When Central Michigan and Akron meet on the same floor, you can be guaranteed of one thing: boatloads of 3-pointers. To no one's surprise, that was again the case on Friday night in Akron in front of a nationally televised audience.
Akron (19-4, 8-2) shot 32 three-point attempts, making 16 (50 percent) to lead them to a huge home victory over the Chippewas (13-10, 6-4). The Zips' home winning streak was extended to 13 games, and Friday night's victory also gave them a six-game winning streak in conference play.
It wasn't pretty early, though, as Central Michigan was the team to come out firing. The Chips couldn't miss and had built a 10-2 lead in just three minutes of play. Part of that quick start was a record-breaking 3-pointer from John Simons, who passed Robbie Harman on the school's all-time three-point baskets made list.
The Zips wouldn't lay down early though, and scrapped back with two straight deep balls from Josh Williams and Noah Robotham. A minute later two straight Kwan Cheatham threes brought the Zips all the way back to being down just one at 17-16.
A Braylon Rayson three stopped the bleeding, but then it was Antino Jackson's time to shine. Jackson scored eleven straight for the Zips which included three straight 3-pointers. A Jake Kretzer layup broke that streak, but Jackson showed that he just couldn't miss, hitting another trey to bring the Akron lead to 34-24.
The Zips went into halftime up 47-35, mainly from shooting the deep ball so well. Part of Akron's fantastic shooting percentage was that the Zips were passing and moving the ball so effectively. There were multiple times where, by making the extra pass, a shooter had a wide open three which they usually nailed.
Central Michigan came out and started the second half on fire. A 12-0 run gave the Chips the lead at 53-52, with the last three points coming after Cheatham fouled Simons on a 3-point attempt.
The next six minutes would determine the final outcome of the game. During those six minutes Akron went on an incredible 22-1 run to give the Zips a 20-point lead at 74-54. Fifteen of those points came from beyond the arc, with Williams hitting three and McAdams and Robotham netting the other two.
The game was seemingly over, but Central Michigan wouldn't go away. A quick 9-0 run brought the lead back down to eleven with just over five minutes left. The Zips started to pull away a little more, but CMU gave them a scare with 30 seconds remaining. Back-to-back threes brought the Akron lead down to just four, and Akron was forced to make free throws to close the game out.
With tonight's win, Akron has won 19+ games in 11 straight seasons. One of only 11 teams in the nation. #ZipsUnite #GoZips— Akron Zips MBB (@ZipsMBB) February 6, 2016
The ESPN gamecast shows you how streaky this game was. pic.twitter.com/cS2LUOWpR0— Taylor DesOrmeau (@TDesOrmeau) February 6, 2016
The Zips had five in double figures, including Williams (22), Jackson (19), McAdams (14), Robotham (13) and Johnson (12). Central Michigan had six, with Rayson and Luke Meyer scoring 15 each and Chris Fowler and Rayshawn Simmons hitting the 14-point mark. Simons ended up with a double-double scoring 13 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, while Josh Kozinski scored 12 points off of the bench.
Both teams head on the road next Tuesday, with Akron heading to Bowling Green and Central Michigan traveling to Eastern Michigan.
|Points||J. Williams (22)||Two tied (15)|
|Rebounds||Two tied (6)||J. Simons (10)|
|Assists||N. Robotham (8)||C. Fowler (8)|
|Blocks||K. Cheatham (2)||No blocks|
|Steals||A. Jackson (2)||Two tied (1)|