The old adage is that great teams find ways to win when they play terribly. That was almost the case for the Akron Zips Tuesday night, where a road-weary team nearly picked up another road victory in Green Bay. It wasn't meant to be, however, and in one of the most unwatchable games in Akron history the Zips fell to Green Bay 66-63.
It was going to be interesting to see how Akron came out for this game. It was their third game of week-long road trip, spanning from Arkansas to Philadelphia and finally ending up in Green Bay. Tuesday night's contest was just two days after Akron's loss to #11 Villanova, and surely the players wanted to just get home for Thanksgiving.
The Zips did come out sluggish, picking up 4 fouls in the first 4 minutes of the contest along with 2 turnovers. Although some were barely touch fouls, they started to mount as Green Bay was in the bonus with 13 minutes to play in the first half.
The first half was a very ugly and sloppy one for both teams. As fouls were mounting on Akron they hit Green Bay too, as the Phoenix had 10 first half fouls. The teams combined for 16 turnovers (9 for Akron, 7 for Green Bay) and the game became tough to watch. Surprisingly Akron just got mauled on the boards with the Phoenix gaining a 27-17 advantage in that category. Green Bay grabbed 13 offensive rebounds to Akron's 2 in the first half, which is a rather telling stat about energy and the want to grab loose balls.
With Akron down 31-22 at the 4-minute mark of the first half, Jimond Ivey came in and provided a spark. He scored the next five points for the Zips and had a big block on the defensive end. That spark propelled Akron on a 9-2 run to close the half, leveling the score at 33 going into the locker room.
The fouls piled on in the second half as well, as the Zips and Phoenix combined for nine fouls during the first four minutes. That allowed Green Bay to extend their lead to eight at 45-37 and Akron looked tired as ever. However, the Phoenix couldn't put Akron away as the Zips went on a 6-0 run with 4 points from Pat Forsythe to bring Akron back into the game.
As quickly as Akron got back into the game they were on the verge of being out of it. The Phoenix went on an 8-3 run to push the lead back to seven. Akron again scraped back, this time taking the lead at 56-55 on a step-back Antino Jackson three ball. That was the last time that Akron had a lead as the Zips just could never get back over the hump.
Their last chance was with 17 seconds left, when, down 2, Kwan Cheatham took a very early contested three while the shot clock was off. It missed long, and Green Bay grabbed the rebound and made a free throw to close this one out.
The numbers from this game just show how ugly it was. The two teams combined for 46 fouls and 57 free throws. Akron shot 35 percent from the field and had 17 turnovers, while Green Bay shot 32 percent and had 9 turnovers. There were nearly 100 combined rebounds. And, through all that, Akron still had a chance to win.
Akron will look to regroup with a home contest against Charleston Southern (1-3) on Friday. The game will start at 7 and should be available on ESPN3.
|C. Cooper (14)
|Two tied (14)
|J. Fouse (16)
|I. Johnson (8)
|Two tied (2)
|An. Jackson (4)
|K. Lowe (4)
|Four tied (1)
|C. Love (4)
|Four tied (1)