CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland State lost for the first time at home this season as Akron returned from a near three-week layoff and defeated the Vikings, 73-61, on Saturday afternoon in the Wolstein Center.
CSU fell to 4-5 this year and lost consecutive games for the first time this season. Akron, which had not played a game since Nov. 16, improved to 2-2.
The Vikings fell to 3-1 at home this year.
Charlie Lee, who missed the last three games with a knee injury, paced the Vikings with 14 points, while Jon Harris was the only other CSU player in double figures with 12 points. Harris added eight rebounds.
The Zips used a stellar effort from three-point, hitting 11-of-22, including 9-of-10 from beyond the arc at one point.
Nick Harney led three Zips in double figures with 15 points, while Demetrius Treadwell had seven points and a game-high 10 rebounds.
A Mason dunk two and a half minutes in gave CSU a quick 5-2 lead, but Akron responded with a 14-4 run to open up a seven point lead (16-9) midway through the first half.
A Forbes free throw and Mason layup down the lane followed to bring the Vikings back within four, but an Akron bucket, back-to-back three-pointers and a Nick Harney dunk helped the Zips open up a double-digit lead (26-16) with 4:13 left.
The lead reached 11 points (29-18), but a Mason alley-oop dunk from Lee and a Lee three-pointer brought CSU within six (29-23) with under a minute to go in the half.
However, Nyles Evans drained a three-pointer from the top of the key just before the halftime horn sounded, giving the Zips a 32-23 lead at the intermission.
Deji Ibitayo and Reggie McAdams opened the second half with three-pointers as Akron saw its lead grow to 15 points (38-23), forcing a quick CSU timeout. The quick three's helped the Zips maintain a double-digit lead for a majority of the second half. The lead grew to as many as 19 points (55-36) with 10:41 to play.
CSU was able to pull within 12 points (58-46) on a Lee basket with just over four minutes to play, but as they did much of the afternoon, Akron answered on the other end with a Reggie McAdams three-pointer and Treadwell followed with a free throw to push the lead back to 16 points (62-46).
The Vikings answered with six straight to get back within 10 points and tried to extend the game by fouling, but the Zips hit 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch to seal the win.
The Vikings are now out of action until Dec. 16 when CSU hosts Western Carolina at 7:00 p.m. in the Wolstein Center.
- The loss keeps Akron ahead in the all-time series, 35-31.
- Today's game was the 67th all-time meeting between the two schools, the third most for CSU vs. any opponent (79 vs. Youngstown State and 74 vs. UIC).
- Today's loss gave CSU back-to-back losses for the first time this season.
- Charlie Lee, who missed the last three games with a knee injury, returned to score a team-high 14 points in 20 minutes off the bench.
- Lee came off the bench for the first time in 37 games. He started all 32 games last season and the first five this year before he was injured.
- Jon Harris continued his strong play with 12 points and eight rebounds. He has scored in double figures in three straight games, averaging 18.0 points during the stretch.
- Marlin Mason had season highs in points (9), rebounds (7) and blocks (3) today.
- The 11 three-pointers by Akron today were the most by a CSU opponent this year (San Francisco made 8 on Nov. 13).
- Bryn Forbes was held to nine points, the first time he did not reach double figures this year. His double figure scoring streak had been 11 straight games dating to last season.