After a tough first half battle, the Akron men's basketball team used a stout defensive effort and timely shooting to defeat the Buffalo Bulls, 80-70, Tuesday night at James A. Rhodes Arena.
With the victory, the Zips extended its home court winning streak to 12 games, improving to 21-5 (10-3 MAC) while the Bulls fall to 14-12 (7-6 MAC). Tuesday's victory marked the 11th consecutive season that the Zips have tallied 21 or more victories. Only five programs have reached that accomplishment over the last 10 seasons, Akron (21-5), Duke (19-6), Gonzaga (20-6), Kansas (22-4), and Ohio State (17-10), while currently, the Zips and Jayhawks have 11 seasons under their belt.
The guard combination of sophomores Antino Jackson, Jr. (Houston, Texas) and Noah Robotham (Las Vegas, Nev) scored 20 points and 16 points, respectively, while junior center Isaiah Johnson (Cincinnati, Ohio) added 14 points and 11 rebounds.
CJ Massinburg poured in 21 points for the Bulls, while David Kadiri contributed 10 points. Buffalo had three players with seven or more rebounds, and won the battle of the boards 40-29.
For the game, Akron shot 41.3 percent (26-of-62), and hit 40.6 percent (13-of-32) from behind the arc. The Zips shot 71.4 percent (15-of-21) from the charity stripe. The Bulls shot 43.9 percent (25-of-57) from the field and shot 18.8 percent (3-of-16) from behind the three-point line. Buffalo converted on 73.9 percent (17-of-23) from the free throw line.
The Zips jumped out to a quick lead after Jackson scored four early points and Robotham buried a triple from the top of the key. Williams extended the Zips lead to five with a 3-pointer of his own.
After a few minutes of back-and-forth action, the Bulls used a 7-0 run to take a 26-20 lead with seven minutes remaining in the first half. Buffalo continued to pressure the Zips on the defensive end and created points in the paint, pushing them to a 36-23 lead with just over four minutes left in the half.
After being forced into a timeout to halt the Bulls run, the Zips came out firing in the remainder of the half, going on a 10-0 run to close out the half, but still trailed 36-33.
The Bulls scored 26 of their 36 first half points in the paint, while holding the Zips to 12 points in the paint. In the first half, Buffalo converted on 54.0 percent of their shots, while Akron only managed to score on 33.0 percent of their attempts.
After the break, Jackson scored five quick points to tie the game at 38 apiece. After a steal on the defensive end, Robotham buried a triple from the corner to put Akron ahead 47-42, forcing Buffalo to use a timeout to halt the Zips momentum.
Senior wing Reggie McAdams (Elida,Ohio), who did not score in the initial stanza, knocked down three consecutive triples, leading the Zips on a 14-5 run and pushing Akron to a 56-47 lead.
The Bulls used a 14-5 run to tie the game at 64 with eight minutes remaining in the contest, but the Zips scored nine unanswered of their own to retake the lead, 73-64.
A late triple from the top of the key by Robotham increased the Zips lead to 12 and sealed the home-court victory. The victory kept the Zips' perfect 12-0 record at home alive.
The Akron basketball team will continue Mid-American Conference play, traveling to local rival Kent State for the first of a two game series on Friday, Feb. 19 at the M.A.C. Center. The game is scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. ET., and will be televised by ESPNU. Fans can also follow the action on GoZips.com via live stats or by Zips' radio broadcast on Akron-IMG Sports Network available at SportsRadio1350.com, iHeart Radio, and TuneIn.com/Akron Zips.
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