KENT, Ohio – When the Kent State Golden Flashes and Akron Zips took the floor at the M.A.C. Center on Friday night, both teams had a lot at stake with a win.
The visiting Zips looked to avenge the loss two weeks ago at Rhodes Arena that put an end to their 30-game home winning streak. Akron also needed a win to get some momentum back heading into next week’s Mid-American Conference tournament. The Zips had lost three of the previous four games.
The host Flashes looked to record a season high sixth consecutive victory and sweep their next door neighbors for the first time since the 2009-2010 season. Kent State also hoped to earn the number four seed in next week’s Mid-American Conference tournament with a victory and some help.
Akron led the entire first half. The Zips built a nine-point lead early in the first half. Kent State would cut that lead down to one. The Zips would take a four point lead into halftime at 32-28.
The Flashes started the second half with a none to four run. Kent State took its first lead of the game with 17:07 remaining. Jaylin Walker’s three pointer gave the Golden Flashes a 37-36 lead.
Both teams would exchange baskets before the Zips took control of the game.
A jumper by Walker with 4:57 remaining would be as close as the Flashes would get the rest of the way.
The Zips would go on a ten to nothing run over the next 3:30 of game action to seal the 66-56 victory.
The Zips and Flashes split the regular season series for the fifth consecutive season.
Akron had balance scoring. Four players finished in double figures. Jimond Ivey finsihed with a team high 14 points and a game high 12 rebounds. Noah Robotham added 12 points. Isaiah Johnson and Daniel Utomi each finished with ten points. Johnson also pulled down ten rebounds to record a double double of his own.
Jimmy Hall led all scorers with a game-high 16 points. The Golden Flashes senior recorded his fourth consecutive double double be recording a team-high eleven rebounds. Walker added 13 points and Deon Edwin finished with 12 points.
Akron finishes the regular season as Mid-American Conference champions. At 24-7 overall and 14-4 in the conference, the Zips are the top seed in the MAC Tournament next week at Quicken Loans Arena.
Here's your 2017 MAC Men's Basketball Tournament Bracket. We will see you at @TheQArena! #MACtion pic.twitter.com/cxhe1XT6kK
— #MACtion (@MACSports) March 4, 2017
The Zips receive a bye into the quarterfinals. Akron will play the winner of the eight vs. nine seed game between the Eastern Michigan Eagles and the Northern Illinois Huskies on Thursday March 9 at noon.
Akron will now play in MAC Tournament Quarterfinals on Thursday at Noon. We'll be facing the winner of the Eastern Michigan/NIU. #ZipsUnite pic.twitter.com/L5EHGxCuuI
— Akron Zips MBB (@ZipsMBB) March 4, 2017
The Golden Flashes finish as the sixth seed. Kent State will host the Central Michigan Chippewas and the NCAA’s leading scorer Marcus Keene on Monday, March 6 at 7 p.m. at the M.A.C. If the Flashes win, they will take on the third seeded Buffalo Bulls at Quicken Loans Arena on March 9 at approximately 9 p.m.
MAC Tournament play begins on Monday for No.6 @KentStMBB when No.11 Central Michigan comes to town. #Unleash pic.twitter.com/cJvqBHeyqD
— Kent State Men's Basketball (@KentStMBB) March 4, 2017
If there is a rubber match to determine who has bragging rights for the offseason. The Zips and Flashes would both have to advance to the Mid-American Conference Tournament championship game on March 11.
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