The University of Akron stepped up and played great basketball in their first NCAA Tournament game against Gonzaga last night; at least for the first 28 minutes. The Zips led at halftime 38 - 35 in a game that had upset written all over it. However, Gonzaga had different thoughts and came out fired up for the second half.
Akron led 52 - 51 with 9:43 left in the game but then Gonzaga burst their bubble with a 26 - 12 run from that point to the final buzzer.
The results did not surprise many people around the country who fully expected Gonzaga to win this game. I'm not sure it even surprised many Zip fans who knew they were facing a huge challenge against a powerful and talented Gonzaga team. Hope did rise to a high level as both teams went into the locker rooms at half time; the Zips were actually leading this game. They appeared to be standing up very well against a powerful opponent. Could they do it for the entire game? That was the questions.
Obviously, Akron was unable to keep up their tempo in the second half and quickly fell behind. They went a span of 13 minutes without scoring from the field and shot around 25% in the second half compared to a 42% shooting percentage in the first half.
It was the "Tale of Two Halves" and the second half was a dismal one for the Zips.
However, there is hope for this team and the Akron program. Four of the five starters will be back next year and they will add a 7 foot center next year to bolster their program and team. All of who follow Akron sports are hoping to see the team make another appearance in the NCAA tournament next year.
Ohio is still represented in the tournament by Ohio State, Cleveland State, Dayton, and Xavier.