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Akron Zips vs. UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos men's basketball recap: Robotham leads Akron to 84-70 victory

Noah Robotham felt right at home in Akron's victory.

Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The game between the Akron Zips and UC Santa Barbara Gauchos was scheduled to be a homecoming for Akron point guard Noah Robotham. The Sophomore from Las Vegas didn't disappoint, raining threes and showing his true arsenal of skills in the Zips' 84-70 win over the Gauchos.

Robotham was one of six Zips in double figures, pouring in 15 points (12 from beyond the arc), dishing out 4 assists and grabbing 5 rebounds. He was the catalyst for Akron today and showed that with him on the court, the Zips are awfully tough to beat. It was a game where the final outcome wasn't always a certainty late in the game, but, as great teams are wont to do, they found a way to get stops and close out the game at the free throw line.

Once again it was the three-ball that propelled Akron in the first half. Back-to-back threes from Robotham and Josh Williams pushed the Akron lead to 18-6. Another Robotham three ended a 12-0 Gaucho run that got UCSB back into the game. The Zips and Gauchos were trading threes in the mid-first half, each answering the other. Akron got a little bit of wiggle room when Jake Kretzer hit a corner three to put the Zips up 37-32, and after a Gaucho layup Kwan Cheatham finished the half off with yet another deep one, pushing the lead to 40-35.

The Zips finished 10-19 (52 percent) from beyond the arc and 5-10 inside the three-point line. UCSB also shot well, matching Akron at 52 percent from the field. Williams and Robotham led the Zips in scoring at halftime with 9 points each.

The script flipped in the second half. UCSB stayed in their 2-3 zone which Akron obliterated in the first half, but Akron's gameplan changed. They made a concerted effort to get the ball inside to both Pat Forsythe and Isaiah Johnson, and the twin towers did not disappoint.

Forsythe had just two points in the first half and Johnson had six at halftime. In the latter half, though, the big men exploded for 17 points combined. Akron didn't shoot any free throws in the first half but ended up shooting 15-21 in the second, and a good portion of that was from Forsythe and Johnson.

The Zips ended up shooting 15-32 from beyond the arc (47 percent) thanks to their hot first half start. Kretzer had four threes en route to his 14 points effort, and Antino Jackson was 3-5 from deep as he also notched 14 points. Williams wasn't as effective percentage-wise (3-8), but still ended up with 11 points.

Defensively the Zips played well, although they did get outrebounded 36-27. Akron forced 19 UCSB turnovers, including seven from the Gauchos standout guard Michael Bryson. Bryson finished with 13, well below his average of 19 points per game.

Akron (8-2) takes on Iona on Wednesday in the last game of the round-robin tournament. The Gauchos (2-7) will face the same Iona team tomorrow.

Game Leaders

Player UCSB Akron
Points G. Vincent (16) N. Robotham (15)
Rebounds A. Hart (7) I. Johnson (6)
Assists Two tied (4) Two tied (4)
Blocks A. Hart (2) K. Cheatham (1)
Steals E. Childress (3) N. Robotham (2)