AKRON, Ohio – Three of Akron's starters scored in double figures and Jake Kretzerchipped in 14 points off the bench to lead Akron to a 72-63 victory over Coastal Carolina in its regular season opener Friday night at James A. Rhodes Arena.
Coastal Carolina (0-1) was paced by Elijah Wilson who led all scorers with 15 points.
The Zips shot 42.4 percent from the field on the night, connecting on 25-of-59 attempts. Akron turned its defense into offense, forcing the Chanticleers into 20 turnovers that the Zips converted into 21 points on the other end of the floor. UA's defense also tallied 13 steals and five blocked shots.
Akron wasted no time sprinting ahead of CCU after the opening tip, building a 26-9 advantage by the 8:38 mark after a 3-point basket from Diggs.
The Zips easily maintained a double-digit lead throughout the first half, using a balanced scoring attack to take a 41-30 lead into the locker room. Akron's defense held the Chanticleers to an 11-of-30 effort from the field for a 36.7 shooting percentage in the first half.
UA emerged after the break and increased its lead to 58-35 after a Treadwell free throw. The Zips forced 11 turnovers within the first seven minutes of the second half and went on a 17-3 run to keep the Chanticleers quiet for the better part of the period.
It wasn't until CCU's Wilson netted a 3-pointer with 8:54 left to play that the Chanticleers would answer with a 14-4 run of their own. Coastal Carolina closed the gap to eight points with Akron leading 66-58 and 2:15 on the clock.
Akron held onto its lead in the waning minutes, thanks to a 6-for-8 performance from the charity stripe as a team over the last 1:30 which was enough to seal the victory.
The Zips will travel to Moraga, Calif., to take on St. Mary's on Tuesday, Nov. 12, for a 3 a.m. ET contest as part of the ESPN Tip-Off Marathon to be featured live on ESPN2.
Zips Notebook: The Zips received their 2013 Mid-American Conference championship rings before tonight's game ... Akron improved to 92-21 overall in home openers (.814) ... UA has now won 23 of its last 26 games and 37 of its last 39 at Rhodes Arena ... the Zips are now 154-20 when holding opponents under 65 points under 10th year head coach Keith Dambrot.