The Cleveland State men's basketball team had no answers for Akron's inside game.
UA dominated the shorthanded Vikings from the opening tipoff and cruised to an easy 87-57 victory Sunday afternoon at the James A. Rhodes Arena.
The Vikings dropped to 7-5 and snapped its 11-game winning streak over teams from the Mid-American Conference. The Zips improved to 6-4 and snapped a two-game losing streak to CSU.
"They [Akron] played their butts off and came with a vengeance," said CSU head coach Gary Waters, whose team has dropped three of its past four games. "Our young kids don't yet understand. I got to get them to understand. Some of them might not be apart of this to understand it."
CSU played without its two best post players in Anton Grady (knee) and Devon Long (suspended) and UA took advantage inside.
The Zips patiently worked the ball down low to its bigs and got a lot of layups and dunks. They held a 42-12 advantage in points in the paint and outrebounded the Vikings 43-23.
"We knew we had a big advantage [inside]," said Zips head coach Keith Dambrot. "Our game plan was to go down in and go down in and go down in."
The Vikings had trouble matching up with UA's size. The Zips' frontcourt of 7'0" senior center Zeke Marshall, 6'7" junior forward Demetrius Treadwell, 6'7" junior forward Nick Harney and 6'11" redshirt freshman center Pat Forsythe dominated the Vikings inside, combining for 56 points and 23 rebounds.
"We knew before the season started that [our frontcourt] could be a limitation for us," said Waters. "Then to lose you best post guy and leading scorer and rebounder that makes it harder for us."
Harney came off the bench to lead the Zips with 19 points on 6-of-7 from the field. Marshall added 18 points, while Treadwell nearly missed a double-double with 15 points and eight rebounds.
"We should dominate the paint every night because in my opinion we have one of the best frontcourts in the country," said Treadwell, a Euclid native.
Marshall added: "I had a little sense of urgency coming into this game because I was tired of losing to [CSU]."
The Zips shot 53.2 percent from the field and had five players in double figures. It's the fifth straight game that CSU has allowed a team to shoot 50 percent from the field. The 87 points allowed tied a season-high.
CSU's offense never got going, as UA surprised it with a full-court press and a trap. The Vikings shot 34.6 percent and were 5-of-20 on three-pointers.
Junior guard Alex Abreu's three-pointer with 15:48 left before the half put the Zips up for good, 9-6.
The Zips shot 51.6 percent in the opening half and took a 42-25 lead at the half. They had strong first-half performances from Marshall (11 points), Treadwell (nine points) and Abreu (eight points).
Freshman guard Junior Lomomba and junior forward Luda Ndaye each had six first-half points to lead the Vikings.
CSU tried to make it a game in the second half and used a 13-7 run to cut it to 49-38 on Lomomba's three-pointer, but that would be as close as they would get.
UA responded with back-to-back three-pointers from Harney and Abreu to make it 55-38 and then put it in cruise control.
Lomomba led the Vikings with a career-high 16 points, 10 of them coming in the second half. He went 8-of-13 from the free-throw line. Freshman guard Bryn Forbes was the only other Viking in double-figures with 13.
CSU's leading scorer Charlie Lee, who came in averaging 14.5 points per game, had a tough night, finishing with six points and seven turnovers. He was 2-of-7 from the field.
"Charlie is too good of a player to play like he did today," Waters said.
The Zips also had 11 points each from Abreu and freshman wing Jake Kretzer.
CSU hosts Rio Grande on Friday.
Tom Mieskoski is a contributor to Bleacher Report. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.
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