AKRON, Ohio - Akron shot a season-best 58.9 percent from the floor and had four players in double-figures as it downed UNC Greensboro 83-59 in men's basketball action on Friday night at Rhodes Arena.
The Zips (6-3) won for the sixth time in their last seven games, while UNCG (2-7) suffered its third straight loss. Akron limited the Spartans to just 35.3 shooting from the floor on the night. The Zips' previous season-best field goal percentage was 46.3 percent in a win over Drake.
Brandon Evans led UNCG with 13 points and seven rebounds. Anthony Hitchens had 14 points for Akron, while Chris McKnight had 12 points and six assists.
"They are a good defensive team and they denied us from doing what we wanted to do," said UNCG coach Mike Dement. "They denied us from reversing the ball and denied our perimeter and took us right out of what we wanted to do. Brandon Evans was able to drive a little bit against it, but we struggled to run some things against that and we weren't comfortable. They were very physical, which is a positive for them. We talked to our guys about it beforehand, but we just didn't handle it well."
Both teams got off to a slow start with the scored tied 4-4 nearly five minutes in. Akron scored the next 14 points, however, to open up an 18-4 lead, holding UNCG without a field goal for nearly seven minutes in the process.
The Spartans got back to within eight on three-pointers by Mikko Koivisto and Montel Smith, 27-19, with 6:15 left before the intermission. But Akron responded with an 11-3 run to push the lead back out to 16, 38-22, with a minute to go before half.
Midway through the second half, Akron put it out of reach with a 15-5 run. The spurt, capped off by consecutive treys by Brett McClanahan and Steve McNees, gave the Zips a 66-39 lead with seven minutes to play. Akron was 6-of-9 from three-point range in the second half.
The Spartans return to action on Tuesday when they visit Richmond for a 12 noon start.
AKRON 83, UNCG 59
Brandon Evans 3-6 7-8 13; Kyle Randall 3-14 3-4 9; Korey Van Dussen 2-3 4-5 8; Pete Brown 2-5 2-2 6; Brian Cole 2-4 2-4 6; Mikko Koivisto 2-6 0-0 6; Ben Stywall 2-7 0-0 4; Montel Smith 1-2 0-0 3; Kendall Toney 1-2 1-2 3; Darrius Sellers 0-1 1-2 1; Deangelo Jackson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 18-51 20-27 59.
Anthony Hitchens 6-9 0-0 14; Chris Mcknight 5-7 2-2 12; Brett Mcclanahan 4-7 0-0 11; Brett Mcknight 5-8 1-2 11; Steve Mcnees 3-4 0-2 9; Zeke Marshall 3-5 2-5 8; Jimmy Conyers 2-3 2-2 6; Darryl Roberts 2-6 0-0 5; Ronnie Steward 2-2 0-1 4; Nikola Cvetinovic 1-2 0-1 2; Alex Sullivan 0-0 1-2 1; Steve Swiech 0-2 0-0 0; Tim Carroll 0-0 0-0 0; Kyle Petersen 0-1 0-0 0; Mike Bardo 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 33-56 8-17 83.
Halftime: Akron 38-24. 3-point goals--UNCG 3-13 (Mikko Koivisto 2-5; Montel Smith 1-2; Kendall Toney 0-1; Kyle Randall 0-3; Brandon Evans 0-2), Akron 9-18 (Brett Mcclanahan 3-5; Steve Mcnees 3-4; Anthony Hitchens 2-4; Darryl Roberts 1-3; Kyle Petersen 0-1; Brett Mcknight 0-1). Fouled out--UNCG-None, Akron-None. Rebounds--UNCG 29 (Brandon Evans 7), Akron 33 (Brett Mcknight 8). Assists--UNCG 4 (Kyle Randall 2), Akron 21 (Chris Mcknight 6). Total fouls--UNCG 19, Akron 21. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, Akron-None. A-2226
FREE THROWS: Kyle Randall's family had a much shorter trip to see him play on Friday. Randall's family has made a nine-hour trek to Durham to see the opener at Duke and also an 11-hour journey to Birmingham for the conference opener at Samford. However, for Friday's game, family and friends only needed about 45 minutes to drive over from near-by Youngstown, Ohio... Akron shot 53.8 percent from the floor in the opening half (14-of-26) to mark the sixth time in nine games this season that UNCG's opposition shot 50 percent or better in the first half... Koivisto looked better and said he felt better on the trip. After a couple of days rest for his nagging hip during the week, Koivisto knocked down a pair of treys in the first half and looked more comfortable... UNCG had just four assists on the night, all of them coming in the first half.
- UNCG -