Riding junior center Michael Eric’s season-high 16 points, the Owls routed Akron, 82-47.
There was no hangover from defeating a tough Georgetown squad last Thursday as the Owls followed that performance with a 82-47 blowout win over Akron for the team’s fourth straight win.
The game remained competitive for around five minutes as Akron kept the game close and were tied, 10-10 at the time, but then things quickly fell apart for the Zips. The Owls would only allow five more points for the rest of the first half while scoring 30 of their own. Akron’s 15 points were the lowest total allowed by the Owls in the first half this season. Junior center Michael Eric’s 14 points and three blocks in the first half led the Owls.
“You could tell he was ready to go and I’m really proud of him, he got us off to a great start on the offensive end and made a few plays and blocked some shots,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “Now we have to build on this and really make him understand that’s exactly how he has to approach each and every game.”
“Coach Dunphy says in practice that I’m not very aggressive in games and I wanted to show that I can be aggressive,” Eric added. “I came out and gave all that I could.”
Things continued to go wrong for the Zips in the second half. They would finish the game with more turnovers, 11, than they did assists with nine. They also shot 29 percent from the floor. Leading the way on defense was junior forward Scootie Randall, who finished as the team’s third highest scorer with 12 points and also had seven rebounds. He and Eric spent the most time on the court with 27 minutes of playing time each.
“I think Scootie has really arrived as a defensive player, I think he’s really buying into the fact that he’s probably going to take the leading perimeter scorer and he’s excited about that,” Dunphy said. “He’s really taken to his role, I almost want him to be thinking Bruce Bowen, I’m not sure he remembers how good he was as a perimeter defender who would guard the best perimeter guys and then spot up for a three and shoot.”
“Coach always told me that you can be on the court as long as you can play defense and that’s what coach stresses the most,” Randall added “I think I’ve worked hard enough to be able to be out there for 40 minutes and to be able to play defense and help my team out.”
Eric was the leading scorer with 16 points, he also finished with five rebounds and four blocks. Freshman guard Aaron Brown was able to see more time on the court because of the blowout and he would provide 13 points off the bench. The leading scorers for Akron were senior guard Steve McNees and freshman guard Alex Abreu, who each had 11 points.
Up next the Owls have a home game against Northern Illinois on Dec. 18. Tipoff is at 2 p.m.
Brian Dzenis can be reached at email@example.com.