University of Akron Athletics - news release
OXFORD, Ohio – Quincy Diggs scored 14 points, including eight in the second half, to lead Akron to a 65-60 road win over Miami (Ohio) to open Mid-American Conference play on Saturday.
Diggs led three players in double figures for Akron, including Brian Walsh with 13 points and Nick Harney with 11 points. The Zips improved to 9-6 overall, 1-0 in MAC play and have now won three-straight against the RedHawks.
Akron forced 14 Miami (Ohio) turnovers compared to just seven by the Zips, including one in the final 20 minutes. UA finished the game shooting 44.0 percent from the floor (22-of-50) and 58.3 percent from long range (7-of-12).
Julian Mavunga led the RedHawks (4-9, 0-1 MAC) with 23 points and 14 boards.
After Miami (Ohio) pushed its advantage back to seven point (39-32) with 14:44 left in the game, Brett McClanahan drained his first 3-pointer to bring Akron within four (39-35) on the Zips’ next possession.
Both squads took turns trading points on possessions. Harney added six points during that stretch. Back-to-back layups by Diggs got Akron within one point (44-43) with 10:28 left on the second-half clock.
Akron regained the lead at 47-46 with 8:58 thanks to a Demetrius Treadwell layup on the fast break. Treadwell sparked the layup with his first steal of the game. Chauncey Gilliam capped off a 12-3 Akron run to give the Zips a 49-46 advantage with 8:36 to go.
The Zips and RedHawks continued to trade buckets before Miami (Ohio) grabbed a 54-53 lead with 3:27 left. The advantage was short-lived as Alex Abreu put the Zips back on top (55-54) on Akron’s next possession (3:04).
After Miami (Ohio) tied the game at 58-58 with 1:40 left on the clock, Diggs gave Akron the lead for good with two free throws. After a RedHawk turnover on their next possession, Abreu gave the Zips a four-point lead (62-58). The Zips would hold on at the line to take home the win.
Both teams struggled from the field through the first 8:08, combining to make just 6-of-22 from the floor (27.3 percent) with the game tied at 8-8 with 11:52 to go.
Akron used a 7-2 run to open up a 13-8 lead at the 10:14 mark before Miami (Ohio) grabbed its first lead of the game (16-15) with 6:35 left before the intermission. Both teams traded buckets before the RedHawks opened up a 21-18 lead (4:40).
Miami (Ohio) pushed its lead to 27-20 with 1:35 on the clock, but Akron was able to cut the advantage to four (29-25) by halftime.
Walsh led the Zips with eight points and three boards as Akron shot 34.8 percent from the floor (8-of-23) and 50.0 percent from long range (4-of-8). Akron committed six giveaways while forcing seven turnovers.
Akron closes out its three-game road trip on Wednesday, Jan. 11, when it faces Bowling Green at the Stroh Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET.
Zips Notebook: The Zips improve to 13-7 in MAC openers, 4-6 on the road … Akron is 44-19 in January under head coach Keith Dambrot … UA has now won nine of the last 11 games in the series, including a 3-2 at Millett Hall.
The Akron Zips' men's and women's basketball teams are ready to hit the hardwood for the upcoming season.
During the team's Media day event women's head coach Jodi Kest says her team depth is better than it's ever been.
"It's tough to run our up-tempo scheme when you don't have a lot of depth," she says.
"This year is different, because we have thirteen players we can count on, and we can easily rotate ten kids."
Ten returning players will be on the roster this year for the 2011-12 team. However, the Zips will be missing Kara Murphy, who left as the school's all-time leading scorer.
She says her expectations heading into her sixth season at the helm of the Zips hasn't changed.
"I don't know where the MAC is going to pick us, but I know our goals have always been to get better every practice and every game, win the MAC Tournament and get to the NCAA's."
Last year, the Zips' womens team finished with a record of 14-16 overall and 6-10 in conference play.
One of the key players for the Zips this year is former Archbishop Hoban graduate Rachel Tecca.
"During the summer I worked on my strength," she said.
"Overall, I've improved my strength and conditioning and have also worked to improve my jumpshot."
Last year Tecca set a new program record with 16 double-doubles, while averaging a team-best 15 points and 9 rebounds
The women's program will play host to Ohio Dominican in its only exhibition game on Saturday, Nov. 5 at noon, before traveling to South Bend, Ind., to face Notre Dame in the Preseason WNIT on Friday, Nov. 11.
For the Akron Zips men's basketball team, it's all about taking the next step, which for them means getting to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Head coach Keith Dambrot, now in his eighth season at the helm says that his focus for his team hasn't changed for this year's squad.
"We built this program on knowing how to win, even when we were 12-10 last year, we knew how to win, and we will carry that into this season."
Last year was a season of ups and downs for the Zips' team, but the they won eight straight games and 12 of their last 15 to win the MAC title for the second time in three seasons and advance to the program's third NCAA Tournament against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.
Akron junior center Zeke Marshall says he turned the focus of his game towards the offensive side of the ball during the offseason.
"I have to be more comfortable on offense," says the 7-footer.
"I've improved my strength, post moves, and am looking to get better every practice, every game."
Marshall was named the 2011 MAC Tournament MVP and to the MAC All-Tournament Team, averaging 8.0 points, 7.3 rebounds, 4.3 blocked shots and 1.8 assists per game last season.
The Zips lost seniors Steve McNees, Brett McKnight, Darryl Roberts, and Mike Bardo, who were part of two NCAA tournaments, an NIT, and a CBI.
Despite losing those players, senior forward Nik Cvetinovic says he plans on continuing that winning tradition in his final season.
"I'm pretty sure every guy coming in here knows what the expectations are this season, and they'll look to follow through with those expectations and that's to win the MAC Championship."
The men's program opens its season on Thursday, Nov. 3, when it plays host to John Carroll in the squad's only exhibition game at Rhodes Arena at 7 p.m. ET. The Zips then travel to Starksville, Miss., to face Mississippi State on ESPNU on Wednesday, Nov. 9.
The University of Akron and Kent State University are trying to intensify a sports rivalry by putting a new twist on a decades-old tradition.
Football fans of either college know that the winner of their annual gridiron contest wins not only the game itself, but also the legendary Wagon Wheel.
Now, there's a new wagon wheel trophy that doesn't stop with football and doesn't cater to men's sports. Men's and women's track and field, basketball and golf, along with women's volleyball, baseball and softball are among the teams that will participate in a separate rivalry to win possession of the trophy for a year.
The two universties have agreed on a point system that will be enabled each time the designated teams play each other.
UA Director of Athletics Tom Wistrcill says student-athletes and coaches are already excited about the PNC Wagon Wheel Challenge and he hopes other students will take an interest as well.
"We're going to have to make it known through our website and thr4ough things we do on campus and keep track of the point total to see where it leads," said Wistrcill.
Wistrcill agrees with KSU Director of Athletics Joel Nielson that the new competition is more broad and should emphasize that football and basketball aren't the only sports, even though they often get the most attention.
"I do anticipate there being a heightened sense of awareness, probably in the spring, when we start trying to figure who's ahead of whom," said Nielson.
PNC Bank is sponsoring the Wagon Wheel Challenge.
PNC Regional President Kevin Thompson says his company wanted to be involved because they see the importance of the economic iimpact both colleges have on the region in terms of employment and producing graduates who often stay in the area beyond college.
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