Akron Remains Undefeated at Home, Career Night from Olojakpoke Leads to 83-79 Win Over Fort Wayne

By Published: 12/7/2017 6:36:27 AM Custom Tag

Courtesy: Akron Athletics

AKRON, Ohio – Behind a balanced offensive attack and solid marksmanship from beyond the arc, the Akron Zips overcame a slow start to hold off Fort Wayne 83-79 Wednesday night in a non-league contest at James A. Rhodes Arena.

Sophomore forward Emmanuel Olojakpoke (Houston, Texas) tallied a career-best 24 points on 10-of-13 shooting in the win, along with seven rebounds and four blocks. Using his jump hook, Olojakpoke helped Akron close the first half strong - scoring 14 in the opening frame - and blocked three shots before intermission to steady the Zips on defense.

Six players scored eight points or more for Akron (4-2), which led throughout the second half and fended off multiple challenges from the visitors, who were led by John Konchar (23 points) and Kason Harrell (19 points). Zips' junior guard Jimond Ivey (Cleveland, Ohio - 12 points), sophomore guard Daniel Utomi (Houston, Texas - 11 points), freshman guard Eric Parrish (Cypress, Texas - 11 points) and freshman guard Virshon Cotton (Milwaukee, Wisc. – career-high 10 points) all reached double digits.

Fort Wayne closed to within four points multiple times in the second half and narrowed the margin to two with 28.4 seconds remaining thanks to a deep triple from Harrell to make the score 81-79. Following the made shot, Parrish made one of two free throws and Ivey did the same to provide the final margin of victory.

The Zips started the game slow, falling behind by as many as six in the first half as the Mastodons hit 6 of 12 from 3-point range in the first 12 minutes of the contest. Turnovers helped Akron keep it close, as the defense turned Fort Wayne over six times during that span, accounting for 10 of the Zips' first 20 points.

Cotton provided the Akron offense with a boost off the bench, sinking two from long range to rally his team from a six-point deficit to a 26-all tie with 7:41 remaining before the half. Cotton's pair of triples were part of a 16-2 run that eventually put the Zips ahead 36-28, their largest lead of the opening stanza to that point.

Missed free throws kept the game close throughout, as Akron converted just 11 of 27 (40.7 percent) from the charity stripe.

Turnovers also impeded Akron's offense, as 14 miscues slowed its scoring pace, especially in the second half. Ultimately, the Zips were able to overcome those turnovers thanks to their long-range shooting and a 40-28 rebounding edge that helped them to a 38-24 advantage on points in the paint. On the night, Akron shot 41.7 percent (10 of 24) from long range.

Akron is back in action at James A. Rhodes Arena this Saturday, Dec. 9, as the Zips host Appalachian State at 2 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN3 and can be heard on 1350 AM.

Published: 12/7/2017 6:36:27 AM Custom Tag