GAME NOTES: For the third game in a row, the Bowling Green Falcons will take on a first place opponent as they visit James A. Rhodes Arena for Mid-American Conference action with the Akron Zips.
This will be the second bout between these schools in 2012-13. Akron walked away from the Stroh Center with a 68-55 victory on Jan. 30 to extend its all- time series lead to 26-24 in the first encounter. Zeke Marshall led the Zips with 15 points in the contest, while Chauncey Orr produced 16 points for the Falcons.
BGSU picked up its third win in four games since falling to Akron on Wednesday by downing Western Michigan, 70-60, at home to rise to a 10-14 overall record. Louis Orr's unit is now tied with Kent State and Buffalo for third place in the East Division standings coming into Saturday's action. A'uston Calhoun and Jordon Crawford make up the second-highest scoring duo in the MAC with 31.4 combined points per game, while Richaun Holmes rejects 2.5 shots per tilt to make an impact inside.
Calhoun poured in 24 points on Wednesday to lift the Falcons to the 10-point win over WMU, which had won seven of its previous eight games. BGSU played the Broncos evenly in the first half before using a 9-1 run and 63.6 percent shooting from the field in the second stanza to take control. Crawford added 13 points and four assists for BGSU, which also received 11 points from Chauncey Orr. Holmes also made his mark in the contest with eight points and nine rebounds. Bowling Green is one of the better defensive teams in the MAC, limiting their opposition to 62.6 ppg. However, it is only 10th in scoring at a mere 62.2 ppg.
Keith Dambrot's Zips have made a name for themselves as one of the top mid- major programs in the NCAA this season. Akron reeled off its Division I leading 16th consecutive win on Wednesday when it defeated Eastern Michigan, 70-62, on the road. The decision left the Zips as the only remaining unbeaten team in MAC play and helped them improve to 20-4 overall. Marshall has been a tremendous asset in the post on both ends with averages of 12.5 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 3.5 blocks per outing. Demetrius Treadwell is also a very serviceable post player with 11.0 points and 7.4 rebounds per outing.
Marshall and Treadwell combined for 23 points in Akron's eight-point victory over EMU its last time out. Brian Walsh provided some pinpoint accuracy from beyond the arc on his way to a game-high 16 points and Nick Harney added 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field. The Zips connected on 53.2 percent of their shots from the floor to exceed EMU's current MAC leading scoring defense average by 10 points.
Akron's success this season in the standings is a result of its excellence on both ends of the court. The Zips are second in the MAC in both scoring offense (73.9) and defense (62.0) to hold the league's best average scoring margin at +12.0.
The Zips are perfect at home this season, but they have faced some unexpected tests in recent action. Alex Abreu has been the x-factor for Akron as his point guard play seems to dictate how the team performs as a whole. Crawford will need to have his shooting touch intact for this one, as BGSU will not get too many easy points with Marshall clogging the lane.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Akron 71, Bowling Green 64