BAYAMON, Puerto Rico - Akron connected on 12-of-24 three-point attempts as the Zips downed UNC Asheville 82-63 in the second round of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Friday afternoon at Colieso Ruben Rodriguez.
The Bulldogs (1-3) will play again on Sunday in the seventh-place game when they take on Providence at 11 a.m. The game will be televised by ESPNU and broadcast locally on 880-AM with the pre-game show at 10:30 a.m.
Akron, a program that has been in seven straight post-season tournaments and won at least 22 games during that period, was led by Chauncey Gilliam with 22 points, including 16 in the second half. He went 5-of-6 from the three-point line.
Asheville was led by a career-high 22 points from Keith Hornsby. The sophomore guard went 9-of-12 from the field and 2-of-3 from long distance. Jeremy Atkinson pumped in 10 points for the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs trailed 37-34 at halftime but were out-scored 45-29 in the second half as Akron raced to a 24-point lead before setting for the 19-point win. After only committing four turnovers in the first half, Asheville had 10 in the second half. The Dogs shot .500 (9-of-18) from the field in the second half but much of that was negated by their turnovers.
"Akron simply outplayed from start to finish," commented Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach. "We obviously didn't guard their three-point shooters very well, and they made us pay for it dearly. We knew Akron could shoot it well from the three-point line, but we simply didn't get the job done.
"We also gave away several possessions that allowed them to score in transition or knock down a three-pointer," added Biedenbach. "Sometimes a team as young as we are has to learn a tough less and today we learned a tough less. Akron has a very good basketball program, and they could have easily beaten Oklahoma State yesterday (lost in overtime 69-65). We just weren't as tough as they were today, and that's something we've got to learn from."
The Zips (2-2) shot 49.1 percent for the game (26-of-53) and 50.0 percent from long range (12-of-24). The Bulldogs finished the game shooting 47/7 percent (21-of-44) and hit three 3-point buckets (3-of-5).
Akron opened the second half by scoring the first two buckets to take a 42-34 advantage just 1:16 into the period. Gilliam began to take the game over just inside 17:00 remaining in the game, scoring 11-straight points to help the Zips maintain a 10-point advantage (55-45).
Akron would see its advantage grow to 67-50 at the 8:20 mark. That lead would continue to climb, reaching 24 points (76-52) by the under-four minute timeout.
The Zips opened an early 6-2 lead. The Akron advantage hovered around five points for a stretch before the Bulldogs closed to within one point, 20-19, at the 9:10 mark.
From there, Akron used a 16-7 run to open up a 10-point advantage (36-26) with 5:04 remaining in the half. The Zips used three 3-pointers and seven free throws to spark the run.
UNC Asheville would answer, closing the half on an 8-1 run over the final 4:50 to send the game into halftime with Akron leading 37-34. Asheville would get points from four different players during the run.
Both teams shot the ball well in the first half, with the Zips connecting on 11-of-25 from the floor (44 percent) and the Bulldogs hitting 12-of-26 attempts (46 percent).
UNC Asheville went 3-of-5 from the three-point line after going 3-for-30 in the first three games of the season...Jeremy Atkinson has now scored in double figures in all four games but he did not lead the Bulldogs in scoring like he did the first three games...Sam Hughes and Corey Littlejohn scored their first points of the season on Friday...Trent Meyer has 11 assists in the tournament with five on Friday...Atkinson is shooting 10-of-12 from the field for the tournament...Asheville's opponents in the tourney are shooting .500 (16-of-32) from the three-point line...the Bulldogs are 1-3 against opponents from Mid-American Conference after Friday's loss.