ARLINGTON, Tx -- The Akron Zips saw their season come to an abrupt end Monday night, losing to Texas-Arlington in the second round of the 2017 National Invitational Tournament. Playing at home, the Mavericks dominated UA in every facet of the game en route to an 85-69 win at the College Park Center.
Akron (27-9) was led by. . .
Texas-Arlington (27-8) displayed a balanced and effective offense, posting six players in double figures. Junior Kaelon Wilson who led all scorers in the contest with 18 points. Erick Neal and Kevin Hervey netted 13 apiece, while Drew Charles contributed 11. Jorge Bilbao and Nathan Hawkins chipped in 10 each.
UA grabbed its only lead of the game just 90 seconds into the contest on a three by Cheatham. From that point on, the Mavericks, regular-season champions of the Sun Belt Conference, took control.
An early 11-1 run put UTA up 20-9 as the Zips missed their next six shots from the field after the three by Cheatham.
Midway through the period, Texas Arlington established a double digit lead that it would maintain the rest of the way. It was a 13-point Maverick’s lead, 39-26, after the first period.
UTA built its lead on the strength of shooting 51.5 percent from the field (17-of-33), while the Zips were only 10-of-31 from the floor (33.8%).
The second half was more of the same as Texas Arlington crushed any hope of a Zips comeback by building as much as a 31-point lead, 75-44, following a three by Wilson.
UA’s only sustained run of the game was at the end, when it put together a 14-2 spurt. However, by that time the outcome had been decided.
The Mavericks finished the contest shooting a sizzling 53.2 percent from the floor (33-of-62) while connecting on 12-of-33 from beyond the arc. UA’s poor shooting cost the Zips dearly as they finished the 40 minutes at 33. percent (22-of-65). The rebound battle was even at 39-39.
► As with Cheatham, the UTA game was the final appearance in the career of Isaiah Johnson. The 2017 MAC Player of the Year was saddled with foul trouble for just about the entire game, ultimately the registering just nine points and three rebounds. The two-time All-MAC First teamer finished his career with 1,374 points, 748 rebounds, and 202 assists in 136 career games.
► Although the Zips finished on a rough note, the 2016-17 record reflects plenty of successful notes.
The Zips set a school record for 27 victories, won back-to-back MAC regular season championships. They also ashioned a 12-game winning streak during the season and established a record 30-game streak at home dating back to 2015-16.