The University of Akron men’s basketball team lost to Youngstown State on Saturday night, 90-82, at the Beeghly Center in Youngstown. It was the season opener for both teams, and it was part of the Coaches vs. Cancer doubleheader. Kent State defeated Cleveland State in the previous game, 79-74.
Center Isaiah Johnson led the Zips with 17 points, going 6-10 from the field. Johnson also led the team with five assists; and he pulled in seven rebounds, one steal, and one block. The big man played well in every area except from the foul line, where he made just five of his 11 attempts.
Meanwhile, Sophomore Jimond Ivey played his best game collegiately, scoring 14 points and grabbing a game-high nine rebounds. Ivey was very efficient, making five of his seven shots, including one 3-pointer, as well as all three of his free throws. He also added two assists and one steal.
Also for the Zips, senior Kwan Cheatham played a team-high 32 minutes and scored 13 points, including two 3-pointers. Tavian Dunn-Martin played his first ever collegiate game and scored 12 points in 20 minutes of play. Finally, guard Noah Robotham scored 10 points and recorded four rebounds and three assists.
The Penguins had nine players score, but three were especially good. First, guard Cameron Morse scored a game-high 27 points to go along with five steals and four assists. Forward Matt Donlan finished with 20 points, as he shot a fantastic 6-11 from deep. Finally, Francisco Santiago added 15 points with seven assists.
The Zips led by 11 points three different times in the first half, but could never finish Youngstown State. Akron led 41-36 going into halftime. A big 12-0 run at the start of the second half changed everything, as the Penguins made three 3-pointers during that stretch. Akron could never retake the lead, although they did manage to cut the lead to just one with 2:46 left after a Robotham 3-pointer.
Unfortunately, the Penguins scored the next six points and never looked back.
A major factor in this game was the 3-point shot. The Penguins made 11 of 27 (40.7 percent) compared to the Zips’ ten of 31 (32.3 percent). Following the loss of sharpshooting seniors Jake Kretzer and Reggie McAdams, the Zips will need to improve on the 3-point shooting if they hope to get back to the conference championship.
The Zips will get back the hardwood on Thursday night when they host American University at 7 p.m. at James A. Rhodes Arena in their home opener.