Not much to say about this one other than the meme that coach Keith Dambrot continues to do the coaching job of his life. Most people would have expected the Akron Zips to fold. Much of the work he did in the past nine days was psychological.
As Akron’s AD Tom Wistricill said as he was preparing to go on the court: “He knows when to pull and he knows when to push. He’s the best coach in America.”
High praise indeed. But there were other reasons the Zips won:
Defensively, overall, they were brilliant as the Zips held Ohio to 33 percent shooting for the game. In particular, however, Demetrius Treadwell and Nick Harney stand out for the physical and mental job they did on Ohio’s D.J. Cooper who went 0-for-8 on the night and 0-for-6 from the three-point line.
Offensively they shot just 44 percent from the floor, but the front court of Treadwell and senior center Zeke Marshall each scored 13 points. While Treadwell pulled down 10 boards, Marshall pulled down nine.
Other players stepped up as needed. Senior forward Chauncey Gilliam hit a couple of key shots, as did Brian Walsh. Carmelo Betancourt, who was in a no-win position, played within himself and managed the game while committing just one turnover in 27 minutes.
Key players: Treadwell, who was named tournament MVP, and Harney for their defensive efforts on D.J. Cooper.
Key stat: Ohio shot 5 percent (1-of-5) from the three-point line.
Quote of the game No. 1: “I just sniffed the NCAA Tournament. That’s all.” – coach Keith Dambrot when asked about his feelings as the game was winding down.
Quote of the game No. 2: “I feel like I’m a versatile defender and I feel like I can get the job done. He wouldn’t put me out there on him if he didn’t feel like I could get the job done.” - Demetrius Treadwell on guarding D.J. Cooper.