BOWLING GREEN, Ohio -- The Akron Zips lost their second straight game, 66-65, to Bowling Green on Tuesday night in the Stroh Center, leaving their Mid-American Conference title in jeopardy.
The little things have been key for the Zips (22-6, 12-3) all season but in the back-to-back losses the opposition has held the upper hand. For the second straight game, for example, the Zips had more turnovers than the Falcons, 14-8.
And even while holding BG to 30.3-percent shooting in the second half, and 41.0-percent for the game, Akron was even worse. The Zips finished at 35.9-percent in part going 9-for-30 behind the arc.
The Falcons (12-16, 6-9) were better in the paint than Akron (30-26), and outscored Akron 18-7 off turnovers and 18-4 on fast breaks. All season long that has been Akron's strength, but not against Bowling Green.
This now makes Akron's upcoming road trip to Buffalo a must-win, even with the Bulls coming off an upset loss at home to Kent State.
The first half: The Zips began the game short of firepower as sophomore guard Josh Williams, who suffered a twisted ankle against Kent State, was in sweats, but not in uniform. He's averaging 7.4 points a game.
Akron still took a quick 11-5 lead, but just as quickly turned cold. Two extended stretches of more than four scoreless minutes combined with a 14-0 run by the Falcons put the Zips into a 6-29 hole at halftime.
Missing the bulk of that half was power forward Kwan Cheatham who asked out of the game after badly missing a 3-point attempt, playing just nine first-half minutes. The Falcons took advantage as guards Zach Denny and Dylan Frye already had 11 and 12 points respectively.
By the numbers: Akron freshman Daniel Utomi entered the Bowling Green game on a sizzling 3-point shooting streak. Overall in his previous three games, Utomi, a 6-6 forward from Houston, made 9-of-11 3-pointers; 4-for-4 against Kent State, 0-for-2 against Toledo and 5-for-5 against Eastern Michigan. He entered the game shooting 50-percent on the season (22-of-44) including 18-of-33 on the season behind the arc (54.5-percent) in MAC play.
Next up: Bowling Green plays two of its final three games on the road starting Saturday at Miami and next Friday at Buffalo with a senior night game on Feb. 28 against Kent State in between. The Zips stay on the road, 8 p.m. Friday at Buffalo, then the last home game of the season on Tuesday vs. Miami, then next Friday at Kent State.
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