KENT, OHIO- Sophomore guard Jimond Ivey scored 14 points and pulled down 12 rebounds as the Akron Zips used a 9-0 run late in the second half to pull away from the Kent State Golden Flashes for a 66-56 victory Friday night before a sellout crowd of 6,327 at the MAC Center.
The victory ended a stretch of . . .
“We had a meeting after the last game (Tuesday night’s loss at home to Miami) We (the coaches) drew a line in the sand and they responded.”
UA will be the top seed in the 2017 Mid- American Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament presented by visitmyrtlebeach.com next week at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. Akron will play the winner of the game between eighth-seeded Eastern Michigan and ninth-seeded Northern Illinois on Thursday March 9th at noon.
The loss ended a five-game winning streak for Kent State (18-13, 10-8). That stretch included wins over the top three seeded teams in the MAC Tournament -- Akron, second seed Ohio, and third seed Buffalo.
KSU opens tournament play as the sixth seed and will play a first-round game at home Monday night against the 11th-seeded Central Michigan Chippewas.
“We had our chances tonight.” Golden Flashes head coach Rob Senderoff said. “
It was a three-point game with five minutes to go. "To their credit, they made big plays. Last time we played them, we made big plays. That's just how it falls. We didn't shoot the ball very well, but you can't fault the effort. We competed as hard as you can compete."
Senior Jimmy Hall led the Flashes with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore Jaylin Walker added 13 and nine boards, while senior Deon Edwin had 12 and seven caroms.
The Zips came out of the blocks fast, hitting five of their first six shots, including all three from three-point range as they opened a 13-6 lead at the 15:16 mark on a trey from the right arc by junior Antino Jackson.
the opening stanza,
After the lead grew to nine (15-6) on a basket by senior Kwan Cheatham, KSU found its legs and outscored UA 13-6 to close to within two ,21-19, at the 6:20 mark on a free throw by junior Kevin Zabo.
The game remained close for the remainder of the half, with the Zips holding a four-point advantage at halftime 32-28.
After their hot start, the visitors cooled off. Akron connected on12-of-29 from the field in the opening half (41.4%) and were 8-of-23 (34.7%) from beyond the arc. KSU was only 10-of-30 from the floor (33.3%) and made just 2-of-12 from beyond the arc. The Flashes inability to hit from long range would cost them in the second half.
The home team used a 8-4 spurt at the start of the second half to gain its first lead of the contest, 37-36, on a three from the top of the key by Jaylin Walker.
The two teams exchanged the lead before the Zips moved ahead for good, 41-39, on a layup by Ivey. UA pushed the lead out to six 56-50 on a foul line jumper by Utomi with 5:33 remaining. KSU closed to within three 56-53 when Jaylin Walker connected on a jumper from the right wing. That, however, was as close as the home team could get.
The Zips closed the win thanks to Robotham and Ivy, The former scored five points in the decisive run. Ivy nailed a three from the right arc, giving Akron its largest lead of the game, 66-53, with 1:45 remaining. UA finished with an 11-point advantage to gain a split of the regular-season series.
When asked about Ivey’s performance, Dambrot said “What impressed me tonight was his competitiveness. He showed a burning desire of wanting to win.”
Neither team shot the ball well. Over the 40 minutes, UA was 25-of-61 (41%), while KSU was just 20-of-60 (33.3%). The Flashes were only 3-of-22 from beyond the arc and made 1-of-10 in the second half -- that one by Jaylin Walker.
The rebound battle was even, 40-40, with a surprising total of 33 offensive boards. The rest of the statistical battle was pretty much even.
“It was a good win for us.” Dambrot said. “Not many teams come into here (KSU) and come away with a win.”