Men's basketball off to hot start

By: DJ Johnson

For the first time in three seasons, the Akron men’s basketball team has started the year with two consecutive wins.

The pair of victories came in the 2K Sports Classic, and the Zips will look to match their 2-0 start with two more Classic wins this weekend.

“We are going to be a little bit of a different team early in the year,” said Akron Head Coach Keith Dambrot. “I think the one thing we have been able to do is sustain our winnability.”

Two road contests are on the horizon for Dambrot’s squad. The Zips will travel to Valparaiso, Ind., to take on the Crusaders, as well as Duquesne. The games will be played on back-to-back days with the Zips wrapping up the tournament Saturday night.

Last Saturday, UA won easily over Division III Hiram, 95-65, after starting the year with an impressive road victory over Mississippi State (68-58).

“It’s based on playing good solid defense, sharing the ball and not making mistakes with the basketball,” Dambrot said.

Valparaiso (2-1) started the year with a nine-point loss to a top-25 team in Arizona (73-64), but bounced back with wins over Georgia South and Holy Cross.

Duquesne (1-1) also took on Arizona, in which they carried a two-point lead into halftime, but ultimately fell 67-59 to the Wildcats. The Dukes responded with 84-66 win over Green Bay to get their first win of the year.

In the early season, the Zips have been led by junior Quincy Diggs. The 6-foot-6 forward is averaging 14.5 points per game while hitting 12-of-18 shot attempts.

Diggs was named Mid-American Conference East Division Player of the Week for the opening week of the season.