Junior guard Channel Banks led the way for the Zips (1-0) in his Akron debut with 15 points, and redshirt sophomore guard Loren Cristian Jackson added 14 in the win. Banks made four 3-pointers and converted 71.4 percent of his field goal attempts.
It was a close game throughout as neither side led by more than five points through the first 24 minutes of action. Akron finally pushed its edge to six on a 3-pointer by junior forward Daniel Utomi with 15:57 remaining in the second half and extended the lead to 11 thanks to an 8-0 run early in the second half.
After Cedarville snapped the run, Akron staged another burst, tallying 11 of the game's next 14 points to extend its edge to 55-38. The Zips found their range from deep during the span and sank 7-of-12 shots from 3-point range after the break.
Rebounding was also a key component of Akron's strong second half as the Zips grabbed 25 caroms to the Yellow Jackets' 20 in the second stanza, but UA still had spans when it struggled as Cedarville grabbed four offensive rebounds on a single possession midway through the half.
The Zips got off to a slow start, getting outrebounded 12-11 through the third media timeout of the first half before battling their way to a 20-20 deadlock on the glass at the break. Cedarville was able to extend possessions with offensive rebounds and winning loose balls, allowing the Yellow Jackets to stay close despite making just two of their first eight shots from beyond the arc.
The two sides arrived at a 31-29 halftime lead for Akron differently, as the Zips used balanced scoring led by senior guard Jimond Ivey (eight points), Jackson (six) and Utomi (five) prior to intermission. Cedarville relied on freshman guard Branden Maughmer, who tallied 13 points and made six of his first eight shots in the opening 20 minutes.
It was a game played heavily on the perimeter, as neither side recorded a point in the paint in the first half. Akron hoisted 16 shots from 3-point range during the half, but made only four as Jackson accounted for half of that number on his own. Combined, the two teams shot just 6 of 29 (20.7 percent) on threes in the half.
The contest also saw the return to the court of Akron junior forward Emmanuel Olojakpoke, who missed the end of last season following heart surgery. Olojakpoke played 13 minutes and tallied two points and four rebounds in the win. Eleven different players saw action for the Zips as second-year head coach John Groce worked multiple newcomers into the mix.
Akron returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 10, playing Youngstown State at 4:30 p.m. in the Northeast Ohio Coaches vs. Cancer doubleheader in Cleveland.
(Courtesy of UA Athletics)