Junior guard Tyler Cheese led the Zips (5-2) with 19 points to go with five assists and four rebounds as five Akron players reached double figures on the evening. Senior guard Jimond Ivey had 13 points, junior forward Emmanuel Olojakpoke added 12 points, junior guard Channel Banks tallied 10 points and junior forward Daniel Utomi recorded 10 points.
Alabama State was never able to get into a rhythm offensively as the Hornets (2-4) led for just 19 seconds in the game and shot just 31.5 percent (17-of-54) for the night. Junior guard Reginald Gee and freshman guard Azariah Seay led the visitors with nine points each, but shot a combined 5-of-11 from the field.
The Zips led 17-3 after the opening 10 minutes of the game despite not scoring a point in the first 2:32 of the contest. Once they broke through, they were able to build a lead quickly as five different players scored in a 15-1 run.
That offensive span proved to be an outlier in the first half as most of the two teams settled in for a slow-paced, half-court affair that saw them shoot a combined 17-for-53 prior to intermission. The two players who bucked that trend were Ivey and Olojakpoke, who both shot 3-of-3 in the first half and combined for 14 points in the stanza.
Turnovers were an issue for both sides as the Zips turned the ball over 10 times before the break and the Hornets had nine miscues of their own. Shooting struggles from beyond the arc were also a commonality as a combined 4-of-25 effort from distance saw just one player - Akron redshirt sophomore guard Loren Cristian Jackson, who had two triples in the half - make more than one shot from 3-point range.
Akron returns to action Saturday at 5 p.m. in the second half of a doubleheader with the women's team, which will face Eastern Kentucky at 2 p.m. The men's team will face Detroit-Mercy to wrap up a brief, two-game homestand.
(Courtesy of UA Athletics).