AKRON, OHIO – The Akron Zips collected their seventh consecutive victory as they completed the 2015 portion of their schedule. defeating the South Carolina State Bulldogs 78-68 Wednesday night at Rhodes Arena.
Akron (10-2) is off to its best start after 13 games since 1986-87 when, under the direction of Bob Huggins, UA also started 10-2. In addition, the seven game winning streak is the longest since that 19-game skein in 2012-13.
“It was a difficult . . .
Junior center Isiah Johnson led four UA players in double figures with a career high 24 points, along with nine rebounds and a blocked shot. Sophomore Antino Jackson added 11 with five boards and four assists, while junior Kwan Cheatham Jr and sophomore Aaron Jackson each scored 10. Cheatham also owned nine rebounds, three assists, and a steal.
The Zips broke open a close game by using a 10-3 run to close the first half and went into the locker room with a 43-33 lead. From that point on, they were never headed.
In the second half, UA’s largest lead was 16 points, 55-39, at the 14:34 mark on a layup by Johnson. He was forced into the starting lineup due to an ankle injury to senior Pat Forsythe. The injury occurred in a practice between their games at the South Point Classic in Las Vegas. The most impressive stat of the evening for Johnson was that he went 14-of-16 from the free throw line.
The closest South Carolina State (5-10, 1-1 MEAC) would come for the remainder of the game was nine points on two occasions, the last being 59-50 with 9:18 remaining.
The Bulldogs out of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference had four players in double figures and were led by senior Darryl Palmer. He came off the bench to score 20 points, going 9-of-11 from the field. However it was not enough as SCSU fell to its fourth straight defeat.
The Zips complete their non-conference portion of their schedule Saturday when Lipscomb from the Atlantic Sun Conference comes to Rhodes Arena for a 7:00 p.m. tipoff. UA opens MAC play Tuesday January 5 at Buffalo against the defending MAC Tournament champion Bulls.