Akron Continues Streak, Looks Ahead

USA TODAY Sports

The Zips played their third straight game versus an inferior team in EMU and could not match the intensity and execution seen since hosting the Bobcats on Feb 2. Nonetheless, the Zips pulled out victorious in all three.

Ironically after playing the Bobcats on Groundhog Day, the next three games felt like the Zips were Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. The first game against CMU was covered here and was the start of a trend. All 3 games have involved Akron neck-and-neck against inferior teams for 35+ minutes before pulling away in the end.

Saying the Zips were neck-and-neck with the Redhawks of Miami might have been a stretch because the Zips might not have been on par with even Grambling with the first half they played. At the time of the game, I was at my parent's house who did not have ESPNU (gasp) and was forced to watch the game on ESPN3. I have spent so much time watching HD on flat screen TV's that I had forgotten what watching a tiny computer screen looked like. It felt like I was watching the Zapruder film and spent the majority of the game squinting. It was hard to tell if I was even watching the right teams. This became way more relevant because when you watched the first half Akron played, you REALLY wondered if you were watching the right team. The most common words used to describe Akron's first half were "asleep", "slow", and "ugly". The game was hardly watchable especially as an Akron fan so it's hard to blame anyone for glancing at the thrilling Michigan-Wisconsin game playing on the bright HD TV also in front of me.

The Zips came out much stronger in the second half and took the lead in the second half at 35-34 with an Alex Abreu lay-up. Reggie McAdams and Jake Kretzer made back to back threes to give Akron a 41-36 lead and it seemed Akron was making their run. However, Miami would go on a run of their own led solely by Allen Roberts who scored 7 quick points and Miami would regain the lead. Akron would take the final lead of the game when Demtrius "Tree" Treadwell converted an old fashioned 3 point play with 2:15 to go. Akron had a few chances to put the final nail in the coffin but continued their free throw struggles in the waning minutes. They would ultimately hold the Redhawks off 54-50 and extend their win streak to 15.

While we're on the subject of Tree, check out the little feature Sportstime Ohio ran on Tree prior to the EMU game and enjoy the butchered pronunciation of Keith "Dombrot".

Akron would pick up a view more votes in the polls Monday and are inching closer to a potential top-25 ranking in the AP Poll. First, they would need to take care of Eastern Michigan on the road. While it seemed as if the arena had as many people in the stands as a weekday movie showing, the Eagles were a strong home team with an 11-2 record. The Zips played much better against the Eagles and while they never trailed after 2-0, it still felt as they did not play their best and should have pulled away earlier. One man who put on a show was Brian Walsh. After a scoreless first half, Walsh lit up the score sheet with 4 three's and 16 points overall in the second half. The Zips would pull away earlier than the previous two games when Walsh hit his final 3 to put the Zips up 8 with 3:39 to play. All 4 three's were assisted by Alex Abreu who finished with 9 assists but was uncharacteristically sloppy throughout the game with 9 turnovers. The final score was 70-62 with the Zips reaching 20 wins for the 8th straight season. The list of other teams who currently have 8 straight 20-win seasons: Kansas, Duke, Syracuse, Pittsburgh, Gonzaga, Butler, and Florida. In other words: IMPRESSIVE.

The Zips may not have played their best these past 3 games but the important thing is that they beat the teams they are supposed to beat and have continued this tremendous undefeated run in the MAC. Akron will host Bowling Green at the JAR this Saturday in another game that should not be close. Let's see if Akron can put together a dominating performance before back-to-back tough games @ Ohio and vs. North Dakota State. In the mean time, I think Tree can sum up how Akron fans should feel not just today, but this entire season.

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