Seth Dugan got the start over Drake LaMont, and early on the Broncos made an effort to get him the ball. Like the rest of the Broncos tonight, he did alright. Too bad for them, Akron went nuts.
Akron hit 5 of 7 shots from the floor going into the first break. Next thing you know, they rode Jimond Ivey to a 19-7 lead, and coach Steve Hawkins had to call a time out.
It didn’t work, before you knew it, Akron was up 25-8, hitting 5 of 8 from beyond the arc.
This hot shooting took some wind out of the sails of Western Michigan, though they continued to fight. At one point, Akron was 9-12 from three. Sure, some of that was defensive effort from WMU, but a lot of it was Akron just hitting their shots.
The one bright spot for WMU in the first half was that Drake LaMont looked more energetic when he was in the game, scoring 4 points in 6 minutes. Maybe coach Hawkins is onto something letting him come off the bench.
Akron held the lead at the half, led by Kwan Cheatham Jr. with 13 points and 9 boards. Akron was already good, but if this 6’10 athletic freak keeps playing like he has most of the MAC season, they take it up a notch or three.
In the end, WMU never gave up, and never surrendered, but Akron pulled out the win. The game wasn’t as close as the final score, but I was impressed with the amount of heart WMU showed.
Akron was just the better team, and they hit their shots. Heart can overcome a lot, just not that.
The final score was 90-80, Zips. Neither team turned the ball over, with a combined 14 turnovers. WMU held the rebounding edge, but the game was decided by shooting. Akron hit 55% of their shots, and 52% of their threes. That’s going to be game over with everyone in this league.
Cheatham led the Zips with 20 on 7-11 shooting and 11 rebounds.
For the Broncos, Wilder had 24 points, 5 rebounds and 4 assists. Seth Dugan grabbed 9 rebounds and was only 2 of 7 from the floor. Once this kid gets out of his own head he is going to be a player. Tonight it didn’t happen.