It’s not how you start, but how you finish.
The University of Akron men’s basketball team showed that Wednesday night against host Western Michigan.
A fast start would have helped, but a mediocre finish doomed the Zips in a 57-54 Mid-American Conference loss.
The Zips (16-8, 8-3 MAC) and Broncos (15-8, 8-3) combined for some of the ugliest basketball anyone is likely to witness this season in the MAC.
With a few ticks under 12 minutes left in the first half, UA led 5-4.
In the end, the Zips came up short when forward Quincy Diggs’ last-second 3-point shot rimmed out.
Despite enduring double and triple teams for most of the game, forward Demetrius Treadwell led UA with 16 points and 12 rebounds, his eighth double-double in nine games.
Diggs followed him with nine points, five rebounds and three steals.
Western Michigan guard David Brown led all scorers with 17 points and six rebounds, including two free throws that gave the Broncos the lead for good.
Center Shayne Whittington followed him with 15 points and seven rebounds.
The Broncos presented the Zips with a simple game plan — beat Treadwell up on the inside as much as possible and then pound the ball on the inside offensively.
Treadwell endured the assault, but the Zips’ interior defense didn’t as the Broncos’ second-half attack erased what had been an eight-point halftime lead for UA.
Whittington had his way with Zips centers with his aggressive play around the rim, resulting in UA center Pat Forsythe getting into foul trouble with more than 10 minutes left in the game.
The Zips, already shorthanded because of Nick Harney’s suspension, struggled to keep Whittington in check.
The Zips shot just 33 percent from the floor and 27 percent on 3-pointers and committed 15 turnovers in the game.