Akron Hangs On to Beat Marshall

Isaiah "Big Dog" Johnson had an impressive performance against Marshall. - Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

It was an ugly game, but the Zips pulled it out in the end.

They had vomit all down the front of them after the game, but the Zips put another one in the win column.

Akron had built a pretty comfortable eleven point lead at 45-34 with twelve minutes left in the second half and it looked like it was going to be an easy win. That was not the case, as Marshall went on an 11-2 run over the next five minutes to cut the lead to two. The Zips quickly build the lead back up to seven with two and a half minutes to go after a Quincy Diggs three, but just could not close it out.

There were turnovers, ill-advised shots, and numerous other mistakes that almost cost the Zips the game. Diggs had the chance to pretty much ice the game with two seconds left, but missed both free throws. Marshall's desperation half-court heave glanced off the rim, and the Zips walked away with the victory.

This was one of those "burn the game tape" kind of games. Nothing good came out of this game really for either team, except maybe for the play of Isaiah Johnson. "Big Dog" led the way for the Zips with twelve points on 6-10 shooting. He really exposed the Marshall interior defense and held his own in the paint. No other Zip made double digits, but Pat Forsythe had nine. It's no surprise that Akrons' bigs dominated; Marshall doesn't have anyone in their regular lineup over 6'7." The Zips went away from the low post game in the end, which is probably why Marshall got back into it.

It was another horrible shooting day from the free throw line as Akron hit just 54% (14-26). For the Zips to contend in conference play this has got to be fixed, and at least improved to 65% or so. One game it's surely going to bite Akron, and it may just cost them an important victory down the road.

Akron got lucky with turnovers, as Marshall was just as bad with them as the Zips were. They committed 16 turnovers to Marshall's 18, and it felt like a quarter of them came within the last couple of minutes. Three-point shots were also a cause for concern, as Akron shot just 23% (3-13). When the Zips aren't hitting from deep it's going to be a struggle, and that's what happened tonight.

A trip to Ball State is next for Akron, as the Zips get a bit of a gift opening conference play at one of the worst teams in the league.

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