The Zips held the Bluejays under their season scoring average of 92 points per game, but could not recover from a 3:30-minute, 14-0 run midway through the second half. During that stretch, Creighton turned three defensive rebounds and two Akron turnovers into a 19-point (60-41) advantage with 11:06 remaining in the game.
Akron cut the deficit to . . .
Senior forward Kwan Cheatham, Jr. led the Zips on both ends of the floor, recording team highs in points and rebounds. Cheatham scored 17 points on six-of-11 shooting from the floor, which included a five-of-nine effort from beyond the 3-points arc. In 37 minutes on the court, he pulled down seven rebounds and added two assists and a blocked shot.
Junior guard Jimond Ivey also had a solid outing by not committing a turnover in 38 minutes of action while chipping in seven points, four rebounds, four assists, and two steals. Freshman guard at avian Dunn-Martin also chipped in seven points.
The Bluejays were led by Marcus Foster's game-high 27 points, while Cole Huff (16), Maurice Walters, Jr. (14), and Justin Patton (11) followed with double-digits in points.
For the game, Akron shot 47.4 percent from the floor (27-of-57), including a 38.7 percent showing from long distance (12-of-31). Akron held a slim 33- 32 margin on the glass, but lost the turnover battle 17-13.
The Bluejays made 55.2 percent of their field goals (32-of-58), while Akron limited Creighton to eight made 3-pointers, two 3-point field goals under their season average. and a 33.3 percent shooting percentage from downtown.
Creighton opened the game with a 3-point field goal from the short corner and split a two-shot foul for an early 4-0 advantage. UA sophomore guard Josh Williams answered with a trifecta from a similar spot to pull within one point, 4-3, but Foster came back with eight unanswered points to lift the Bluejays to a 12-3 lead at the 15:20 mark.
Akron retaliated with four points on a a Cheatham triple and Johnson free throw, and again the Bluejays hit a pair of 3-pointers to remain in front by seven points (24-17) with 9:20 showing on the clock. During the final nine minutes, Creighton pushed the lead to as many as nine points (37-28) before Dunn-Martin buried a jumper from the free throw line as the clock hit zero in the first half. Creighton led 37-30 at intermission.
After the break, Ivey started the scoring with a fast break layup, which was the result of one of his two steals. Next, Ivey and Williams found the bottom of the net from deep to pull the Zips within three points (41-38) before the Bluejays tacked on five consecutive points for an eight-point lead (49-41).
Cheatham interrupted the Bluejays surge with a 3-pointer from the top of the key to shrink the Creighton lead back to five points (46-41) with 14:41 left to play. The interruption didn't last long, however, as Creighton went on the 14-0 scoring outburst that ended with another Cheatham trifecta.
Akron shaved six points from the deficit when Johnson, Ivey, and Dunn-Martin scored points in the paint, but the Bluejays stalled every big scoring drive opportunity with timely baskets en route to the 82-70 win.
Akron returns to James A. Rhodes Arena on Wednesday, Dec. 7, to battle Coppin State. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. as the Zips attempt to extend its home winning streak to 22 games.
(Courtesy of UA Athletics)