By: D.J. Johnson
The University of Akron men’s basketball team defeated Ohio University Saturday evening, continuing their winning streak.
In a 57-56 game with only 3:58 remaining, Zips’ starting point guard Alex Abreu was scoreless.
That would all change after a kick-out from center Zeke Marshall landed in the hands of the sophomore guard, who proceeded to knock down the biggest three-point bucket of the night, giving the Zips a 59-57 lead over the Ohio Bobcats.
Abreu’s clutch three-ball sparked a 7-0 run, as the Zips would complete the comeback and finish the night with 68-63 victory.
“We are very erratic, but we have enough guts to hang in there and play through mistakes and enough toughness and discipline to win,” Akron Head Coach Keith Dambrot said.
The five-point victory ended a three-game skid for Dambrot’s squad against OU (13-4, 1-2 MAC), as UA (11-6, 3-0 MAC) remained the only unbeaten team in conference play.
After the Bobcats took a 30-29 halftime lead on a buzzer-beating three, they never trailed until Abreu’s first points of the game. The Zips never let the lead get higher than five though, and capitalized on Ohio’s late-game foul trouble.
OU ended the night with three key members of their frontcourt fouling out, while racking up 30 personal fouls on the night.
Akron’s 29-of-44 performance from the foul line proved to be the difference in the game.
“It was a very tough, physical game,” Dambrot said. “We just threw the ball inside. We thought that was our best chance.”
Marshall led all scorers with 17 points on 5-7 shooting while pulling down six rebounds and blocking three shots.
Brett McClanahan and Nick Harney of the Zips joined Marshall in double figures with 10 points each.
The Bobcats’ top scorer and 2011 MAC Player of the Year D.J. Cooper led OU with 13 points but was held to 2-15 shooting.
“Today was kind of poetic justice that we finally guarded him a little bit because he has just destroyed us,” Dambrot said.
Overall, OU was held to 35.5 percent (22-62) from the field and 23.8 percent from behind the arc (5-21). UA finished the night shooting 45 percent (18-40) and 27.3 percent from three-point range (3-11).
The Zips looked to continue their four-game winning streak and three-game conference winning streak Wednesday night as they traveled to Buffalo. Ohio has now lost three of four after a nine-game winning streak.