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.
— #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 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.
— 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.