The University of Akron men’s basketball team overcame a slow start Saturday night to emphatically defeat visiting Bowling Green 71-45 before a crowd of 3,028 at Rhodes Arena in the Mid-American Conference opener for both teams.
The Zips (11-4, 1-0) had to adjust to the 2-3 zone that the Falcons (7-6, 0-1) presented them. UA faced an early 6-0 deficit in the first half and then responded with a 10-0 run. BGSU then answered with a 13-0 run to lead 19-10 with about seven minutes to go in the first half.
UA then took control of the game offensively and defensively. The Zips missed their first 10 shot from beyond the 3-point arc and then made 9-of-11 3-pointers after that.
Senior forward Jimmy Conyers led the Zips with 16 points, six rebounds, two assists and one block. He made 3-of-3 attempts from 3-point range.
Junior guard Steve McNees (11 points), sophomore guard Anthony “Humpty” Hitchens (10 points, five assists) and senior forward Chris McKnight (10 points, five rebounds) were the Zips other key players Saturday.
UA led 32-28 at halftime. The Zips extended the lead to 54-37 by going on 22-9 run in the first 11:27 of the second half.
The Zips made 42.9 percent of their field goal attempts (24-of-56) and the same percentage from 3-point distance (9-of-21). The Zips defense limited BGSU to 27.7 percent (13-of-47) from the field and to 35.7 percent (5-of-14) from 3-point range.
UA also held an advantage in rebounds, 36-31.
BGSU junior guard Joe Jakubowski scored a game-high 17 points. Falcons senior center Otis Polk was limited to 2-of-11 from the field for eight points.
UA has two MAC away games coming up, at Ohio on Wednesday and at Buffalo on Jan. 17.
Akron coach Keith Dambrot
“I thought we got good shots against the zone in the first half, but we made nothing. But that zone is hard. If you don't make shots from the outside, it becomes difficult.”
“We did the same things in both halves. We just made a few shots in the second half.”
“We are a good defensive team. There is no doubt about that. We have based the whole program on that end.”
“We care about offense, but we know if we are going to win big games, we have to play good defense.”
Dambrot on Conyers: “He is becoming one of the best players in the league. He is a tough son-of-a-gun.”
Bowling Green coach Louis Orr
“You got to stay grinding and stay on the shooters. We didn't do enough of that. You play a team like Akron, you have to grind it out, especially on defense.”
“We hurt ourselves. We missed too many shots around the basket and you can't beat a good team like Akron when you have 21 turnovers.”