Balanced Akron tops UNCG, 75-53
GREENSBORO, NC – Akron used a balanced attack with four players scoring in double figures to defeat UNC Greensboro, 75-53, in men's basketball action Wednesday afternoon at Fleming Gym.
Anthony Hitchens and Nate Linhart each had 13 points to lead the Zips (8-4), who won for the third time in their last four outings. Steve McNees chipped in 12 points and Darryl Roberts added 10 points.
The loss was just the fourth for UNCG in its last 38 home non-conference games.
Junior forward Ben Stywall had his third double-double of the season and the sixth of his career to lead UNCG (1-9). The Charlotte, NC native finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds. The Spartans, who were hampered by 22 turnovers, had just one player score in double figures for the fourth straight game.
The Zips came out on fire, knocking down four 3-pointers in the first 4:30 of the game to take an early 15-7 lead. A 14-5 spurt by the visitors took the lead to double-digits for the first time, 33-17, with six minutes left in the opening half.
The Spartans threatened to cut the margin to single-digits a couple of times in the closing minutes of the half. Mikko Koivisto hit a fadeaway at the buzzer for UNCG as Akron went to the locker room with a 40-29 lead at the break.
That began a 7-1 spurt carrying into the second half that quickly got the Spartans to within seven, 41-34, less than a minute into the second half. Ben Stywall's steal and dunk off the opening possession followed by Daniel Oliver's three-pointers from the right side got UNCG as close as it had been since four minutes in.
Midway through the second half, though, the Zips scored eight straight to push a nine-point advantage to 17. Consecutive treys by McNees and Brett McKnight made it 55-38 with 12 minutes to play.
Koivisto was held without a three-pointer for the first time in 34 games. He came into Wednesday's contest with the third-longest active streak in the nation at 33 straight games dating back to early December 4, 2007 at Virginia Tech. He finished the game with four points, which was his lowest output since that Virginia Tech match-up. He wound up 0-for-6 from three-point range.
The win was the 100th at Akron for Zips coach Keith Dambrot. In his fifth season at Akron, he is now 100-42 and has a 208-112 overall mark in his 11th season.
UNCG returns to action on Saturday when it travels to Princeton for a 12 noon contest that will be televised by ESPNU.
AKRON 75, UNCG 53
Anthony Hitchens 5-8 0-0 13; Nate Linhart 4-13 3-4 13; Steve Mcnees 4-11 1-2 12; Darryl Roberts 3-8 2-2 10; Brett Mcknight 3-8 2-2 9; Jimmy Conyers 2-4 3-4 7; Chris Mcknight 3-9 0-0 6; Nikola Cvetinovic 2-2 1-1 5; Steve Swiech
0-0 0-0 0; Eric Coblentz 0-0 0-0 0; Mike Bardo 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-63 12-15 75.
Ben Stywall 2-4 7-8 11; Damian Eargle 4-6 1-2 9; Kendall Toney 2-7 1-2 7; Landon Clement 2-5 0-0 5; Daniel Oliver 2-4 0-1 5; Mikko Koivisto 2-9 0-0 4; Montel Smith 0-2 4-4 4; Deangelo Jackson 2-5 0-2 4; Pete Brown 1-1 0-1 2; Elhanan Bone 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 18-45 13-20 53.
Halftime: Akron 40-29. 3-point goals--Akron 11-24 (Steve Mcnees 3-6; Anthony Hitchens 3-6; Darryl Roberts 2-5; Nate Linhart 2-4; Brett Mcknight 1-3), UNCG 4-18 (Kendall Toney 2-6; Daniel Oliver 1-2; Landon Clement 1-2; Montel Smith 0-2; Mikko Koivisto 0-6). Fouled out--Akron-None, UNCG-None. Rebounds--Akron 40 (Jimmy Conyers 5; Chris Mcknight 5; Brett Mcknight 5), UNCG 33 (Ben Stywall 11). Assists--Akron 15 (Anthony Hitchens 5), UNCG 10 (Mikko Koivisto 3). Total fouls--Akron 19, UNCG 16. Technical fouls--Akron-None, UNCG-None. A-735
FREE THROWS: UNCG used its ninth different starting combination of the season on Wednesday afternoon. All 10 active scholarship players have started this season and all but one has started more than once... Mike Hardiman did not dress again Wednesday due to his nagging foot soreness. It was the third straight game that he was not dressed. It is possible, however, that he be available for Saturday's game at Princeton (12:02 pm tip time, ESPNU)... Akron came into the game as one of the Top 10 teams in the nation in forcing turnovers at 19.5 per contest. The Zips were halfway there by intermission, forcing the Spartans into 10 miscues in the first 20 minutes... In the last 38 home non-conference games, UNCG's other three losses were to East Carolina, Kent State and High Point... It was just the ninth time in 69 career games that Koivisto failed to make a three-pointer... Elhanan Bone played just five minutes after being a gametime decision due to an ankle injury.
- UNCG -