The #3 Akron Zips jumped on the back of 5’ 7” guard Loren Cristian Jackson and rode him past the #6 Bowling Green Falcons, 74-67, in Mid-American Conference Tournament action in Cleveland, Ohio, on Thursday night.
The first-team all-MAC performer finished with a game-high 31 points, after taking nearly half of the Zips field goal attempts in the game.
Akron took a 34-26 lead into halftime, and Bowling Green had to feel fortunate not to be down by a lot more. The Falcons shot just 10-of-32 in the first half, including just 2-of-11 from three-point range. The Zips were all about Cristian Jackson in the first half as he finished with 19 points, and took 14 of the team’s 21 first half field goal attempts. The Falcon’s first team all-MAC selection, Justin Turner, had just two points in the first half and looked to not be himself with reported nagging injuries.
Bowling Green picked up the offense a little bit to start the second half and got the Zip lead down to only three, at 38-35 with 16 to play, and again at 45-42 with 14 to play. But Cristian Jackson seemed to be able to get his shot any time he wanted it to keep the Zips in the lead.
BG tied the game at 57-57 with six minutes to play. They also actually took their first lead of the game at 59-57 with 5:30 to play, and again at 61-59 with 4:48 to play.
But even with the offensive flurry, the Falcons could do nothing to stop Cristian Jackson. Zips back-up bigman Jermaine Marshall even got in on the action late to really slam the door, hitting back-to-back three pointers to push the Zip lead out to 69-66 with 2:32 to play. The Falcons would not get any closer the rest of the way,
The only other scorer in double figures for Akron was Bryan Trimble Jr. with 12. Senior Daeqwon Plowden led the Falcons with 26 points. At one point of the second half, he scored 17 straight BG points to get the Falcons back into the game. Sophomore Chandler Turner had 12, while Justin Turner finished with just four points for the Falcons.
The Zips improve to 15-7 on the season and advance to face #2 seed Buffalo in the second MAC semi-final tomorrow night. Bowling Green finishes its season at 14-11.