CLEVELAND -- The University of Akron Zips are moving on in the 2017 Mid-American Conference Basketball Tournament.
After a slow start in which they made only two of their first seven looks from the field and one of three attempts from the free-throw line, the top-seeded Zips found a rhythm offensively, settled down on the defensive rebounds and rode that momentum to a 79-62 win over the No. 8-seeded Eastern Michigan Eagles at Quicken Loans Arena Thursday afternoon.
Senior center Isaiah Johnson led the way for the Zips (25-7), with 24 points on eight-of-14 shooting from the field coupled with an eight-of-14 showing at the free-throw line. The 2017 MAC Player of the Year, Johnson added 10 rebounds, two assists, three blocked shots and one steal over 37 minutes of play.
Additionally, the Zips got double-digit scoring efforts from starting guard Noah Robotham (19 points), who went 11 of 12 at the free-throw line, and sophomore reserve Josh Williams netted 11 markers with three made three-pointers and a two-point basket.
Akron beats Eastern Michigan in MAC Tournament
Despite making just nine of their 28 looks from three-point range, the Zips shot 45.45 percent from the field (25 of 55) in the win over the Eagles.
Sophomore forward James Thompson IV led the way for Eastern Michigan with a double-double of 18 points and 16 rebounds to go along with a pair of steals. Also, guards Ray Lee (17 points), Tim Bond (11) and Ty Toney (10) scored in double figures for the Eagles.
Including Thursday’s win, which concluded a three-game season sweep of the Eagles, the Zips improved to 25-7 overall on the season, and are now 15-4 against MAC competition this year.
Akron coach Keith Dambrot has guided the Zips to a 20-5 record over their last 25 MAC Tournament games.
For the 12th straight season, Akron moves onto the MAC Tournament semifinals and will take on the winner of the matchup between Ball State and Western Michigan. Akron and the Ball State/Western Michigan winner will play in the first of two semifinal games at The Q on Friday night. Tipoff for that game is set for 5:30 p.m.