If I told you this game was 42-41 in favor of Iowa State at one point in the second half, you likely wouldn't believe me. But, that's what it was with seventeen minutes left in the second half of the first semifinal in the Diamond Head Classic.
Then the run happened.
The Cyclones went on a 28-9 run over the next eight minutes with a display of great rebounding, crisp passing and spot on shooting to put the game away. Akron tried to make a comeback but it wasn't going to happen. The Zips were gassed playing Iowa State's style of play, and it was made worse by the fact that they only had one timeout left with ten minutes left to play.
Iowa State isn't ranked fourteen for no reason. They shot the lights out from everywhere, hitting 54% from the field, 47% from deep and 88% from the free throw line. Bench points were skewed way towards the Zips 25-4, but that didn't factor in because four starters put up 76 of the Cyclones' 83 points. Melvin Ejim and Georges Niang had 43 points between them and only missed six total shots. Akron only got to the line six times (making just one), which shows how good the Cyclone defense was.
Akron's main problem during that big run was the inability to get the ball inside. They settled for threes and couldn't hit any of them. The Zips missed six three pointers during the run, and four times Iowa State scored on the next possession. That happens because missed threes produce long rebounds, which the Cyclones got and turned them into fast break points. If the Zips tried to work the ball inside more to Treadwell, that run may not have happened.
The game was ugly, but there were some positives to take away for Akron. The Zips played a really good first half all things considered. They held a 23-15 lead over the fourteenth ranked team in the nation, which is something to be a little proud of. Demetrius Treadwell is the heart and soul of this team and will need to be that for the rest of the year. Tree put in just ten and seven tonight, but when he got the ball he was mostly in control and was able to score against Niang, Iowa State's best player. Reggie McAdams had a solid game and was really the only one who was feeling it from beyond the arc. It's hard to beat anyone when they are shooting the ball lights out, and the Zips just couldn't keep up with the more athletic team.
Akron will play the loser of tonight's other semifinal between South Carolina and Boise State. If it's South Carolina, the two teams will play on Christmas Day at 6:30 on ESPN2 and then again on Saturday in Columbia at 4:00 on ESPNU.