Saturday’s victory over the Northern Illinois wasn’t a thing of beauty. In fact, it resembled a blue-collar-punch-in-get-it-done workmanlike affair more than anything else. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
The Zips won because they took care of business in a workmanlike fashion. The Huskies in no way wanted to allow them to get into any kind of running situation and limited the Zips opportunities in that regard. It proved to be of little consequence as the Zips played patiently to grind-out the win.
Part of the reason they were able to play patiently is that the Zips appear to have hit their stride with respect to defense as they enter the MAC season. They went into Saturday’s game as the third best defensive team in the conference and it paid off against NIU as they held the Huskies to 41 percent shooting and held their star player, Abdel Nader, to just 10 points.
One of the things that continue to make the Zips so effective is that on any given night, a team won’t be able to predict who will have the hot hand. Against the Huskies they got it from freshman wingman Reggie McAdams off the bench, who poured in 20 points to lead all scorers. The bench, in the end, scored 50 percent of the Zips points Saturday.