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Zips extend MAC lead with thriller over W. Mich

By mrasor Published: February 8, 2012

Men's basketball

Every aspect of Akron's 69-66 win over Western Michigan was typical.

Akron started slow, trailing by nine at the half. The Zips upped the pace and evened the score. It was a back-and-forth MAC duel. After an overtime, Akron once again bested the Broncos.

Pretty standard.

But it doesn't mean it was dull.

Akron was down five with two minutes to play in regulation. Spurred by two steals, the Zips went on a 6-0 burst and forced overtime.

Both teams ran efficient offenses in overtime. Zeke Marshall swished two clutch free throws with 36 seconds left. Mike Douglas missed a runner on the Broncos' attempt to tie, and Quincy Diggs was fouled on the rebound with 2 seconds left. Diggs split the pair to seal the come-from-behind win.

Keith Dambrot is now the second-most winning coach in program history with 179 wins.

Alex Abreu played perhaps his best game of the season. He managed the offense very well in the second half. He finished with 15 points and four assists (four turnovers). Demetrius Treadwell was also a monster, to borrow Terry Pluto's monicker. The Monster went for nine and nine.

Douglas and Flenard Whitfield carried the Broncos, who showed they can be a very good team when they have all their pieces on the floor. WMU outrebounded Akron 47-37.

The Zips are now 9-1 in conference play. And tonight's other MAC results were helpful. All MAC East teams won, except the Ohio Bobcats, who dropped a game at MAC West bottom-feeding Toledo.

The upshot of these results is as follows: 1) No MAC West team can seriously be considered a threat to a top-two seed. Eastern Michigan leads the division at 5-5. 2) Akron has a two-game cushion for one of those two top seeds. Kent State and Ohio are 7-3, and it would quite a swing for one of those two teams to overtake the Zips.

Akron plays Northern Illinois Saturday at home at 7:30 p.m.

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