The Akron Zips came out victorious as they hosted the American University Eagles at James A. Rhodes Arena Thursday night in their home opener. The Zips lost their season opener at Youngstown State, coming into this game at 0-1 while the Eagles came in win-less as well, at 0-2. Both teams battled it out trying to record their first win but the Zips were too much for the Eagles to handle.
Akron came out hot, going a perfect 4-4 from the three point line which contributed to their 14-2 run to begin the game. Exactly the start Akron needed coming off a loss. Play went back and forth with a lot of three pointers being put up and with 6:48 remaining in the half, Akron still held their lead 27-19. Both teams closed the half in similar fashions exchanging baskets back and forth and the Zips went into the locker room with a 33-25 lead. Not their best offensive half, but a solid showing defensively for the Zips.
The first half was all about the three point shot for Akron. The Zips went 5-12 from behind the line producing 15 of their 33 points. Cheatham led the way for Akron with 10 points while Williams added 8, they both had a pair of three pointers. For the Eagles, they struggled offensively but Jones led the half with 7 points while Washington added 6.
Akron came out struggling defensively in the second half, committing 3 fouls within the first two minutes. This did not stop them offensively, as they kept a steady, solid lead. At the first timeout break in the half, Akron still lead 38-30. As the half went on Akron's offense started to slow down and this allowed American to make a push to try and get back into the game. With 12 minutes left, the Eagles brought it to within 3 at 40-37, this is the closest they wold get. Akron gained back its lead with a solid offense and defense combo in the later stretch in the second half. At a timeout break with 3:59 to go, Zips lead 55-45. From there on, Akron coasted to a 72-62 win for their first win of the season.
The Zips were lead by 4 players in double digits in Cheatham (16 pts), Robotham (16 pts), Johnson (14 pts) and Ivey (12 points). 3 other Zips contributed in the scoring column. Akron made 5 three pointers in the first half and 0 in the second half. They only shot 36.4% on field goals and 23.8% on three point field goals (0-9 in second half). To come out with the win shooting these percentages is not something they’ll get used to.
As for the Eagles, they were lead by Jones (18 pts) and Washington (18 pts) as well as five other guys who contributed to the scoring column. American shot 41.8% from the field and 35% from the three point line. The Eagles didn’t have the contributions they needed to get it done tonight, and fall to 0-3 on the season.
The Zips are now 1-1 on the season and will return play on Sunday, November 27 at 7:00 pm against Radford at James A. Rhodes Arena.