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The Akron Zips used shutdown defense to take Friday night’s BracketBusters game from the North Dakota State Bison 68-53. It’s one of those games where every little thing helps the Zips post-season prospects. Although it’s likely that they have to win the MAC Tournament to get to the NCAA’s big dance, but every little bit helps and at moments the Zips dominated the Bison paving the way for the victory:
- Defensively, they played spectacularly with the exception of a lapse in the second half. They held the Bison to just 31 percent shooting from the floor. Center Zeke Marshall showed up huge blocking five shots in the game. They dominated the boards 43-36.
- They managed to fine Marshall and junior forward Demetrius Treadwell around the basket and Nick Harney had his share of points inside the paint as they outscored the Bison 34-24 in that area. They also outscored them 15-11 in second chance points for the game.
- They shot 50 percent (14-of-28) from the free throw line. Heading down the stretch, that must change.
Key players: Zeke Marshall showed up huge with 14 points, eight rebounds and those swats. Treadwell joins him with 11 points, 14 rebounds and without Nick Harney 13 points and five rebounds.
Key moment: A one minute stretch that saw the Marshall steal the ball at half court, race to the Bison basket, slam it down, but get called for a tech hanging on the rim. Whether right or wrong, it seemed to ignite the Zips and the crowd and it contributed to a run that helped them break away.
Quote of the night: "I know Zeke would give us problems, but I wasn't expecting a 1-of-6 burger out of Marshall Bjorklund. - Saul Phillips, North Dakota State coach.