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MAC Men’s Basketball Recap: Akron Zips at Northern Illinois Huskies

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Akron sleep walks early and wins a close one.

NCAA Basketball: Northern Illinois at Ohio State Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

At some point, Akron would have to let the world know they are human. The Huskies led 47-33 at the half.

The scary part if you are an Akron fan, the Huskies hit 44% of their shots, and 50% of their 3 pointers, and only had 5 turnovers, at the half.. That doesn’t seem likely that the Zips will pull out the win.

The Huskies were killing the Zips on the boards, too, holding a 19-10 edge. Couple that with great shooting and fantastic bench play, and that’s how the Zips were down at the half.

At the start the second half, Akron got a bunch of good looks, and missed them all. Was that going to be telling of the game?

By the 16 minute mark, the Zips had closed the gap to 7, 52-4.

Armstead could not miss. He hit a jumper to put NIU up, 57-47. He was 5-6 at that point. Could the Zips answer?

The Zips went to their big man, Isaiah Johnson. He looked like he needed a left hand as much as Drake LaMont needs a right.

It’s not that Johnson played bad, it’s just that his left was a little weak.

At the 10:42 break, the lead was still 10 for NIU. This is when I noticed a change. At this point, it looked like that even though Akron wasn’t playing their best, the Huskies were starting to lose steam.

By the 9 minute mark, the Zips had it down to 6.

By the 5 minute mark, it was NIU 63, Akron 62.

By the 3:50 mark, Akron pulled ahead by one.

At the 2:30 mark, Akron was up by 5.

Shortly thereafter, Cheatham got his 10th rebound, to pretty much seal the game. He is a high energy guy, like Noah or Rodman, but with a much better skill set. I really hope an NBA team gives this guy a shot.

The Huskies did not give up.

At the one minute mark, Maric had chance to make it a one point game at the line. He hit one of two.

On the Akron possession, Maric rebounded the miss, and then threw it away. The Zips put the lead at 4. Northern Illinois drove and closed the gap to 2. Sadly, they missed the free-throw to make it a one point game, and that was that.

The Zips won 76-73.

Antino Jackson led the Zips with 22, while Johnson added 21 and 7 rebounds. Cheatham struggled to score with only 9, but added 11 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and a steal.

Maric had a great game, scoring 23 and grabbing 10 boards for the Huskies.