Full 40 needed for Zips

By Roger Moreano

When the Akron Zips enter Chick Evans Field House at 7:05 p.m. tonight they may not know exactly which NIU team they will be facing.

The Huskies enter the contest coming off a bitter 71-55 loss at the hands of Cleveland State on Saturday.

What made the loss exceedingly bitter was that the Huskies held a seemingly comfortable 35-20 lead at the half only to see the game slowly slip out of their hands as Cleveland State outscored NIU 51-20 in the second half.

“We’re certainly not a mature team,” said NIU Head Coach Brian Hammel. “We did a great job in the first 20 minutes, but unfortunately the game of basketball is 40 minutes.”

NIU will certainly have to be prepared to play the full 40 minutes tonight against Akron. The Zips (11-7, 6-3) are riding high after their 63-62 upset of the Mid-Continent Conference leaders, Wisconsin Green-Bay, Saturday night.

Akron defeated NIU 82-69 in their first meeting back on January 4. Senior Roy Coleman led the Zips with 22 points while the Huskies were led by Steve Oldendorf and Randy Fens who each scored 14 points.

For NIU, the key to playing well against Akron will be to put the Cleveland State game behind them.

“The worst thing that this team can do after (Saturday) night is to get down on themselves,” Hammel said. “We’ve got to lace them up again and do the whole 40 minutes on Monday night.

“We’ve talked to our guys since October (and told them) that you can’t get too high after a win or a loss, and you’ve got to be able to come back after a big win or loss and be able to compete in a day or two days later and do whatever it takes.”