Buffalo (7-12) at Akron (14-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 26, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: James A. Rhodes Arena (5,500) -- Akron, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: Buffalo 4-4, Akron 9-0. Away Record: Buffalo 3-5, Akron 3-3. Neutral Record: Buffalo 0-3, Akron 2-1. Conference Record: Buffalo 2-3, Akron 5-0. Series Record: Akron leads, 27-20.
GAME NOTES: The Buffalo Bulls will try to ruin Akron's perfect Mid-American Conference record when they take on the Zips on Saturday at James A. Rhodes Arena.
The Zips hold a 28-20 all-time series lead over Buffalo after they were swept in the season series by the Bulls in 2011-12. Akron is 18-4 at home in the rivalry.
Although Reggie Witherspoon's Bulls come in with a 7-12 overall record and a 2-3 mark in MAC play, they won their last two games over Bowling Green (68-65) and Ball State (66-63) to build some momentum. The Bulls went 22-of-48 from the floor (.458 percent) and hit 7-of-17 from 3-point range versus Ball State. Javon McCrea tallied 24 points and Will Regan came up with a clutch triple in the closing seconds. Regan totaled 17 points for Buffalo, which won despite committing 20 turnovers.
The Bulls will try to ride McCrea to their third consecutive win as he has stepped up to post 22 points and 9.6 boards per MAC contest. McCrea has six double-doubles this season, already equaling his season totals of both his freshman and sophomore seasons. Buffalo's recent winning streak may be related to Regan's recent confidence boost. The sophomore forward has launched 15 3- point attempts during the two-game winning streak after only attempting 35 over the first 17 games. The high frequency of turnovers is likely to continue while junior point guard Jarod Oldham recovers from a wrist injury.
Akron extended its winning streak to 10 games and rose to a 5-0 MAC record with a 71-56 victory at Toledo on Wednesday. Coach Keith Dambrot's squad is outscoring its opponents by 17.0 points per game and holding a +11.4 rebounding margin during the span of the streak. The Zips have the top scoring offense (75.6) in the MAC as well as the third best scoring defense (62.7). Zeke Marshall posts 12.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 3.7 blocks per contest while Demetrius Treadwell contributes 10.4 points and 7.3 boards a game. Marshall is the MAC all-time and active NCAA career blocked shots leader (313). Junior point guard Alex Abreu is also valuable to Akron's success as he deals out 5.9 assists per tilt while running the show.
The Zips converted 44.4 percent of their field goal attempts and 10-of-23 from long distance to coast past Toledo. They also held a dominant 43-34 edge in the rebounding battle and dealt out 15 assists to 10 turnovers. Marshall was phenomenal, scoring 18 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and swatting nine shots. Abreu just missed a double-double as well with 11 points and nine assists and Treadwell managed to register one by tallying 10 points and 11 boards.
Buffalo has improved its play lately, but it relies heavily on McCrea for offensive production. McCrea will need to be efficient with his jumper or the Bulls may need to locate a new source for scoring, as Marshall's presence in the paint has made him into a virtual lock to win the MAC Defensive Player of the Year as well as a very serious contender for MAC Player of the Year.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Akron 75, Buffalo 58
01/26 10:40:44 ET