 4,151 fans at Rhodes Arena on Saturday. Despite only trailing once in the game for a span of 28 seconds, there were tense moments in the second half for the Zips.”

Sophomore forward Brett McKnight scored a career-high 29 points to lead the University of Akron’s men’s basketball team to a 68-54 win over archrival Kent State in front of 4,151 fans at Rhodes Arena on Saturday.

Despite only trailing once in the game for a span of 28 seconds, there were tense moments in the second half for the Zips.

UA led at halftime, 39-25, but struggled offensively for much of the final period. KSU took its only lead after going on a 9-0 run that gave the Golden Flashes a 48-47 advantage with 8:23 left in the game.

The Zips, however, answered by making a renewed effort to run its offensive sets through the low post. McKnight and his brother, junior forward Chris McKnight, spearheaded a 21-run by the Zips to close out the game and secure the victory.

Those guys delivered the goods, the McKnights, when we threw them the ball today, UA head coach Keith Dambrot said. We did a much better job today throwing the ball where it belonged. I thought that was the difference.

The younger McKnight added six rebounds, two steals and one assist in his 24 minutes off the bench. The elder McKnight tallied 11 points, six rebounds, an assist and a block as a starter.

We just couldn’t guard them, first-year KSU coach Geno Ford said. We tried a multitude of guys. It was only a matter of who they scored on. Anytime we didn’t force a turnover with our guards helping down, they were able to score.

McKnight said the team’s confidence continued to rise as its shots continued to fall and the crowd got behind the team.

Our confidence, once we started the run, was just unbelievable, the sophomore forward said. The atmosphere out there – the five of us on the court together had a lot of confidence when we started making the run.

During the Zips’ offenses highs and lows, its defense remained strong. UA held KSU to 33.5 percent shooting from the field and forced the Golden Flashes to commit 18 turnovers.

KSU’s three offensive leaders – Al Fisher, Chris Singletary and Tyree Evans – were held to a combined 26 points. Fisher and Singletary were in foul trouble for much of the game’s final period.

Junior forward Anthony Simpson led the Flashes with a career-high 16 points and 16 rebounds.

You can’t let them beat you by themselves, Dambrot said of KSU’s go-to players. Simpson had an unbelievable game, but that’s OK because the big three didn’t clobber us.

UA’s 14-point win was the largest margin of victory for the team in the series since an 85-70 in Kent on March 1, 2003.

The win marked the team’s tenth this season and improved its Mid-American Conference record to 2-3. After playing their last non-conference game at Youngstown State last night, the Zips will look to even their conference record tomorrow as they travel to play the Toledo Rockets.

Call Sports Writer Vincent Dorsey at:

330-972-7362

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” #1.1360633:360264450.jpg:20080127_kentgame_ac.jpg:The men’s basketball team led Kent State through the entire game and was only trailing for 28 seconds.:Alyssa Cushman/ The Buchtelite”