The Akron Men’s basketball team defeated the Eastern Michigan Eagles 79-62 in the first game of the MAC Tournament Quarterfinals and will move onto the semifinals. Akron was able to play better in the second half to move into the next round.
In the first half the game started off slow and neither team could score a basket. Eastern Michigan forward James Thompson IV was able to make the first basket and continued to make back to back baskets for the Eagles. He finished with 18 points, 16 rebounds, and two steals. Akron center Isaiah Johnson played very well and led the Zips with 24 points, 10 rebounds, and two assists. Akron junior guard Noah Robotham scored 19 and was 3 for 4 from 3 point range. Also, sophomore guard Josh Williams added 11 points, and knocked down 3 key pointers. Akron ranks 8th in the NCAA RPI (Rating Percentage Index) in total three point field goals made, but made only 9 three pointers of 28 attempts. The Zips were trailing the entire first half until Noah Robotham made a three pointer to take the lead over Eastern with 4:50. However, Eastern cut the lead to 3 and were down 30-27 at halftime.
In the second half the Eagles went on a run and cut Akron’s lead to 4 (55-51). Akron however was not intimidated and ended up the game strong. The Zips played better defense and made the Eagles turn the ball over a total of 13 times. Akron also moved the ball well and had a total of 11 assists on 25 made baskets. With 4:17 left in the game Akron was able to get two steals to put the game away. One was by Jimond Ivey who converted a layup, and the other one occurred directly afterwards by Josh Williams who knocked a much needed 3 pointer to put the Zips up by 11 (64-53). Akron was able to score 49 points in the second half to close out Eastern and move on.
Akron will play the winner of the Ball State Cardinals and Western Michigan Broncos Quarterfinals game in the semifinals game which will occur tomorrow evening at 5:30 pm at Quicken Loans Arena.
Below is the press conference with Akron Head Coach Keith Dambrot, Josh Williams, and Isaiah Johnson who all commented on the win against the Eastern Michigan. Also Dambrot talks about what it takes to win the tournament.