The Akron Zips just keep on rolling as they downed the Eastern Michigan Eagles 70-63 Saturday night as the Zips (16-3, 6-0 MAC) earned their 27th consecutive home win, which is a new school record. Isaiah Johnson had a big night for Akron with 21 points off of 7-11 from the field and eight rebounds, while Jimond Ivey and Antino Jackson added 11 points each with Jackson notching a team-high six assists as well.
Meanwhile, the Eagles (12-7, 4-2 MAC) has a strong performance from Ty Toney with 17 points and five boards while Baylee Steele had a near double-double with 10 points off of 5-6 shooting and eight rebounds. Willie Magnum IV had a pretty good showing off the bench as well with 13 points despite going 4-15 from the floor and 2-10 from downtown.
The Zips got off to a great start in the first half as they opened the game on a 11-2 run, as Jackson made his presence felt during the stretch with five points and two assists. EMU was unable to get the stops that the team needed as Akron took a 38-28 lead into the locker room, and the Eagles never really got close to UA until the later stages of the game. A 6-0 run from Eastern Michigan cut the deficit to 65-61 with 1:39 remaining in regulation, but three Jackson free throws put EMU in a bind and the team was unable to convert its offensive opportunities.
Akron was able to gut out the win despite some horrific shooting from the free throw line as the team went 17-38 from the charity stripe, this coming from a team that hasn’t shot well from the free throw line all season long. However, the Zips were efficient on the offensive end as they went 42.6% from the field and got it done on defense with seven steals and a pair of blocks.
On the flip side, the Eagles was able to have some success on the glass as they had the edge in rebounding 40-36, but were unable to get out of their own way with 26 personal fouls and 11 turnovers. EMU had difficulty in creating offense on Friday night as it only managed 12 assists on 24 made shots.
Going forward, it’s hard to see Akron continue to win with their total inability to convert on free throws and it is going to cost them some games, either in the regular season or the MAC Tournament. On the other hand, Eastern Michigan has to pick up their efficiency on the offensive end as it had its chances to pull off the upset if only it had converted on some of its scoring opportunities.
The Zips will have to leave the friendly confines as they hit the road to take on Western Michigan at 7 p.m. Tuesday night while the Eagles have a late MAC West tilt as they host Ball State at 9 p.m.