The final score was 68-56 with the Central Michigan men’s basketball losing Tuesday night in Akron to the lone unbeaten in the Mid-American Conference.
But the 12-point difference in the score doesn’t accurately tell the story of the Chippewas’ loss.
CMU gave the Zips all it could handle, but in the end it wasn’t enough, despite what head coach Keno Davis thought of his team’s effort.
“What was frustrating is that we come in here and outwork Akron and we get three fouls the whole second half and we’ve got guys thrown on the floor,” Davis said. “We get no respect, so what we do is we come back to the court and we work harder.”
With 9:21 left and a 46-42 lead, senior guard Finis Craddock made a steal and fell to floor, calling a timeout to maintain possession.
It happened to be the final timeout.
A timeout Davis would have liked in the end as the game got out of the Chippewas hand and Akron ran away with the win.
“That was frustrating (to not have timeouts),” Davis said. “We did so well diving on the floor that we ran out of timeouts, but how can you be upset? So next time one or two of those are OK, but let’s not use them all up.”
Senior guard Kyle Randall started the game hitting a NBA range three-pointer, perhaps showing signs of the night he and his teammates were about to have.
Randall finished with 22 points as the team shot 44 percent from beyond the arc, knocking down seven three-pointers.
The Chippewas had to shot well to keep up with the Zips, who were shooting 50 percent from the field and beyond the arc in the first half.
Akron went on a 13-0 run following Randall’s three and the game looked like it was going to be the blowout that was expected.
But CMU answered with a nine-minute 20-6 run and outworked the much bigger Zips team in the first half on the boards.
“I was very impressed with our players attitude and effort,” Davis said. “I thought our guys gave as much effort on the boards as they could possibly give. We’re just outmatched and to get into a shoving and pushing match, we’re not going to win.
“We might fight as hard as you, but we’re not built for a wrestling match.”
The Chippewas are now riding a five-game losing streak, but after taking the leader of the MAC to wire on its own floor they have something to build on. Perhaps to end that losing streak Saturday at Kent State.
“The big plus is coming out saying, ‘this was the best team in the league’ and we came in here and had a chance to win,” Davis said. “That shows we have a ways to go, but it’s not as far as people might think.”
Tip-off with the Golden Flashes is set for 7 p.m. Saturday in Kent, Ohio.