Sports Preview 11-16-2017

By Jake Allen, Sports Editor

Men’s Basketball: The University of Akron men’s basketball team will have its home opener on Thursday night at 7:30 p.m., as it hosts American University at James A. Rhodes Arena in Akron.

The Zips enter the game with a 0-1 record after losing to Youngstown State on Saturday, 90-82. The Eagles of the Patriot Conference are 0-2 after losses to major programs Maryland (Big Ten Conference) and Texas A&M (Big 12 Conference).

Akron didn’t have a problem scoring on Saturday night versus the Penguins, as five players scored at least 10 points. Isaiah Johnson led the way with 17 points, and he also had seven rebounds and five assists. Jimond Ivey came off the bench to score 14 points and grab a game-high nine rebounds.

Tavian Dunn-Martin has the Zips’ faithful excited after he scored 12 points in his first career game. The freshman made two of six shots from beyond the 3-point line. Also, senior Kwan Cheatham scored 13 points and Noah Robotham added 10 points.

American, conversely, has scored just 54.5 points per game so far, as they have shot just 38.4 percent from the field. Sophomore guard Delante Jones has averaged 14 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, while freshmen Sa’eed Nelson and Mark Gasperini have averaged 12 and 10 points per contest.

The Eagles are 49-50 in four seasons under current head coach Mike Brennan, and they have regressed each season. In his first season (2014), the team went 20-13 as it reached the NCAA Tournament.

The Zips will also host Radford University on Sunday at 7 p.m. The Highlanders hail from Radford, Virginia. Radford has an 0-1 record after losing to Wake Forest last Friday. Sophomore Ed Polite led the team with 11 points and eight rebounds in the loss.

Women’s Basketball: The University’s women’s basketball team will continue its travels this weekend when it travels to Buffalo to play Canisius College on Sunday at 2 p.m.

The Zips are 1-0 this season after beating Malone University on Saturday, and then played Penn State on Wednesday night. The Griffins are 0-1 after an 83-59 loss to Northeastern on Sunday, and then played St. Bonaventure on Wednesday night.

The Zips can expect another strong performance from senior Hannah Plybon after she scored 20 points on Saturday. Plybon made all 11 free throws while grabbing three rebounds and adding two assists, two steals, and one block.

Alli Ball leads a group of players that could add secondary scoring for the Zips. Ball scored 15 points against the Pioneers to go along with eight rebounds. Fellow starter Shaunay Edmonds scored 10 points while playing lockdown defense. Edmonds had three steals and two blocks, and she hopes that play can continue. Alex Ricketts, Greta Burry, and Megan Sefcik are others that will play heavy minutes versus Canisius.

The Griffins are led by a pair of guards. First, junior guard Margret Halfdanardottir (Hafnarfjordur, Iceland) scored 14 points on 5-9 shooting in their opener. Also, Maria Welch scored 14 points on 5-9 shooting with two 3-pointers. Sophomore Sara Hinriksdottir (Keflavik, Iceland) added seven points and eight rebounds.

Akron will have to wait until Nov. 30 to return to its home court when it hosts Bucknell. The team will focus its efforts on the Griffins of Canisius on Sunday at 2 p.m.