University of Akron men’s basketball coach Keith Dambrot isn’t going to try to explain the unexplainable.
That would be how his team can go from shooting a respectable 44 percent in one game against Kent State to 32 percent in the next against Eastern Michigan.
“I asked our guys, ‘How can you shoot a high percentage, then shoot such a low percentage?’ ” Dambrot said after Friday morning’s practice. “There’s no explanation for that.
“We have good enough shooting that we should never shoot that percentage.”
But the Zips’ offense has struggled in the past two games, held to fewer than 60 points in both. Today they’ll try to get things back together at Bowling Green.
When two of their top guns go stone cold, the Zips will struggle.
Forwards Demetrius Treadwell and Nick Harney pulled the Zips out of the fire Wednesday against the Eagles, each producing double-doubles.
That’s two of the three players the Zips need to produce consistently, especially on a night when the team makes 3-of-23 3-point shots. When those two and Quincy Diggs struggle, the result is ugly basketball.
“It’s a product of practices. [We] practice badly, [we] look like garbage,” Diggs said as he pointed out he has to play better.
“If I have a bad day, K.D. [Dambrot] says our team is going to struggle,” Diggs said. “I agree with that.”
When Diggs scores in double figures, the Zips are 9-5.
Dambrot isn’t completely satisfied with the lineup that he switched to when UA played at Eastern Michigan earlier in the Mid-American Conference season and made Diggs a starter.
He lost a spark off the bench, but gained some punch to open games. For Dambrot, it was a matter of getting his five best players on the court.
The lineup of Diggs, Treadwell, Harney, Carmelo Betancourt and Jake Kretzer began with three consecutive wins, but the Zips struggled in the past two games.
Diggs could be right in that it’s all a matter of the team getting it right in practice, but Dambrot said that he’s not entirely sold on that lineup. He would like to go bigger.
Freshman center Isaiah Johnson has battled an ankle injury he suffered working out on his own. Freshman forward Kwan Cheatham could be in the mix and sophomore center Pat Forsythe has not helped the team offensively.
“Right now, it’s our five best guys, so is it going to remain that way? I’d prefer to play bigger,” Dambrot said. “The problem with that is, it’s hard to get all your big guys in when you’re not starting any of them.”
One thing Dambrot has to be happy with is the play of Betancourt, who has stabilized the point guard position.
Betancourt isn’t likely to evolve into the scorer that Dambrot wants at that position, but he’s becoming a confident game manager who protects the ball. But where Betancourt has been most tenacious is on defense.
“If he played defensive back, I don’t know if anyone could get around him,” Dambrot said.
For fans who wondered how former center Zeke Marshall impacted the Zips, one stat tells it all.
The absence of Marshall, who now plays with the Maine Redclaws in the NBA Developmental League, shows up in the opponent’s shooting percentage.
Last season, opponents shot 40 percent against the Zips. This year it is 42.3 percent.
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.