Coppin State (3-11) at Akron (8-4)
Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 • 7 p.m. ET
James A. Rhodes Arena (5,500)
Available at GoZips.com – webcast and live statistics free of charge.
Radio: SportsRadio 1350 AM (WARF) in Akron (flagship), for free at SportsRadio1350.com and on iHeartRadio. Steve French (play-by-play) and Joe Dunn (analyst) will have the call beginning at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Akron Coach Keith Dambrot
Is in his ninth season at Akron, posting a 192-91 (.678) mark. Dambrot is 300-161 (.651) in 15 seasons as a collegiate head coach. This is his first meeting with the Eagles.
The Series: This is the first meeting between Akron and Coppin State. UA is 23-5 all-time against members of the MEAC, including 1-0 records vs. North Carolina Central, Delaware State, Florida A&M, Morgan State and Howard, 3-1 vs. Hampton, 7-3 vs. North Carolina A&T, 2-0 vs. Bethune Cookman, 2-0 vs. South Carolina State and 4-1 vs. Maryland-Eastern Shore.
Zips Open 2013 Against Coppin State
Akron opens the new year with a home match-up against Coppin State on Wednesday.
News, Notes and Storylines
• Akron extended its winning streak to four games with a gritty 62-58 win over Princeton on Sunday.
• Zeke Marshall overcame early foul trouble to lead all scorers with 17 points to go along with four rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot. The performance helped him earn MAC Player of the Week honors for the second time this year.
• Nick Harney (16) and Alex Abreu (10) also reached double figures for the Zips
• The win game Akron head coach Keith Dambrot career win No. 300 (300-161).
• Alex Abreu moved into the top-five for career assists at Akron, dishing out seven dimes to finish the evening with 347. He passed Andy Hipsher (344, 2000-04).
• During their four-game winning streak, the Zips are out-scoring their opponents by 19.8 points/game and hold a +12.3 rebounding advantage. UA is shooting 49.8 percent while holding opponents to just 37.4 percent shooting. Zeke Marshall has led the way, averaging 17.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.8 blocked shots.
• Akron has now shot 50.0 percent or better in three-straight and in six of its last eight contests.
• The Zips have recorded more assists than the opposition in 11 of 12 contests this season.
• In games through Dec. 30, the Zips ninth in the nation in blocked shots (6.5 bpg) and 26th in field goal percentage (47.7).
• Zeke Marshall looks to become the 40th member of Akron's 1,000 point club, needing just three points. He will be the 10th player under head coach Keith Dambrot to reach 1,000 career points.
• Akron has three players scoring in double figures and is the only team in the MAC with seven players averaging 7.0 points or better, including Zeke Marshall (13.3), Demetrius "Tree" Treadwell (10.7), Alex Abreu (10.1), Nick Harney (9.4), Brian Walsh (7.8), Chauncey Gilliam (7.5) and Jake Kretzer (7.3).
A Look at the Eagles
Coppin State enters tonight's game with a 3-11 mark, including a 2-7 record on the road this season. The Eagles have lost seven of their last nine games and are coming off a 68-52 loss at Arizona State on Dec. 29.
CSU has three players scoring in double figures, including Michael Murray (13.0), Patrick Cole (11.8) and Troy Franklin (10.1). Murray is the team's leading rebounder (9.9 rpg).
On the Line vs. Coppin State
• A victory would extend Akron's home winning streak to seven games.
• A win would give the Zips their 12th winning streak of at least five games under Keith Dambrot.
Princeton at Akron Recap
A sky hook from Zeke Marshall with 1:33 remaining and a defensive stop late in the game was enough to give University of Akron Head Coach Keith Dambrot his 300th career win as the Zips defeated Princeton 62-58 on Dec. 30 at James A. Rhodes Arena.
Marshall's bucket came on an inbounds play with one second left on the shot clock. A screen by Demetrius "Tree" Treadwell helped give Marshall the open look that game Akron a 59-56 lead.
Marshall finished with a game-high 17 points to go with four rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot. Nick Harney scored 16 points and had one rebound, one steal and an assist.
Momentum continued to swing back and forth and Akron would not establish dominance until the three-minute mark when Treadwell gave Akron a 57-56 lead. Marshall then hit a desperation hook-shot as the shot clock expired extending the lead to three.
Akron's lead would remain at three until Princeton missed a desperation 3-point field goal attempt with less than 5 seconds left in the game. Marshall was fouled and made one of his two free throws to seal Akron's 62-58 win.
Just How Young Are They?
• Akron entered the season as the ninth-youngest teams in the nation, with 16 players having a total of 15 seasons of collegiate experience (0.94 years/letters won per player). In fact, 12 of 16 players had one year or less in the experience column prior to 2012-13.
• Last season, the Zips had 15 players with a total of 19 seasons of collegiate experience, the 20th-youngest team in Division I basketball (1.27 years/letters won per player. Akron is one of just four teams to appear on this list in each of the past two seasons (Navy, Illinois State and Wright State).
Who to Guard Tonight?
One aspect of the Zips' lineup that makes it so hard to defend is the ability for any player to lead the squad in scoring. Last season, eight different players led Akron in scoring, with only two players holding top scoring honors in back-to-back games. So far this season, seven players have had a least a share of the top-scoring performance, with Brian Walsh and Zeke Marshall as the only players to lead the Zips in back-to-back game.
January is a Good Month
• Akron is 49-20 (.710) in the month of January under ninth-year head coach Keith Dambrot, having won eight of its last nine games in the first month of the year.
• The Zips are even better at home during the month, posting a 28-3 mark (.903) at the JAR in January. UA has gone undefeated at home in five of eight January slates under Dambrot and have won four-straight at home. Last year, Akron played just two home games in January (2-0).
Akron is 110-17 (.866) at Rhodes Arena under ninth-year head coach Keith Dambrot (6-0 overall, 0-0 MAC this season). The Zips have recorded 10-straight winning campaigns at home, including last season, and have won at least 13 home contests in seven-of-eight years. UA's last losing record at home came in 1995-96 (2-11).
Win No. 300
Thanks to the Zips' 62-58 win over Princeton on Dec. 30, head coach Keith Dambrot earned his 300th career win in his 15th season as a head coach.
Looking for No. 200
Head coach Keith Dambrot can reach an Akron coaching milestones this season. He needs eight wins to become just the second coach in school history with 200 wins, joining Russell Beichly (286, 1941-59).
Now Starting for Akron
Through 12 games this season, the Zips have started six different lineups. Last season, Akron had six different starting lineups, with the sixth different line-up coming 30 games into the campaign.
1,000 Point Club
Senior center Zeke Marshall is on pace to become the 40th member of Akron's 1,000-point club. Marshall needs three points to join the group.
– 997 - Zeke Marshall (2010-Present)
39. 1,013 - Sam Serves (1942-47)
38. 1,023 - Nate Linhart (2006-09)
37. 1,041 - Hank Vaughn (1946-50)
36. 1,046 - Dru Joyce (2004-07)
35. 1,055 - Bobby Walker (1946-50)
Inside the Scoring Numbers
The Zips have been one of the top defensive squads in the league over the last nine seasons. In 283 games under head coach Keith Dambrot, the Zips have held 204 opponents to 70 points or less, going 165-39 (.809). Akron has held 158 of those foes to 65 points or less, going 138-20 (.873). On the flip side, Akron is 27-52 when allowing 70-plus points (.342).
• During its three-game winning streak, the Zips have been dominating in almost every statistical category.
• Akron is averaging 77.0 points/game during the stretch while out-scoring opponents by 19.8 points/game (57.2). UA is shooting 49.8 percent while holding the opposition to just 37.4 percent from the floor.
• UA is averaging 38.5 rebounds/game and a +12.3 rebounding advantage while dishing out 18.3 assists and recording 6.8 steals per game. The only stat the Zips trail in are turnovers (15.0-14.0, -1.0).
• A key part to the stretch has been the play of the Akron front line. Zeke Marshall (17.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg), Nick Harney (12.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg) and Demetrius "Tree" Treadwell (11.3 ppg, 7.8 rpg) have accounted for 52.7 percent of UA's points and 43.6 percent of the Zips' rebounds.
Shooting the Lights Out
After a sub-par shooting performance against Oklahoma State on Nov. 15 (21-of-70, .300), the Zips have been shooting the lights out over the past nine games. Akron is connecting on 50.1 percent from the field (249-of-497) over the previous nine contests. The Zips have shot at least 42 percent from the floor in each contest during the run and have posted six performances over 50 percent. In all, seven UA players are shooting 50 percent or better.
In UA's first three games, the Zips shot 41.5 percent from the floor and shot better than 40 percent just once (57.6 percent vs. John Carroll).
Solid Bench Play
• The Akron bench has been the catalyst for success under ninth-year head coach Keith Dambrot and this year is no different.
• The Zips' bench holds a +8.9 scoring advantage over the competition (27.5-18.6), having been out-scored only twice this season (38-21 vs. MTSU; 46-38 vs. UAPB). The Akron reserves are shooting 42.1 percent from the floor while holding opponents to just 34.2 percent.
Breaking Down the Stats
• Junior guard Alex Abreu ranks third in the MAC and 23rd in the nation in assist rate, recording a dime on 37.94 percent of the field goals made by the Zips while on the floor.
• Senior center Zeke Marshall is third in the MAC and fifth in the nation in block rate, swatting 13.24 percent of the shots taken by Akron opponents while on the floor. Redshirt freshman center Pat Forsythe is tied for fourth in the MAC (9.15) in the same category. He would rank tied for 14th in the nation if he qualified (20 mpg min.).
• As a team, the Zips are tied for 41st nationally in points per possession, averaging 1.07 points per trip down the court. Akron's shooting has also been effective this season as UA is averaging 1.15 points per shot (tied for 22nd).
Marshall Earns Second MAC POW Award
Zeke Marshall was named Mid-American Conference East Division Player of the Week for the second time this season on Dec. 31.
Marshall, who earned his first POW honor of the season on Nov. 19, helped the Zips to a perfect 2-0 record last week, including wins over Texas Southern (83-68) and Princeton (62-58). For the week, he averaged 19.0 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.0 blocked shots and 2.0 assists per game while shooting 81.3 percent from the floor (13-of-16) and 75.0 percent from the charity stripe (12-of-16).
In Akron's victory over Texas Southern, Marshall led the Zips with 21 points, eight rebounds and five blocked shots in just 21 minutes.
Against Princeton, Marshall averaged a point a minute for the second-straight game, pitching in with 17 points, four rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot in 17 minutes.
A Growing Tree
Junior forward Demetrius "Tree" Treadwell has had a solid two weeks while growing into his starting role. Since the Detroit game on Dec. 15, he is averaging 13.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.2 assists per game while shooting 66.7 percent from the floor (30-of-45). He has dominated the offensive glass, grabbing 16 total rebounds (3.2 per game). Included in that stretch was his first-career 20-point game (at Detroit) and his first-collegiate double-double (vs. Texas Southern).
Making the Most of His Minutes
Junior forward Nick Harney is making the most out of his minutes off the bench this year. In Akron's win over Cleveland State, Harney scored a game-high 19 points in just 17 minutes. It was the third time in his career that he scored more points than minutes played in a game [at Miami (Ohio), 11 points/10 minutes, Jan. 7, 2012; vs. Kent State, 21 points/14 minutes, Jan. 21, 2012).
A Look at the Polls
• Two opponents appeared in the Dec. 31 editions of the AP and USA TODAY Coaches polls. Creighton (16/11) and Oklahoma State (22/21) appeared in both polls.
• Akron is ranked 17th in the Dec. 31 edition of the CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top-25 Poll. Five of UA's mid-major opponents appeared in the poll, including No. 1 Creighton, No. 11 Middle Tennessee and No. 19 Ohio. Detroit (29) and Western Michigan (5) received votes.
• Entering today's game, the Zips check in at No. 51 in the Ken Pom RPI rankings (games through Dec. 31). Akron's out-of-conference schedule is the 98th-hardest in the nation.
• So far, Akron has played three teams inside the top 40 of the RPI, including Creighton (No. 15), Oklahoma State (No. 24) and Middle Tennessee (No. 38), in addition to a top-100 opponent in Princeton (No. 91).
• UA could add one more high-RPI opponent with the 2013 Sears BracketBusters event.
After a solid week of practice, sophomore guard Deji Ibitayo had a breakout all-around performance against Cleveland State on Dec. 23. He recorded career highs for rebounds (7) and assists (6), while tying his career high for blocked shots (1) to go along with four points.
Welcome to the Block Party
• One area the Akron defense has been stout is in the shot blocking category. The Zips lead the Mid-American Conference and are tied for ninth in the nation in blocked shots per game (6.5) in games through Dec. 30.
• Senior center Zeke Marshall continues to be one of the premier shot blockers in the nation. In games through Dec. 30, Marshall is fourth in the nation in blocked shots per game (3.75), has blocked more shots (45) than 171 DI teams and is averaging more swats per game (3.75) than 213 DI squads.
• Redshirt freshman Pat Forsythe is emerging into a solid shot blocker in his first season with Akron. He is second on the team and tied for eighth in the MAC with 1.41 blocked shots per game.
• Combined, Marshall and Forsythe have more blocked shots per game (5.16) than nine of 12 league programs (Akron, 6.5; EMU 5.9, BGSU 5.3) and 312 DI teams (out of 347).
How Hard is it to Win 20 Games?
• The Akron Zips are the only team in the Mid-American Conference to have won 20-plus games in each of the last seven seasons. In fact, only 17 teams (Akron, Butler, BYU, Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Kansas, Louisville, Marquette, North Carolina, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, San Diego State, Syracuse, Texas, Utah State and Xavier) have won 20-plus games in the last seven seasons.
• Taking things one step further, the Zips are one of only seven programs with at least 22-plus wins during that same stretch (Akron, Duke, Gonzaga, Kansas, Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Utah State).
• On the coaching side of 20-win seasons, head coach Keith Dambrot is currently tied for 13th place among active coaches with current 20-plus game winning streaks (7) and tied for the tenth-longest streak at the same program. Only two coaches [Mark Few, Gonzaga (13); Stew Morrill, Utah State (12)] have posted longer streaks of 20-win seasons solely at mid-major programs.
The Century Club
Junior guard Alex Abreu has appeared in 79 games in two-plus seasons for the Zips. Barring injury, Abreu and the Zips need to play in three postseason games for him to reach the century mark this season, joining senior center Zeke Marshall.
Lights, Camera, Action
The Zips will appear on television a minimum of nine times this season, with the potential for 12 additional TV games. Akron has gone 2-3 so far, falling 80-73 at Detroit on FOX Sports Detroit in its last TV appearance (Dec. 15).
Career List Watch
• Senior center Zeke Marshall, with 291 blocked shots in his career, broke the career mark at Akron against Detroit on Nov. 26, 2011. Marshall also owns the single-game (9), single season (94), freshman (59), sophomore (92) and junior season (95), and Akron Rhodes Arena single-game (7) blocked shot records.
• For the third-straight season, the career games played school record could be equalled or eclipsed. Senior center Zeke Marshall has appeared in 117 games over the last three-plus seasons. The Zips would need to appear in six postseason games to tie and seven for Marshall to break the school record of 141, set by Steve McNees (2008-11) and Nikola Cvetinovic (2009-12).
• After breaking the freshman and sophomore season assists records, junior guard Alex Abreu is setting his sights on moving up the career top-10. Against Penn State on Nov. 18, he became just the ninth player in UA history with 300 career assists (347). He is currently fifth on the all-time UA list, passing Andy Hipsher, 344, 2000-04) against Princeton (Dec. 30). He needs five dimes to pass Nate Barnett (351, 1972-75) for fourth place.
Looking at the MAC Record Book
• Senior center Zeke Marshall passed Ohio's John Devereaux (260, 1980-84) and Jason Terry (262, 1992-96) in Puerto Rico to take over sole possession of second place on the MAC list for blocked shots (291). At his current pace of 3.8 blocked shots per game this season, he should break the MAC record of 301 (Lonnie Jones, BSU, 1998-02) in roughly three more games (at Northern Illinois, Jan. 12).
• Compared to other coaches all-time in the MAC, head coach Keith Dambrot is fifth in league history with a .629 win percentage while coaching in the league (212-125 overall; 192-91 Akron, 20-34 CMU), fifth in overall wins (212), sixth in league games winning percentage (.620, 103-63) and seventh in conference wins (103).