Playing very much like the 18th-ranked #1 seed we all expected to see, the Buffalo Bulls easily dispatched the Akron Zips in MAC Men’s quarterfinal action at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland on Friday afternoon, never trailing in a convincing 82-46 victory over the eight-seed Akron.
The Zips couldn’t buy a basket in the first half, shooting 16 percent from the field on 4-of-24 shooting in the opening stanza. It could have been much worse for Akron had the Bulls not shot a dismal 12 of 22 from the free throw line themselves. The Zips also committed 10 turnovers in the opening half, as the score stood at 38-21 Buffalo.
It was hard for may players from either side to get in a rhythm, as the referees called a total of 30 fouls in the opening half, with 17 of those called against Akron. Starting Zips Daniel Utomi (4), Deng Riak (3) and Loren Crist Jackson (3) all were in foul trouble early, greatly affecting their quality of play.
The second half was more of the same, as the Zips were no match for the Bulls’ talent and depth. Senior Jeremy Harris led the Bulls in scoring with 23 points, while Davonta Graves (13), Dontay Caruthers (12), Nick Perkins (11) and C.J. Massinburg (10) all also scored in double figures. Jackson led the Zips with 16 points and Utomi had 11.
The Bulls shot 44 percent from the field overall, while Akron managed only 23 percent on 14 of 59 shooting, including a paltry 4-of-23 from the three-point line.
The Bulls advance and will now play in the first semi-final game on Friday evening versus the winner of #4 Kent State and #5 Central Michigan, which tips off at approximately 2:30 EST.