A glimpse of what the University of Akron men’s basketball team can be came into view in a win against Oral Roberts.
It featured dominant and gutty performances by Quincy Diggs (19 points, seven rebounds, three assists) and Demetrius Treadwell (18 points, 11 rebounds, two blocks) along with timely shooting from Nick Harney, Reggie McAdams and Jake Kretzer.
After playing with cool despite their relative youth, it’s clear that when Diggs and Treadwell are on, good things will likely happen for the Zips.
The Golden Eagles were no pushover, and everything seemed to come together for Diggs and Treadwell.
It’s happening at the right time given that the University of Detroit, a team to which the Zips lost on the road last season, will visit Rhodes Arena at 7 tonight. Games between the Zips and Titans usually turn into battles, and neither Diggs nor Treadwell expect anything different this year.
They are, however, noticing differences in the way the Zips are playing.
“I most definitely feel like I’m getting my mojo back, so that’s good for me and the team,” Diggs said. “I knew it was going to be a rough start at first, but now I’m really starting to get into it.”
Diggs has scored (he averages 13.2 points per game) and when he hasn’t, he’s done other things to help the team, including distributing the ball when necessary.
Coach Keith Dambrot likes what he sees thus far, but said Diggs can do more.
“He’s got a lot of room to grow. I didn’t think he was that good defensively [against Oral Roberts],” he said. “Sometimes when he gets going up and down he’s a blur. He’s got bad tendinitis in the knee; I’d hate to see if he didn’t.”
Treadwell appears to be awakening from the funk that caused a team issue just two short weeks ago.
“Guys go through good, bad, ugly, peaks, valleys,” Dambrot said. “He’s had a rough couple of weeks, I thought. And he’s a very emotional guy, so when things don’t go well for him, sometimes he has a hard time. That’s coaching too; you have to continue to work with him.”
Whatever Dambrot and his staff have done, it seems to be showing up in Treadwell’s past two games. He averaged 18.5 points and nine rebounds in those games.
But Treadwell has to get some of the credit. He can’t sneak up on anyone any longer. He has earned a name at the mid-major level.
Teams — such as Cleveland State who took him away in the low post in a game 10 days ago — will plan for him and his particular skill set around the hoop.
“It was a tough time at the beginning and adjusting to that,” Treadwell said. “But I feel like I’ve got it now and as teams continue to guard me different ways, I adjust.
“I’m definitely feeling differently. I got in there and watched a lot of game film to find out how teams were going to check me and guard me and things like that.”
Confidence breeds comfort and that comfort level might be setting in as the Zips face the most difficult portion of their nonconference schedule, including a jaunt to Hawaii for the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic over the Christmas holiday. In the meantime, there is a quiet confidence as they prepare for the Titans.
“Coach said there’s going to be plenty of running, so we’ll come out and adjust to that too,” Diggs said.
But what will it take to win?
“Just play Akron Zips basketball,” Treadwell said. “That’s how we’re going to get the win. Period.
George M. Thomas can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.