The University of Akron men’s basketball team got into a shootout with Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne in the opening game of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament on Wednesday night in Fort Wayne, Ind., and didn’t have enough ammunition.
Playing their 1,000th game in team history, the Zips lost to the Mastodons 97-91 in a matchup where defense was in short supply.
UA’s (21-13) season ended on an offensive rebound with about 2:48 left to go. At that moment it appeared the Zips knew it was over.
There was no talk of lack of effort. The effort against the Mastodons was there — at least offensively. But on defense, the Zips couldn’t overcome IPFW, which improved to 25-10.
When a team shoots 60 percent from the floor, there are few answers to be found. But UA was able to shoot 64 percent from the floor, and still lost.
Ultimately, the Zips fell to sharpshooters who connected on 12-of-22 shots from 3-point range for 55 percent.
By comparison, the Zips only hit 5-of-16 on 3-point attempts.
Forward Luis Jacobo led the Mastodons with 23 points and forward Steve Forbes added 17 points and seven rebounds. IPFW had five players score in double figures.
For Akron, forward Demetrius Treadwell scored 25 points on 11-of-12 shooting and grabbed five rebounds and forward Quincy Diggs, playing in his final college game, added 23 points, five assists and three rebounds.
The Mastodons, making their first Division I postseason appearance, had a good reason to put on a strong performance. They won the game by putting their offensive strengths on full display.
Besides the shooting, their guards dictated scoring, effectively penetrating for easy layups and opening the outside for the 3-point attempts.
IPFW used those aspects of the game to take what had been a 1-point lead at halftime and expand it. IPFW also played patiently in a matchup that featured 14 lead changes.
Ranked ninth in field-goal percentage in the NCAA, IPFW’s performance should have been no surprise.
IPFW forward Mike Kibiloski began the run that would seal UA’s fate with 7:06 left in the game, nailing a 3-pointer to put the Mastodons up 75-72.
After two UA free throws, Kibiloski connected on another 3-pointer.
From there, the Zips never got closer than four points. Overall, Kibiloski scored 12 points, on 4-of-7 shooting.
The loss broke the Zips’ streak of 22 or more wins in a season, which stood at nine coming into the game.