Zips bounce back, defeat Northern Illinois

“Zips bounce back, defeat Northern Illinois Following a devastating loss to Eastern Michigan on Monday, the University of Akron’s men’s basketball team regrouped and defeated the Northern Illinois Huskies 90-76. The Zips (16-7 6-3 MAC) have now posted a 3-1 record against the MAC West Division this season.”

Zips bounce back, defeat Northern Illinois

Following a devastating loss to Eastern Michigan on Monday, the University of Akron’s men’s basketball team regrouped and defeated the Northern Illinois Huskies 90-76.

The Zips (16-7 6-3 MAC) have now posted a 3-1 record against the MAC West Division this season.

I’m just glad we won, UA head coach Keith Dambrot said. I went back after the Eastern Michigan game and watched the tape. We played hard. What am I supposed to do? Browbeat our guys because the ball doesn’t go in the basket?

As long as we play hard and play together, the results will follow. The ball went in the basket tonight, and it didn’t go in the basket the other night.

Akron seemed to have a lot of questions about themselves following the loss to Eastern Michigan.

I was mad after the game, but I told them we’re a good team, Dambrot said. We may not win the MAC Tournament, but we’ll win a lot of games. Is it the best team we’ve ever had? Probably not. Does it have room for improvement? Yes.

The Zips seemed to have bounced back against Northern Illinois from the get go. Akron played up tempo, took good shots and more importantly, made them.

Guard Darryl Roberts led the squad through the first half as he gathered 10 points on 4-5 shooting from the field.

I’m happy for [Darryl], Dambrot said. He came into the game shooting 29 percent in the conference. Brett McKnight came into the game shooting 33.8 in the conference. If they shoot that percentage, I don’t care if Johnny Wooden is coaching, you’re not winning.

Akron also kept up the defensive pressure, giving up only 32 percent from the field.

Center Zeke Marshall led the defensive front with six rebounds and added a block in the half.

The Zips went into the locker room with a 46-29 lead.

I’m proud of my guys, Dambrot said. They rallied themselves. These are hardworking guys.

Coming out of the locker room, more of the same was shown from Akron.

The same up paced tempo and defensive pressure let the Zips coast to the finish.

The Zips posted an impressive 50 percent field goal percentage through the game and tallied four players scoring double-digits.

Roberts led all scorers with a season-high18 points on 7-11 shooting from the field.

Tonight was the biggest game of the year for us, Roberts said. We didn’t want to lose two games consecutively at home. We came out and made a point that we weren’t going to lose tonight.

Forward Chris McKnight posted 16 points and guard Humpty Hitchens added 15, while forward Brett McKnight rounded out the double-digit scorers with 11.

Marshall led the team on defense with a team high nine rebounds and also contributed eight points of his own.

I thought Zeke was really good, Dambrot said. I told Zeke we’ve never been able to guard these guys, so you need to change some things for us to be able to guard them.

The win marks the first time Akron has scored more than 90 points all year.

The Zips will next embark on a two game road swing starting with Ball State Saturday night.

Tip off is set for noon in Muncie, Ind.