The Zips gave up 19 offensive rebounds and missed 11 of 22 foul shots.
Basically, Akron allowed Illinois-Chicago 19 more possessions, and that alone is nearly impossible to bounce back from. The Zips also committed two unforced turnovers late in the game that stunted comeback opportunities.
The Flames won 86-80 in an entertaining game that Akron really gave away from the paint and the free throw line. Five UIC players scored in double figures. The Flames shot 40 percent but with 19 extra possessions, it's not hard to outscore your opponent.
Here are some notes from the game...
- Chris McKnight looks more comfortable. His long-range shooting surprised me. He scored seven points and had four rebounds.
- Nick Dials has blossomed defensively. He's also underrated off the dribble. I just don't like how he's so streaky from 3.
- Cedrick Middleton hit some big 3s in his return home. The Chicago native finished with 15 points.
- Is it evident to anyone else that Akron lacks a go-to player? Dru Joyce and Dials hit big shots. Romeo Travis, who scored 24 tonight, gets a lot of buckets in the offense. Still, there is no obvious choice, and that makes late-game situations much more nerve wracking.
- Keith Dambrot is right about a weakness at small forward. John Rybak looks lost. Nate Linhart is mostly a nonfactor. Jimmy Conyers makes bad decisions. I'm still holding out hope Conyers settles down and becomes a contributor. Coaches say it takes a while for the game to "slow down" for freshmen.
- Jeremiah Wood injured his hip in practice yesterday and did not play. Needless to say, Akron could have used his rebounding.
- I think we saw the same UIC team that nearly beat Illinois last weekend at the United Center, not the Flames who the Miami RedHawks blew out.
- I'm not really upset with the team's performance. They just needed to make more free throws and box out, which is tricky while playing a zone and you're already undersized. With Wood, I think the Zips win. Moot point.