Article also featured on The Buchtelite
The University of Akron men’s basketball game Saturday, Dec. 10, that was moved from 2 pm to 7 pm didn’t affect the Zips from grinding out another second-half victory over Appalachian State.
Both teams shot for over 50 percent, Akron with .567 and Appalachian State .5, but the Zips outshot the Mountaineers from behind the arc with 58 percent compare Appalachian’s 44 percent.
Malcolm Duvivier lead the Zips with 24 points and Daniel Utomi had a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds. Jimond Ivey and Emmanu Olojakpoke both had 15 points apiece.
Mountaineers center Griffin Kinney led all scorers with a career-high 28 points and added six rebounds.The senior made 9 of 13 shots from the floor and 9 of 11 free throws.
The game was a back and forth affair to the end as both teams pressured one another. The Mountaineers jumped out to a 12-4 lead out of the gate, hitting open jumpers early, including two 3s by Ronshad Shabazz and going inside to big man Kinney to build their lead.
The Zips quickly recovered and reeled off an 8-0 run to tie the game en route to a 47-38 halftime lead.
After the Mountaineers took a 78-76 lead in the second half, Akron went on a 12-2 run. Duvivier made a jumper and Utomi hit back-to-back 3s to give the Zips an 86-79 lead the Zips and allow them to hold on to the lead till the final buzzer.
The past few games have seen the Zips taken an early lead in the first half but struggle defensive in the second half, fighting to keep their heads above water. Appalachian State Kinney dominated the paint due to the Zips able to shut him down.
“Watching them on tape, I knew they were going to be the most difficult team to defend that we have played home or away,” Groce said of the Mountaineers. “I liked our defense in the first half. I thought we forced them into some tough 2s and defended the 3-point line fairly well.”
The Zips will look to strengthen their defense when they welcome Mississippi River State to the James A. Rhodes Arena on Saturday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. Their last game before the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic.