By: DJ Johnson
The Akron men’s basketball team picked up their first win in three games Saturday night, as a high-powered offensive attack led to a 81-63 victory over Detroit.
Leading the offensive outburst, the Zips (3-2) had four players reach double figures, which would prove to be too much for the Titans (3-4) to overcome.
“I told our guys we are going to build this long term,” said Akron Head Coach Keith Dambrot. “If we build it long-term, the short-term results will be better.”
After back-to-back losses against Valparaiso and Duquesne, the Zips responded after a week of rest to coast past Detroit, who was playing in their fourth game in seven days.
Akron was without the services of starting point guard Alex Abreu, who was suspended for a violation of team rules.
The absence of Abreu went nearly unnoticed on the offensive end. UA shot 54.2 percent from the field (32 of 59) and 50 percent from three-point range (8 of 16).
Nik Cvetinovic led the Zips with 16 points on six of eight shooting.
Joining Cvetinovic in double figures were sophomore forward Nick Harney (15 points), senior guard Brett McClanahan (12) and center Zeke Marshall (11).
UA, who struggled to gain a lead in the early going, used a 10-2 run late in the first half to take a 43-32 halftime lead.
Detroit would keep within striking distance early in the second half, trailing 57-49 with 13 minutes to go, but a 9-0 Akron run pushed the lead out to 17.
Cvetinovic led Akron in the second half, scoring 10 points, grabbing six rebounds and dishing out three assists.
Akron’s explosive offense, coupled with stingy defense, allowed them to take the 18-point win on their home floor.
“By staying fresher, we played better defensively,” Dambrot said. “We put some guys in some difficult situations and they responded pretty well.”
Senior Chase Simon was the only Titan to reach double figures. The guard led all scorers with 27 points. Simon shot 10 of 15 from the floor, three of five from behind the arc and pulled down seven rebounds.
For the Zips, junior Chauncey Gilliam replaced Abreu in the starting lineup. Gilliam finished the night with seven points.
The remaining starter, Quincy Diggs, scored eight points on the night.
UA’s bench produced 27 points and 17 of the team’s 35 rebounds.
“We have always won a lot of games with our bench,” Dambrot said.
The Zips will hit the road for their next three games as West Virginia, Middle Tennessee and Cleveland State lie ahead on the schedule.