Men's baskeball blows out Eastern Michigan with 77 to 47 victory Saturday

By: D.J. Johnson

Eastern Michigan came into James A. Rhodes Arena Saturday night leading the MAC West division.

The Eagles (10-13, 5-4 MAC) left The University of Akron campus maintaining that lead, but not with a victory, as they were blown out by the Zips (16-7, 8-1 MAC) in a 77-47 loss.

“We’re a handful on certain spurts,” Akron Head Coach Keith Dambrot said. “We can hurt you.”

The MAC East-leading Zips controlled the game from the opening tip and worked their way to a 31-9 lead with 7:21 left in the first half. UA went into halftime with a 39-16 lead, creating the 23-point advantage off 15 first-half turnovers by the Eagles.

“We do the basic things, which is we play pretty hard and we share the ball,” Dabmrot said.

Eastern Michigan dwindled the Akron lead to 15 at one point in the second half, but the Zips’ depth proved to be too much for Eastern Michigan to handle.

Four Zips reached double figures on the night, with Chauncy Gilliam leading the way (13 points). Nik Cvetinovic (12), Zeke Marshall (11) and Brett McClanahan (11) joined Gilliam at the double-figure plateau.

“We have a lot of interchangeable parts so that if one guy isn’t playing well we can go to someone different,” Dambrot said.

The win is the 13th in the last 15 games for the Zips, as they have now won five consecutive contests.

The win was also special for Dambrot, who picked up his 178th career win, tying him with former coach Tony Laterza for second place in school history.

Marshall also made a dent in the record books with his 224th career block, moving into sixth place on the MAC’s all-time blocked shots list.

“He’s improved every aspect of his game,” Dambrot said. “I thought he played pretty well tonight.”

The junior finished the night with four blocks, five rebounds and three assists.

Marshall’s impressive defensive effort was matched by the entire Zips squad, as EMU’s 16 first-half points were the lowest total by Akron opponent this season.

Matt Balkema led the Eagles with 15 points and six rebounds off the bench.

The Zips will hit the road Wednesday as they travel to take on Western Michigan (10-13, 4-5 MAC). The Broncos fell to Kent State Saturday in overtime, 79-70.