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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 15, 12 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Calihan Hall (8,295) -- Detroit, Michigan. Television: Fox Sports Detroit. Home Record: Akron 2-0, Detroit 5-0. Away Record: Akron 0-2, Detroit 0-4. Neutral Record: Akron 2-1, Detroit 0-0. Conference Record: Akron 0-0, Detroit 0-0. Series Record: Akron leads, 4-3.
GAME NOTES: The Detroit Titans look to stay perfect at Calihan Hall as they welcome the Akron Zips to the Motor City for a non-conference bout.
The Zips had their three-game winning streak snapped on Sunday when they fell, 77-61, to the nationally ranked Creighton Bluejays in the first part of their current two-game road swing. Akron reeled off wins over UNC Asheville, Penn State, and Middle Tennessee prior to being routed by Creighton. Coach Keith Dambrot's squad enters with a 4-3 record, but no true road wins to its credit. Akron has some firepower on the offensive end which has yielded an average of 77.4 ppg on 45.8 shooting from the floor.
Ray McCallum's Titans knocked off Alabama State by 13 points to pick up their third win in a row on Monday. The victory improved Detroit to 5-4 overall with its setbacks all coming on the road in games at St. John's, Miami-Florida, Bowling Green, and Pittsburgh. The Titans are netting 77.4 points per game on 42.1 percent shooting from the floor, while allowing opponents to generate 70.9 ppg with a .460 field-goal percentage.
This will be the eighth meeting between Detroit and Akron, with the Zips owning a slight 4-3 lead. Akron has won the last two meetings including a 81-63 victory last season.
After scoring more than 80 points in three straight outings, Akron was held to 61 by Creighton on Sunday after it converted just 4-of-17 attempts from beyond the arc. The Zips registered eight less rebounds than the Bluejays, who converted 10-of-22 from beyond the arc in the non-conference tilt. Junior forward Nick Harney scored a team-high 14 points for the Zips, who also got 12 points from senior center Zeke Marshall. The big man is averaging a team-highs of 12 points and seven rebounds per contest while junior point guard Alex Abreu (11.1 ppg, 5.6 apg) and senior guard Brian Walsh (10.1 ppg, 50 percent 3PT) are also carrying double-digit scoring averages.
Although the Titans only connected on 40 percent of their field goal attempts versus Alabama State their last time out, they cruised to the 81-69 decision thanks to a 10-of-22 mark from beyond the arc. It was the third straight occasion Detroit made at least 10 shots from the perimeter. Senior forward Nick Minnerath paced the team with 22 points and eight rebounds while Ray McCallum tallied 15 points and eight assists. McCallum, whose father is the team's head coach, is leading the unit with 19.2 points and 4.8 assists per contest. Jason Calliste (12.8 ppg) is the second highest scorer on the team thanks to his team-best 20 makes from three-point range. Minnerath (11.6 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and Doug Anderson (11.2 ppg, 6.4 rpg) are strong contributing forwards and sophomore Jawan Howard Jr. is producing 9.2 ppg in his first year with the school.
This should be an even bout between two potential NCAA Tournament teams. The Zips have a very talented floor general in Abreu, which will counteract a lot of what McCallum does for Detroit. The Titans' role players need to step up once again if they are going to extend their winning streak. Akron will be playing with a chip on its shoulder after being embarrassed in Omaha.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Akron 75, Detroit 68
12/15 10:32:50 ET
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