The University of Akron men’s basketball team snapped a two-game Mid-American Conference road losing streak and claimed a portion of first place in the league’s East Division with a 73-64 win over Ball State Saturday afternoon at John E. Worthen Arena in Muncie, Ind.
With Kent State’s 72-61 loss at Ohio on Friday night, the Zips and Golden Flashes are tied atop the MAC East with 6-2 records.
UA forward Reggie McAdams led the Zips (17-4 overall) with 15 points and added eight rebounds. Guard Antino Jackson added 14 points and two assists.
Cardinals guard Jeremie Tyler led all scorers with 18 points.
Both teams shot better than 50 percent from the floor, with the Zips eking out a 53-51 percent advantage. The Zips outrebounded Ball State 29-22, including 8-4 on the offensive glass.
“If you look at the numbers, it looks as if we didn’t play well defensively, but we really did,” UA coach Keith Dambrot said. “We turned them over; I think one of the things we’ve improved on the past couple of weeks is forcing more turnovers and being more aggressive defensively.”
The primary advantage the Zips enjoyed and capitalized on was the presence of Isaiah “Big Dog” Johnson, whose meager total of 13 points belied the fact he generally scored at will in the paint. Johnson hit 5-of-7 shots and displayed athleticism Ball State (13-8, 4-4) couldn’t completely contain.
Johnson and center Pat Forsythe combined for 20 points and four rebounds to help UA notch its fourth consecutive victory overall.
“We’re a pretty big team,” Dambrot said. “Kwan [Cheatham Jr.] played well, too, defensively which helps us. Their big kids couldn’t score around the rim as much as we could.”
Ball State dominated the first 10 minutes of play, raining down 3-pointers before cooling off significantly. They led 18-15 with the Zips biding their time.
UA shot a blistering 56 percent from the floor, including 43 percent from beyond the 3-point line. Although the Cardinals didn’t shoot badly — hitting 46 percent of their shots (40 percent from 3) — they turned the ball over nine times, which helped the Zips outscore them 23-10 the rest of the half.