Zips Top App State in High-Scoring Affair to Earn Fifth Consecutive Home Victory

Akron Zips, 94 – Appalachian State Mountaineers, 89


No. 4 Malcolm Duvivier dodges App State defense in Akron’s win on Saturday. (Photo courtesy of Zips Men’s Basketball)

By A.J. Fagerlin, Sports Contributor

For the second game in a row, the Zips outlasted their opponent after falling behind early. Akron remains undefeated at James A. Rhodes Arena this season with the tightly-contested 94-89 win over Appalachian State.

With the winter storm that hit North Carolina over the weekend, the Mountaineers encountered some travel issues, pushing back the time of tip-off by five hours, from the originally scheduled 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. Appalachian State showed no signs of fatigue, however, racing out to an early 12-4 advantage over the Zips.

On a very young Akron team, some of the more experienced players for the Zips lead the team on their comeback efforts throughout the game. Graduate transfer Malcolm Duvivier lead the Zips with a career-high 24 points, 13 coming in the first half. Duvivier finished the game 6-for-9 from the three-point line.

Junior Jimond Ivey was looking to get his teammates involved, dishing out a career-best 10 assists on the night, with seven dimes coming in the first half. Ivey added 15 points to complete a double-double.

Also posting a double-double was sophomore Daniel Utomi, totaling 18 points and 10 rebounds for his second career double-double. Sophomore Emmanuel Olojakpoke followed up his career night by contributing 15 points of his own to an Akron squad whose 94 points bested their season-high set the game prior.

The Zips shot 18-of-30 from the field, including 8-of-12 on 3-pointers in the opening half, as good ball moment and a fast pace led to a 47-38 Zips lead at the break. As a team, Akron had 17 assists on their 18 first-half baskets.

Akron foul trouble helped allow the Mountaineers to get back in the game in the second half. Junior Ronshad Shabazz and senior Griffin Kinney each totaled 18 second-half points for Appalachian State as they grabbed a 79-76 lead late in the game. Shabazz and Kinney also evenly split the Mountaineers first 12 points of the game on their way to 26 and 28 points, respectively.

The Zips used a 12-3 scoring run to reclaim the lead and managed to hold off the Mountaineers despite losing two starters to fouls down the stretch. Akron shot 56.7 percent (34-of-60) from the field and an impressive 58.3 percent (14-of-24) from beyond the arc in their victory. Akron once again had a balanced offensive attack, with all five starters scoring eight-or-more points for the second game in a row.

The will host one more home game before heading to Honolulu for the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic. Mississippi Valley State will visit James A. Rhodes Arena on Saturday, Dec. 16, with the tip-off scheduled for 2 p.m. All students are admitted free to any Zips home basketball game with their Zip Card.