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Ohio vs. Akron: Bobcats Seal the Zips In The JAR

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The Ohio Bobcats put up a dominant effort in their 66-50 victory over an injury-plagued Akron team.

Ohio proves dominant in road route of Akron.
Ohio proves dominant in road route of Akron.
USA TODAY Sports

Say it ain't so! The Ohio Bobcats came up from Athens and defeated the Akron Zips in the James A. Rhodes Arena for their first victory against Akron in the Jim Christian era, 66-50.

Akron came into the game at a relative disadvantage without three starters, but has consistently been a solid team at home. Jake Kretzer, Nick Harney, and Reggie McAdams all missed Saturday evening's game. Ohio donned black uniforms with green numbers, so of course they had that advantage going for them as well.

The Zips scored the game's first bucket and then, what exactly happened? Travis Wilkins, Nick Kellogg and Jon Smith brought their A-game for the first twenty minutes of MAC hoops in the James A. Rhodes Arena. Ohio scored the game's next 14 points en route to a 14-2 lead 6:52 into the game. The Bobcats and Zips began taking their shots at one another, with Akron pulling within two points after a Deji Ibitayo 3-pointer for an 18-16 score.

Christian's bunch followed that run with an 18-4 stretch of their own, taking a 36-20 lead into the half on a Javarez "Bean" Willis layup right before the buzzer.

It was a listless performance from Akron in the first half, as the Zips shot 6 of 23 (26%  percent) and turned the ball over nine times.

Though the second half score might indicate otherwise, it was about as embarrassing for Coach Keith Dambrot's team in the second half. Akron shot only marginally better, and kept possessions alive with offensive boards, namely from Demetrius Treadwell, but were not efficient offensively.

It was a simple mistake that killed any chance of Akron picking momentum back up. Quincy Diggs scored a basket to cut Ohio's lead to 40-27, but after another Zips miss, Demetrius Treadwell picked up a technical at the 15:14 mark. Travis Wilkins hit one of two free throws, and Ohio retained possession.

Maurice Ndour followed by getting fouled and then making the front end and missing the second, and the ball was knocked out of bounds by Akron. The Bobcats' Treg Setty (who finished the game with a season-high seven points) put up a layup that gave Ohio a 44-27 advantage, and what virtually amounted to a four-point possession.

A Smith slam right after seemingly killed any hopes for the defending MAC champs. Smith played arguably his best game of the season, netting 16 points and pulling down 12 boards.

Kellogg picked up his third foul at the 18:03 mark, but the 'Cats did not miss him to a great extent. He missed about nine minutes of time and picked up where he left off with a long two about nine minutes later. The bucket gave Ohio a 55-35 lead.

Akron shot a paltry 26.8 percent from the floor. Treadwell shot a miserable 3 of 16. Ohio by comparison hit on 54.7 percent of its shots.

Smith followed a rub-your-face-in-it trey by Travis Wilkins with an emphatic dunk to give Ohio a 66-48 lead right before the merciful end.

With the possibility hovering that Stevie Taylor and T.J. Hall would miss much more time, Taylor played tentative minutes (he played five in total). Hall was able to contribute as a bigger body in 25 minutes of play, though he did not score on seven shots.

Ndour was surprisingly quiet for Ohio, posting only 9 points and one rebound. Wilkins netted 14 points against Akron for the second time on the season.

With the loss, Akron fell out of first the in the MAC East. As the East is now a potential free-for-all between the Zips, Ohio, and Buffalo.