AKRON, Ohio – Akron hit 15 three-pointers, and went on a 22-3 run after Charleston Southern closed within two early in the second half, to hand the Bucs an 82-58 loss at James A. Rhodes Arena on Friday. The contest was the fourth and final game for both squads as part of the 2015 NIT Season Tip-Off.
CSU (2-4) trailed 38-27 at halftime but narrowed its deficit to 40-38 just 2:49 into the second half thanks to three Patrick Wallace threes. Wallace buried the last triple of that run from in front of the Bucs' bench to make it a one-possession game, but the Zips scored on their next four trips down the floor and never trailed.
Akron (4-2) connected on 9-of-18 from beyond the arc after intermission, and 15-of-35 overall, to snap a two-game losing streak. Jake Kretzer drilled a trey, and Josh Williams added one of his own and a layup, to key Akron's decisive surge. Williams and Reggie McAdams tied for the team lead with 14 points. Aaron Jackson chipped in 13, and Pat Forsythe compiled a near double-double of 11 points and nine rebounds.
Armel Potter hit his first six shots of the night and scored 14 of a team-high 18 points in the first half to pace CSU. Wallace tallied 14, highlighted by his nine in the opening stages of the second half.
Akron took full advantage of 18 CSU turnovers to post a 29-4 advantage in points off turnovers. The Zips also out-rebounded the Bucs, 38-33.
Reuben King drove baseline for a slam dunk to stem the tide and make the score 51-41 with 13:18 left, but Akron reeled off the next 11 points to put the game away. Williams made two threes, and McAdams sailed home another, to cap the run and give Akron a commanding 62-41 advantage. CSU came no closer than 16 the rest of the way.
Forsythe was the focal point of Akron's offense at the game's outset, and scored two baskets early as the Zips hit their first four shots to build a 10-5 lead. Aaron Jackson knocked down a triple to push the Zips' edge to 15-5, before Potter came off the bench with a runner to start a sizzling opening half. He added another pull-up jumper from outside the lane, and buried a three to bring CSU within 20-15 just over nine minutes into play.
Potter's second three of the stanza made it a 24-20 game, but Akron scored seven quick points to retake a double-digit advantage. A Jimond Ivey dunk off an alley-oop pass was the highlight of that spurt for the Zips.
CSU will fly home Saturday morning and begin preparing for its Big South Conference opener on Wednesday. The Bucs will host Winthrop on Wednesday, Dec. 2 at the Buc Dome, with tipoff set for 7:30 p.m. CSU will visit Liberty next Saturday.