Zeke Marshall, Nick Harney and Alex Abreu paced a Zips team that was never able to quite vanquish the visiting Falcons until the final minutes.
Scores can be deceiving, or they can be an indicator of something real. Akron beating a team like Bowling Green by 17 points sounds about right. They beat them by 13 points earlier this year at BG, and it looked like another rout as Akron jumped out to an 11-1 lead, with BG not scoring a point until after six minutes have been played.
But despite the lopsided beginning, and even some points throughout the game where they had double-digit leads, Bowling Green was never out of it. The closest they reached was five points with four minutes left to play. But as they began with a 11-1 lead, the Zips hammered down with a 12-1 run to finish the game.
We'll start with the losers first, because it's my post and my team and dangit I have things to say. For one, Richaun Holmes has earned to start over Cameron Black. Holmes was the primary reason the Falcons was anywhere adjacent to a competitive team in the first half, and Black was nearly invisible, and has been for a few games. Holmes put in a career-best 15 points (on six shots!) to go with eight rebounds and four blocks. Jordon Crawford was pretty well contained — just six points on 3-for-17 shooting — and A'uston Calhoun worked hard for 11 points. Essentially this was a game where Holmes showed he could play both ways for an extended period of time without committing too many fouls. They had no high hopes of beating Akron, but they stayed in the game and Holmes was part of that.
It felt like many other road losses. They had a chance but at the same time really didn't. It was Akron's game to win or lose, and wobbly game from Demetrius Treadwell notwithstanding, the Zips turned another ugly game into an impressive victory, at long last.
Zeke Marshall started slow but finished with a team-best 15 points, nine rebounds and three blocks. Alex Abreu showed up his contemporary as well — not only forcing Crawford into wild shots but adding 13 points of his own to go along with six rebounds, four assists and a no-foolin' block. Nick Harney took the most shots on the team and ended with 13 points and Brian Walsh had an underrated 10 points on four shots with six rebounds, three assists and two steals.
Akron's Keith Dambrot on if Zips would have lost on his bobblehead night: "I probably would have taken mine home and smashed it."— Jeremy Guy (@JGuyMAC) February 17, 2013
So that puts the Zips winning streak at 17. It's the fourth straight game where a lesser team hung around longer than expected. The last completely dominant win, oddly enough, was the Ohio game. What sort of inconsistency contagion did the Bobcats sneak in their water cooler? Whatever the strain, it wasn't enough to get them to lose, not even on Keith Dambrot bobblehead night, who shook his human head more than a few times but still has to be happy with another victory. In fact they now own the third-longest winning streak in conference history. The top one belongs to Kent State, who won 21 games in 2002. As fate will have it, the Zips will have a chance to break that streak in the regular season finale against ... Kent State.
But first they have a home match against North Dakota State for the BracketBuster, then trips to Ohio and Buffalo and a home match against Miami. I am just spitballing here, but watch the Zips win all those games except for the one against the RedHawks. It makes the least sense, which means it makes the most sense.