The Akon Zips traveled to the Beeghly Center to open up their season against Youngstown State in a Northeast Ohio Coaches vs. Cancer doubleheader, falling to the Penguins by a final score of 90-82.
Both teams came out firing from the three point line as the first five baskets were three pointers aside from one Akron free throw. At the first timeout break the Zips lead the Penguins 14-11. Scoring slowed down from there until the 12:00 minute mark when Akron went on a 9-0 run. Akron held a comfortable lead for the majority of the half until Youngstown State went on a little run to close the lead before the break. The Zips went into halftime with a 41-36 lead.
Kwan Cheatham lead the charge for the Zips with 13 points in the half while Cameron Morse lead the way for the Penguins with 10. YSU did a good job of holding Akron’s Isaiah Johnson to 9 points in the half, which was a key focus for them.
Youngstown State came out strong to start the second half as they went on a 14-4 run to take a 50-45 lead. At the 10:11 mark YSU took their biggest lead of the game at 65-55. Akron continued to battle and cut their deficit to 1 point with 2:46 remaining in the game. That’s as close as Akron would get as they never did regain the lead. Youngstown State held on to win the game 90-82.
As expected, leading the way for the Penguins was the three returning starters in Morse (27 points), Matt Donlan (20 points), and Francisco Santiago (15 points). Youngstown State had a total of 9 players contribute in the scoring column.
As for the Zips, they were lead by starters Johnson (17 points), Cheatham (13 points), and Noah Robotham (10 points). The bench also contributed some scoring help, as Jimond Ivey (14 points) and Tavian Dunn-Martin (12 points). Struggles for the Zips included Antino Jackson fighting foul trouble all night and the team shooting only 14-22 (63.6%) from the free throw line.
The Zips will look to regroup and learn what they can from this loss before their first home game at James A. Rhodes Arena on Thursday, November 17th at 7:00pm vs. American University.