AKRON, OHIO – Senior Reggie McAdams scored a career high 28 points as the Akron Zips ended a two-game losing streak with a 92-88 victory over the Eastern Michigan Eagles Tuesday night at Rhodes Arena.
With the victory, Akron (14-4, 3-2 MAC) remained undefeated (8-0) at home and is tied for second in the Eastern Division. Akron, Bowling Green and Buffalo are one game behind division-leading Kent State.
“It wasn’t my kind of game but we will take the win.” Zips head coach Keith Dambrot said.
McAdams led four UA players . . .
. . . in double figures. Junior Isiah Johnson came off the bench to score 22 points, going 12-of-13 from the free throw line with eight rebounds. Senior Pat Forsythe and sophomore Noah Robotham each scored 11 along with five assists and two steals.
Eastern Michigan (10-8, 2-3 MAC) lost consecutive games for the first time this season.
“Give Akron a lot of credit tonight. “ Eagles head man Rob Murphy said. “The story of the night was McAdams, he found the openings in our zone consistently, especially in the second half.”
Five Eagles hit the double-digit plateau, led by Willie Mangum IV with 22 points off the bench. Junior Ty Toney added 16. Sophomore Tim Bond had 13 with five assists, while Junior Raven Lee had 11 and senior Brandon Nazione added 10 with five rebounds and a steal,
EMU broke open a close game with an 11-0 run midway through the period, opening as much as an 10 point lead, 28-18, at the 4:35 mark when Bond scored on a layup off the glass. The Eagles shot 53.6% from the field (13-of-28) going 5-of-11 from three-point range during the opening period.
UA gnawed away at its deficit, closing to within three, 37-34, when senior Jake Kretzer hit a trey from the right arc at the 16.4 second mark only to see Lee hit a three from the right arc just before the buzzer sounded to give the visitors a 40-34 halftime lead.
McAdams hit on three consecutive triples as the second half opened. Two came from the left arc and one from straight away to give UA the lead 43-42 just 95 seconds into the period. He went on to score 17 over the second 20 minutes.
When asked about his senior’s performance Dambrot quipped, “He made all the hard ones (from beyond the arc) and missed all the easy ones. We have to keep getting him the ball, and he has to keep moving into position without the ball.”
One of the key moments in the game came at the 14:31 mark with the game tied at 49-49. EMU center James Thompson IV first was whistled for a personal foul -- his third of the game. He then incurred a technical foul for swearing. Since a technical also counts as a personal foul against the offender, Thompson headed to the bench with a four-foul burden. UA hit three of the four free throws as it opened a 59-52 lead at the 12:21 mark.
Coming into the game, Thompson was averaging 15.5 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. He finished Tuesday with nine points, seven rebounds and two steals.
Again, EMU bounced back and closed to three, 65-62, when Lee scored five straight points, the final two on an emphatic slam dunk at 8:43.
With the Zips holding a 70-63 advantage after a conventional three-point play by Forsythe, the Eagles went on an 8-0 spurt to take their final lead of the game 71-70 on a jumper from the left wing by Mangum IV who scored 14 points in the second stanza.
The Zips regained the lead for good on a three from the top of the key from sophomore Antino Jackson, which triggered a 9-0 run that opened up a 79-71 lead at the 2:30 mark.
UA hit five of six free throws down the stretch to hand EMU its seventh defeat in the last eight meetings.
During his tenure at UA, Dambrot teams have played low-scoring and hard-defense games. Tuesday was cut from a different cloth. UA scored its second most points so far this season. surpassed only by its 100 point-performance in the opener against Division III Hiram.
When asked about his team’s play during the final moments, Murphy said “We didn’t get the necessary stops we needed, and they protected their home floor with the win.”
-- UA shot 61.5% from the field in the second half going 8-of-14 from beyond the arc and went 18-of-22 from the charity stripe.
-- There were only 19 total turnovers in the contest.
-- UA narrowly won the rebound battle, 31-29.
-- Both teams got tremendous production from their benches (thanks to Mangum IV and Johnson), with EMU winning that battle 42-35.
Both teams return to action on Saturday with the Zips hosting Miami while Eastern Michigan faces Ball State at the Convocation Center in Ypsilanti.