AKRON, Ohio – A nine-point spurt over a 1:26 stretch was the key run for the Akron Zips as they extended their winning streak to 14 games with a 68-56 victory over Central Michigan on Tuesday night in a Mid-American Conference cross-divisional matchup at Rhodes Arena.
For 37 minutes, the Chippewas battled toe-to-toe with the Zips, but nine-straight points beginning with two Demetrius "Tree" Treadwell buckets – the first with 2:39 remaining – was the difference.
Treadwell would make three-straight buckets, including a monster dunk with 1:48 remaining, to spur Akron's 11-0 run to end the game. He finished the game with 12 points, five boards and three assists while playing most of the contest in foul trouble.
Akron (18-4, 9-0 MAC) pushed its winning streak to 14-straight games, the longest active streak in the nation. UA's 9-0 start in MAC play is the fourth-best start in league history.
Alex Abreu was the only other Zip in double figures, posting 15 points and seven assists. He was 5-of-9 from the field to lead Akron, which shot 49.1 percent from the floor (26-of-53) and 37.0 percent from behind the arc (10-of-27).
Kyle Randall led Central Michigan (9-13, 2-7 MAC) with a game-high 22 points.
Central Michigan opened the second half on a 9-3 run to open up a 36-31 lead with 16:25 left in the game. CMU hit three of its first five shots of the half and forced two Akron turnovers.
Akron would keep the game close before an Abreu to Nick Harney alley-oop on the fast break gave Akron a 42-41 lead with 12:16 left. The bucket forced CMU to call its fourth timeout of the game.
After going back-and-forth for the next nine minutes, the Zips opened up a 55-50 lead with 4:23 remaining on the heels of back-to-back 3-pointers by Deji Ibitayo and Abreu.
A layup by CMU's Chris Fowler with 2:23 left would trim the Akron lead to 57-56, but the Zips would score 11 points in the next 1:48 to win the game 68-56.
Akron opened the game on a blistering pace, hitting 5-of-6 shots to open the game to grab a 13-3 lead. However, CMU would answer with a 16-3 run to take a 19-16 lead with 9:41 left in the half. The Zips were just 1-of-6 from the field during the stretch.
After a Reggie McAdams 3-pointer tied the game at 19-all, CMU push its advantage back to 27-21 thanks to an 8-2 run. The Zips would slowly chip away at the lead and a Carmelo Betancourt jumper at the buzzer would give Akron a 28-27 halftime advantage.
The Zips shot 50.0 percent from the floor in the first half (11-of-22) and connected on 50.0 percent from long range (6-of-12), but committed eight turnovers and were called for eight fouls. CMU shot 37.5 percent from the floor (9-of-24), but hit 4-of-8 from long range and were forced into seven turnovers.
The Zips travel to Oxford, Ohio, to face Miami (Ohio) on Saturday, Feb. 9. Tip-off is set for 1 p.m. ET and the game will air live on ESPNU.
Zips Notebook: The win was the sixth-straight for the Zips in the series with CMU ... the last team to start MAC play 9-0 was Miami (Ohio) during the 1983-84 season ... the Zips have won 22 of their last 25 league games dating back to last season ... Akron extended its winning streak against the West Division to 15-straight games (13-straight regular season).