The University of Akron men’s basketball team began Saturday night’s game at Rhodes Arena against Bowling Green knowing it had a shot to get back in line for one of the Mid-American Conference Tournament’s higher slots.
Archrival Kent State did UA a favor earlier in the day by knocking off Ohio University, giving the Zips some control of their fate.
Losers of three consecutive games, the Zips, (18-11, 10-6 in MAC) needed the help and they took advantage of it with a 57-47 victory over the Falcons (12-17, 6-10). The Zips now have the lead for the tournament’s fourth seed with two games left in the season.
UA forward Demetrius Treadwell led all scorers with 17 points and nine rebounds and a career-high five assists. He was followed by Quincy Diggs with 13 points and six rebounds. Fifteen of Treadwell’s points came in the second half.
For Treadwell it was a matter of seeing what the Falcons were doing with him.
“I was just feeling my way through the game and taking what they gave me,” he said. “Whether they were making me pass the ball or giving me lanes to score. I just played with energy in the second half, ran the floor with energy, got to the line and scored, I guess.”
Coach Keith Dambrot said Treadwell is becoming better at involving his teammates.
“He understood what they were trying to do to him and he made the next play trying to get guys open looks,” Dambrot said.
The Zips opened with energy to start the game, beginning it with a 7-0 run, but the Falcons proved pesky, trailing 20-18 at halftime.
The Zips began the second half in a similar fashion by scoring the first five points. It wasn’t until Treadwell started to put his imprint on the game that UA really took control.
The 6-8 forward took a pass in the paint and powered it through the arms of two Bowling Green defenders to score, drawing a foul in the process.
A free throw completed a three-point play, giving the Zips a nine-point lead and plenty of momentum.
Treadwell took advantage of it moments later by getting a dish from point guard Carmelo Betancourt for an easy layup and scoring his 1000th point as a Zip. He drew the foul and again completed the three-point play.
It came amidst UA’s longest run of the game at 18-4, in which he scored 9-of-12 UA points. It buried the Falcons at 52-38 with 2:50 left in the game.
The win gives the Zips leverage within the conference regarding tournament seeding and keeps them ready should they get wings Reggie McAdams and Jake Kretzer back.
That’s extremely important given that they will face two of the teams that beat them — Buffalo and Kent State — to close out the regular season.
“We’re very aware of the stuff going on around the league, especially if they played before us, so we knew Ohio lost today so we knew we had to go out and control our destiny,” Treadwell said. “If we keep winning we get that fourth or third or whatever seed.”
George M. Thomas can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Zips blog at http://www.ohio.com/zips. Follow him on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/GeorgeThomasABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.