It's tough when you play one opponent, but when the officials become a thorn in the side it's hard to pull out a victory. Not to put it all on the officials but when there was once a differential of twenty free throw attempts, something isn't right.
Akron eventually closed that large gap to just ten in the end after Ball State kept fouling to get the ball back. Free throws, traditionally one of the Zips' major bugaboos, actually went well for them tonight as they hit 71% (17-24). The Cardinals got 38% of their points from the free throw line, which is a really large number.
Quincy Diggs was the star of the show, putting up twenty-one hard-fought points on seventeen shots. More importantly Diggs had just one turnover, which had been a problem for him coming into the game. Demetrius Treadwell looked a little more like himself posting twelve points and seven rebounds. Nick Harney and Jake Kretzer rounded out the well balanced scoring effort for the Zips, scoring nine apiece.
Once again Akron just cannot find their stroke on three point field goals. They were just 3-23 tonight, good for 13%. Kretzer and Diggs were the main culprits, going 1-11 between the two of them. Throw in Reggie McAdams' 0-4 and it's just plain ugly. The Zips are shooting 29% from deep in their last six games going 38-133. Until they find their stroke, Akron is going to have win ugly games like this.
From the Ball State side of things, they had to be pretty happy with the outcome. Losing at home isn't ideal, but to do so by just four points to the reigning MAC Champions isn't something to be ashamed of. Chris Bond had a nice game, finishing with eighteen points and seven boards. Majok Majok did it again, posting sixteen points and thirteen rebounds. Jesse Berry also played well off of the bench scoring twelve.
All in all, for Akron it's a conference road win which are hard to come by. Even if it's just Ball State, it still counts as much as a road win over Toledo or Ohio. The Zips head down to Athens on Sunday in a big game for both squads. Ohio picked up a nice road win over Kent State and will be hungry for revenge after losing three straight games to Akron last year. That's going to be a fun one on Sunday night.
The Cardinals head to Kent State on Saturday, where both teams will be looking for their first victory. Wins will be tough to get for Ball State this season, so if they can pull this one out it would be a major coup.