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Western Illinois Leathernecks vs. Akron Zips Final: Zips blow out Leathernecks at home

This got ugly real quick.

Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

This one was over before it even started.

Western Illinois came into Akron at 2-3 on the season but hadn't picked up a road win yet. They didn't get one tonight either, as Akron started off on 10-0 run and never looked back from there. The Zips were playing their third game in five days and had to be glad to see that Western Illinois got off to such a rough start.

Akron just couldn't miss in the first half, hitting over half of their shots from the field (14-26) and 50% from beyond the arc (8-16). The Zips held a 36-10 lead before Western Illinois went on an 8-0 run. The Leathernecks had gone over twelve minutes without a made field goal before finally making one with three minutes left in the half. Akron more than doubled up WIU at the half, leading 39-18.

The halftime stats showed how bad of a first half the Leathernecks had. WIU shot 5-21 from the field (24%) and ended up having more turnovers (7) than field goals. The only thing saving them from complete embarrassment was that they were able to get to the free throw line. Eight of their total eighteen points came from the free throw line. The only good that came out of the first half for WIU was that Akron's three big men - Isaiah Johnson, Pat Forsythe and Kwan Cheatham - each picked up two fouls.

The second half was much of the same. Two 3-pointers from Cheatham and one from Jake Kretzer extended Akron's lead to 50-21 in the first five minutes of the first half, squashing any chance of a Leatherneck comeback.

The final score was 73-49 , and it wasn't even that close. Cheatham led the way with fifteen points, all coming from three-pointers. Forsythe had fourteen points and four blocks, while Kretzer and Deji Ibitayo also made it into double figures with thirteen and eleven points, respectively.

Garret Covington paced the Leathernecks with twelve points on 5-11 shooting. Remy Roberts-Burnett put in ten points off of the bench.

Akron gets nine days off for exams before hosting Middle Tennessee on December 13th. The Zips and Blue Raiders have had a nice little rivalry for the last few seasons with Middle Tennessee holding a 2-1 series lead. Each team has held serve at home during the series so the trend should produce a Zips win. MTSU is 3-4 so far this year, but have losses to Cincinnati, Creighton and Belmont. That game certainly won't be as easy as tonight's was.