The University of Akron men’s basketball team lost to the undefeated Creighton Blue Jays on Saturday night, 82-70. Creighton came in as the 10th-ranked team in the nation, as it improved its record to 8-0 on the season. The loss snapped the Zips’ six-game winning streak as they fall to 6-2 on the season.
Senior forward Kwan Cheatham led the Zips with 17 points and seven rebounds while playing 37 minutes. Cheatham played more than he has played this season, and it paid off as he made five 3-pointers on nine shots from deep. Cheatham also dished out two assists and blocked one shot.
Big man Isaiah Johnson played well again for the Zips by scoring 13 points on 5-7 shooting from the field. Johnson also made three of five free throws and had five rebounds, three assists, and one block. Guard Antino Jackson struggled despite scoring 12 points, as he made just five of 16 shots overall from the field and two of seven from beyond the arc.
Additionally, Tavian Dunn-Martin and Jimond Ivey each scored seven points with one 3-pointer. Ivey started in place of the injured Noah Robotham and played 38 minutes, the most of any Zip this season. Josh Williams contributed two 3-pointers for six points while Aaron Jackson and Emmanuel Olajapoke finished with four points.
The Zips had a lot of trouble stopping Creighton guard Marcus Foster. Foster went 11-19 from the field for a game-high 27 points, while also recording four rebounds and three assists. Also, Cole Huff scored 16 points with five rebounds and four 3-pointers, Maurice Watson had a double-double with 14 points and 13 assists, and center Justin Patton finished with 11 points and a team-high seven rebounds.
The Blue Jays got out to an early lead, outscoring Akron 12-3 in the first five minutes, highlighted by 11 points from Foster. However, the 3-point shot kept the Zips in the game, as an Aaron Jackson trey made the score 21-17 halfway through the first half. Akron wouldn’t get closer in the first half, and a Dunn-Martin jumper with three seconds left made the score 37-30 going into halftime.
A Jimond Ivey 3-pointer cut the lead to four at the 3-minute mark, and a minute later Josh Williams’ trey made it 41-38. However, the Blue Jays went on a 19-3 run to extend their lead to 19. Akron would fight back, getting back to within eight points with a Dunn-Martin triple with one minute and fifty-two seconds left in regulation. Creighton would close out the Zips, winning 82-70.
Despite the team’s loss, this may be one of the better performances from the Zips this season, as they played a very close game against a top-ranked team. The Zips shot an impressive 47.4 percent from the field, and 38.7 percent (12-31) from deep. The Zips also outrebounded Creighton 33-32 and their bench outscored the Blue Jays bench 15-5.
There were some things that the Zips did very poorly, however. Turnovers were a killer for the Zips, as they committed 17 compared to just 11 for Creighton. Also, the Zips shot eight free throws, making only four. The defense took a beating as well, allowing the Blue Jays to shoot 55.2 percent from the field.
The Zips will get back to their home court on Wednesday when they host Coppin State. The Eagles are off to a horrendous 0-10 start to their season, so the Zips should be able to improve to 7-2 on the season. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. at James A. Rhodes Arena in Akron.