Akron cruises past John Carroll 97-53

Akron cruises past John Carroll 97-53
Akron cruises past John Carroll 97-53

Brian Walsh led five Zips in double figures with a game-high 18 points as the Akron men's basketball team defeated John Carroll 97-53 in its home opener on Monday night at James A. Rhodes Arena.

Walsh shot 8-of-11 from the floor and also added six rebounds. Deji Ibitayo followed with 16 points, on the strength of 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc, while Alex Abreu and Jake Kretzer each had 12 and Chauncey Gilliam chipped in with 10.

Zeke Marshall had eight points, seven rebounds and six blocks, while Pat Forsythe grabbed a game-high eight boards.

As a team, UA shot 38-of-66 (57.6 percent) from the floor and held the Blue Streaks to 20-of-64 (31.3 percent) shooting on the night. The Zips also shot 44.8 percent (13-of-29) from beyond the arc. Akron held a 43-30 rebounding advantage and scored 25 points off 14 JCU turnovers.

Kenny Janz was John Carroll's only double figure scorer with 12 points.

The Zips opened up a 14-5 lead in the first five minutes as five points from Abreu and a 3-pointer from the top of the key by Marshall highlighted the run.

A 3-point play by Reggie McAdams, followed by two quick buckets from Walsh forced a Blue Streak timeout at the 12:12 mark with the Zips leading, 23-7. Then, back-to-back treys by Ibitayo pushed Akron's lead to over 20 (29-7) for the first time with 10:58 left in the first half.

Another pair of threes – this time courtesy of Abreu and Walsh – gave UA its largest lead of the first half at 28 (39-11) with 8:04 remaining in the period.

JCU then went on a 10-2 run as Jake Hollinger scored on a put back to cap the run with the score 41-21 in favor of Akron at the 4:26 mark. However, the Zips did not allow the lead to drop below 20 for the remainder of the half and led 49-27 at the break.

Walsh led all scorers with 11 first half points, while Gilliam, Ibitayo and Abreu each had eight. UA shot 58.8 percent (20-of-34) from the field and canned 6-of-14 threes (42.9 percent) in the first half.

Akron started the second half on a 12-6 run to take a 61-35 lead at the first media timeout as Ibitayo went into double figures with two threes during the run.

The Zips continued to stay hot from behind the arc as four straight 3-pointers, including two from McAdams and one each from Walsh and Kretzer, gave UA a 75-42 lead and forced a John Carroll timeout with 10 minutes left.

Akron would then score the next seven points, capped by a traditional 3-point play by Marshall, to build a 40-point advantage at 82-42 at the 7:13 mark. The Zips largest lead of the game was 48 (95-47) with 2:42 left.

The Zips will be back in action on Thursday when they play Oklahoma State in the first game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in Bayamón, Puerto Rico at 10:30 a.m. ET.