In the absence of Demetrius Treadwell, who would have thought that Pat Forsythe would be the big man to step up for the Zips?
The momentum began to swing Akron's way just over two minutes into the game when Kwan Cheatham hit a 3-pointer to cap an 8-0 run to give the Zips an 8-2 lead. The Akron Zips held the lead for the rest of the game. Freshman guard Noah Robotham led the Zips in scoring in the first half with 11 points and his layup with 13 seconds to go gave the Zips a 36-22 lead that was trimmed to 36-24 on a USC dunk by Darion Clark.
The second half was pretty much all Akron besides a stretch where the Trojans trimmed the Akron lead to 47-40 until freshman guard Antino Jackson lit fire. Jackson made two 3-pointers in a row and then a layup to cap off his own 8-0 run that gave the Zips a dominating 55-40 lead going into the under-8 media timeout. The run by Jackson allowed the Zips to cruise through the final 9 minutes. In that stretch, the Zips outscored the Trojans 19-6. Pat Forsythe had the best game of his career against USC. Forsythe finished the day tied for the game-high in scoring with Kwan Cheatham. They each put up 15 points. Forsythe also grabbed 9 rebounds, dished an assist, and blocked two shots. Senior guard Nyles Evans also came up big despite just 2 points. Evans grabbed 5 rebounds while racking up 4 assists and 3 steals with just 2 turnovers.
As a team, USC shot 15-53 from the field for 28.3% and a dismal 2-12 from three for 16.7%. Once Akron built up a big lead, the Trojans began to fire at will and they couldn't hit the ocean. The Zips were only able to make 24 of 60 shots and 8 of 27 from the three point line. The most impressing thing that Akron was able to do against the Trojans was make free throws. They didn't draw a ton of fouls, but they made the most of them by shooting 10 of 13 from the free-throw line.
The Akron Zips will face the winner of the match up between the Drexel Dragons and the Miami Hurricanes at either noon or 2:30PM.