This was certainly not expected to be a close game with the streaking Zips hosting the Chippewas of CMU, who ranked 9th in our most recent MAC Power Rankings.
This game had all the makings of the proverbial let down game. After an impressive win in a packed house versus Ohio, the JAR and the Zips could not match that same intensity until the final two minutes of the game. If there was any gripe from Saturday's game versus Ohio, it was the sluggish start out the gate that put Akron at an early deficit. My biggest concern coming into the game was another slow start from the Zips, but this was not the case as the Zips had an early 13-0 run to take a 13-3 lead. CMU quickly erased this lead and Akron was in for a 40 minute battle.
Demetrius "Tree" Treadwell struggled early with foul trouble earning a technical foul and third personal with just under 5 minutes left in the first half. The Zips would finally show some life ending the half on a 7-0 run to take 1 point lead. This 7-0 run did not parlay into the second half and Akron continued in the back and forth battle with CMU. Treadwell earned his 4th foul with 15 minutes left to play and was sent to the bench. One of the biggest reasons for the winning streak has been Treadwell with double-doubles in 4 of his last 5. Akron failed to go on one of the runs we've become accustomed to during the streak with Treadwell on the bench. Luckily, it would not be the last time the Zips would hear from him.
After a bizarre moment where a fire drill went off that caused a short delay and showed shades of the Super Bowl, Coach Dambrot mixed in a full court press and tried to work the ball inside to Zeke Marshall and Pat Forsythe. Akron received some help from CMU as they called their final timeout with 9:24 left in the game and then sent Akron into the bonus with 8:11 to play. This did not seem to help Akron finish CMU off and it was not until 1:48 when Treadwell dunked in the lane that Akron would make the run we've been waiting for. Akron followed up this dunk with a "combined" steal as Kretzer would knock the ball loose and Alex Abreu made an acrobatic save which led to a Treadwell tip-in on the offensive end. The Zips got another stop after a missed lay-up from CMU's Chris Fowler on the defensive end and this was followed by the final three point dagger from Jake Kretzer to put the Zips up 64-56 with 35 seconds to play. The Zips would end the game on a 11-0 run for a final score of 68-56 that was much closer throughout.
Alex Abreu was again the player of the game for the Zips with 15 points and 7 assists. He remained calm throughout the game and distributed the ball effectively and also hitting three crucial three pointers.
Akron only looked like the same team from Saturday twice during today's game: The first four minutes and the final two minutes. At the end of the day, they won the game and continued the nation's longest winning streak of 14 with a survive and advance mentality. They have some tougher opponents upcoming and will certainly need to play more than 6 minutes of their best basketball to continue this winning streak.