The University of Akron men’s basketball team used a good first half to establish a big lead, then held on to defeat the Cleveland State Vikings 65-53 in the late game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Doubleheader at Kent State’s M.A.C. Center Saturday evening.
Antino Jackson led the Zips with 12 points, Reggie McAdams added 10 points and five rebounds, Isaiah Johnson chipped in nine points and grabbed six rebounds, and Pat Forsythe also contributed nine points and five boards. Jake Kretzer corralled a team-high eight rebounds to go with his five points.
The Zips (1-0) sprinted to a 31-10 lead in the first half on the strength of team play as nine players hit the scorebook. A steal by Kretzer led to a dunk by Jimond Ivey highlighted a 16-0 run after the Vikings (0-1) took a 6-4 lead early in the contest.
Kwan Cheatham, Jr. added a dunk and a pair of free throws in the run to help fuel Akron to the 21-point lead with 4:04 left in the first half.
“It was a typical Akron early season game,” Dambrot said. “We played well in short stretches, but we didn’t finish in the second half. Cleveland State plays very hard, and it showed us we need to be consistent for 40 minutes.”
The Zips led at the break, 44-20, as the Zips’ defense held the Vikings to 7 of 26 shooting for 26.9 percent.
Cleveland State was able to cut the lead to 49-38 with 10:27 to play in the game, but Akron responded with a 7-0 run capped by a Jackson old-fashion three-point play to extend the lead back to 18 with 7:15 remaining.
For the game, Akron shot 45.3 percent from the floor, including a 36.8 percent performance from long distance. One area that will need improvement is from the charity stripe where the Zips were 52.6 percent (10-of-19).
Akron out-rebounded the Vikings 41-38, but lost the turnover battle 15-13.
Akron’s 2015 home opener at the James A. Rhodes Arena is on Monday, Nov. 16, against Hiram College. Akron is 93-21 (.816) overall and has won of 12 of the last 14 home openers at Rhodes Arena.