Zips sputter before pulling away from Toledo Print E-mail
Written by Evan Meyer   
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AKRON, OH Sometimes during a season, a basketball team will not be hitting on all cylinders. Good teams, though, find ways to win.
The Akron Zips did not bring their best game to Rhodes Arena Saturday night, but it was good enough to pull away from the Toledo Rockets late in the second half for a 59-45 win before the largest home crowd of the season, 3,634.

Akron (15-6, 5-2 MAC) was held to its second lowest point total of the season but managed to win its third in the last four games and stay even with Kent State atop the Eastern Division standings.

When you play 31 games you are going to have some lemons, and the key is to win the lemons, Zips head coach Keith Dambrot said after the game.

Toledo (3-18, 0-7 MAC) suffered its 11th consecutive loss and now has not won a MAC game since March 8,2009 when the Rockets defeated Northern Illinois 74-69.

Give Toledo credit.They slowed the game down; they forced us into things we dont usually do Dambrot added

Anthony Humpty Hitchens led the Zips with 13 points, going 5-for-10 from the field while Nikola Cvetinovic added 10 while leading Akron with six rebounds.

Malcolm Griffin paced Toledo with 13 points, while freshman Jake Barnett, who came into the game leading the Rockets in scoring, contributed 11 on just 4-of-10 shooting while committing seven turnovers.

Neither team shot the ball well in the first half. In fact, the percentages were almost as low as the frigid temperatures that have gripped Northeast Ohio the past couple of days.

 Midway through the first half, the teams were a combined 7-for-29 from the floor and neither team wanted to take control of the game.

Akron then went on a 9-0 run to open its largest lead of the first hal, 22-12, at the 4:30 mark on a Jimmy Conyers layup. The hosts went into halftime with an eight-point advantage, 27-19.

At the start of the second half, UA opened a 13-point lead, 36-23, when Ronnie Steward hit a three-pointer from right side of the arc.

Toledo countered by outscoring the Zips 13-4 to close to within four points 40-36 on a Josh Freelove layup with 8:03 remaining.

But that would be the closest Toledo would get for the rest of the contest as Akron finally put together some good basketball at both ends of the court.

The Zips went on a 15-2 run to take complete control, 55-38, with 5:05 remaining on a Brett McKnight layup. Extending the lead to 16 points in the final moments on a Chris McKnight layup before closing with a 14-point victory.

Were going to have to play way better to beat anyone Dambrot said.

The Zips will get their chance as they are back in action Monday night to face Eastern Michigan at home. Akron plays three home games in a five game stretch, while Toledo travels to Bowling Green on Monday
The game as the 53rd lifetime meeting with Toledo holding a 29-23 edge, but the Zips have won four straight and five of the last six encounters..Akron improved to 10-2 at home with the victory..Akron head coach Keith Dambrot is 8-4 lifetime against Toledo and 3-0 against current Rockets head man Gene Cross..Akron has won their last four and 9-1 against MAC competition at home.

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