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Men’s hoops hosting Akron

As the men’s basketball team (12-5, 6-3 in conference) continues to work toward their goal of winning the Mid-American Conference championship, they welcome Akron (12-6, 6-4) into Anderson Arena tonight.

The Falcons are coming off a disappointing 72-69 loss at Ohio Saturday, but have had plenty of time to shake that game off and prepare for the Zips.

Akron saw a five-game winning streak come to a halt at Miami Sunday, losing 74-63. Prior to the loss, the Zips were not even allowing opponents to stay in games with them during the streak, averaging a +17.6 scoring margin.

Their ability to jump on teams and never let them back in has not gone unnoticed by Falcons head coach Dan Dakich.

“They’ve played and beaten teams probably as bad, if not worse, than any other team in our league has. I don’t think very many teams, if any, have beaten teams as badly as Akron has here of late,” Dakich said.

With a roster filled of physical players mixed with quick guards, the Zips pose a difficult challenge to any team they face.

They are led offensively by 6’5″, 220-pound forward Darryl Peterson, who is tops on the squad in scoring with 15.6 points per game.

Peterson can muscle inside for baskets, step out and hit a three (35 percent on the year) and battle for rebounds (4.8 per game).

Akron landed several key recruits before last season that are beginning to show their worth this year. The two biggest names of those recruits are point guard Dru Joyce and power forward Romeo Travis, both of whom are best remembered for playing with now Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James in high school at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary.

Joyce has started all 18 contests and is fourth in the MAC in assists, averaging 4.83 per game, while scoring 7.6 ppg and shooting 41 percent from downtown.

Travis has blossomed into a physical force in the MAC. Dakich credits him with having “the best hands, maybe, in the league” as his numbers have jumped to 10.1 ppg and 7.2 rpg. His 3.44 offensive boards a night trail only Ball State’s Terrance Chapman atop the conference.

The Falcons are likely to be without starting forward Germain Fitch, who had an MRI Monday on his knee which was injured during the post-game celebration against Toledo. Fitch returned to the lineup against OU, but re-injured his knee in the opening minutes and never came back in.

The game begins at 7 p.m. The Falcons will then have a chance at redemption Monday as they welcome OU to town.

The game will air on television on FOX Sports-Ohio and tip is at 8 pm.

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