For the second straight day, the country’s longest winning streak was in jeopardy. After the #19 Memphis Tigers had their NCAA-best 18-game winning streak snapped by Xavier on Tuesday, Akron and its 18 consecutive wins were down 18 points to Ohio with 4:30 left in the 1st half.
Behind an 18 to four run in the second half and a career-performance by Demetrius Treadwell, the Zips were able to take down the Bobcats in overtime, winning their 19th straight game by the score of 88-81.
Treadwell led Akron on the offensive end from start to finish. The junior forward scored a career-high 21 points and grabbed a team-high eight boards. The most impressive aspect of his performance was his aggressiveness and ability to convert at the free-throw line. A 48.6 percent shooter from the charity stipe on the season, Treadwell connected on seven of his career-high nine attempts from the free-throw line. After Zips star Zeke Marshall fouled out with 48 seconds left, Treadwell scored five of his 21 points in extra time.
In the second half, the Zips dropped 42 points on 52 percent shooting, including 60 percent from behind the arc. The major catalyst for Akron’s hot shooting was true-freshman Jake Kretzer. Down five points at the start of the second half, Kretzer knocked down second consecutive treys to give the Zips the lead. He finished with a career-high 19 points while hitting all five of his attempts from three-point range. Coming into tonight’s game, Kretzer was averaging just 5.7 points per game on 32.7 percent shooting from the floor.
Tonight’s loss is devastating for the Bobcats. Currently sitting square on the bubble, Ohio had the chance to make a statement by ending the nation’s longest winning streak. After bringing a 41-30 lead into halftime, the Bobcats weren’t able to finish and scored 40 points in the 2nd half and OT combined. Ohio was led by DJ Cooper, who tallied 26 points on eight of 19 shooting from the floor and converted half of his attempts from long-range. After posting four assists and five rebounds in tonight’s game, Cooper has surpassed 900 assists and 600 rebounds for his career, and he is currently 16 points shy of 2,000 career points.
With tonight’s loss, Ohio has dropped two games in a row after winning 12 of its previous 13. Luckily for Jim Christian and the Bobcats, none of their last three regular season opponents have a winning record. With another win, Ohio will wrap up the 2-seed in the MAC Tournament and earn a bye into the semifinals.
With its 19-game winning streak and 23-4 overall record, Akron is firmly in position for an at-large bid. The Zips will be looking to run the table, and should have an easy time doing so. In its last 3 games of the regular season, Akron’s opposition has a combined winning percentage of just .42. With their ability to dominate on the defensive end and rack up points in a hurry, look for the Zips to make their mark come tournament time.