“On a night where Miami University head coach Charlie Coles was being honored for being the winningest coach in MAC basketball history, the University of Akron’s men’s basketball team came out to physically and mentally bounce back from a tough loss at Buffalo.””
On a night where Miami University head coach Charlie Coles was being honored for being the winningest coach in MAC basketball history, the University of Akron’s men’s basketball team came out to physically and mentally bounce back from a tough loss at Buffalo.
The Zips (13-5 3-1 MAC) defeated the RedHawks (5-12 2-2 MAC) by a count of 69-49 to move back to the top of the MAC standings.
Unbelievable congratulations to Coach Coles and what he’s done, UA head coach Keith Dambrot said. His toughness and longevity, and what he’s overcome is motivational to me.
I thought we played our best game of the year. Maybe one of the better games since I’ve been here. It reminded me about what Buffalo did to us. Everything went right for us and everything went wrong for them.
The first half was dominated by the Zips as they took an 18 point lead into the locker rooms.
Leading the way for the Zips was forward Chris McKnight, who tallied 12 points and 7 rebounds in the first half.
The major surprise of the first half was the ability of the Zips defense to hold an aggressive forward Julian Mavunga, to 0-of-6 from the floor and only allow him two first rebounds.
We ran better, Dambrot said. We decided we were too conservative. We had to call less sets. I think they like playing that way more too.
Going into the second half, the Zips did not come out as well as in the first, but still made enough shots to keep their lead on Miami.
Senior leadership from Chris McKnight led the offensive attack and set the tone for the rest of the game.
I didn’t think we came out in the second half very good, but we made enough baskets to overcome our bad defense, Dambrot said. We made a lot of shots in transition that helped us.
Chris McKnight led the team in scoring for the night as he went 7-of-9 from the floor, scoring a team high 18 points and grabbing a team high 13 rebounds.
It was Chris McKnight’s second career double-double and his first this year.
The other half of the McKnight duo also contributed double figures. Brett McKnight scored 10 points and raked in 5 rebounds.
When the McKnights play well, we’re hard to beat, Dambrot said. When they don’t, we’re hard to win.
Rounding out the double digit scorers was center Zeke Marshall who scored 13 points and had three massive blocks that complimented the defensive mind-set of the Zips.
I thought he played like he did in that two-week stretch when he was really good, Dambrot said. We need for him to play good when he hits adversity. We need to stick with him. He changes the game. Even if he doesn’t block some of them, he’s in their head.
The win marked the third straight victory for the Zips over Miami.
Akron will return to action this Saturday as they take on rival Kent State.
They have a guy they can play through, Dambrot said. Chris Singletary is probably the best passer in the league.
They can overcome ball pressure. They remind me of the old OU teams with Jeremy Fears. When they want to play, they’re great. When they don’t want to play, they’re just OK. Sometimes Kent doesn’t feel like playing.
Tipoff for the Kent game is set for noon.