Akron 88, Arkansas 80

Akron's Antino Jackson has 23 points and Reggie McAdams 18 as MAC Eastern Division favorite Akron downs Arkansas 88-80 Wednesday night at Bud Walton Arena.

Arkansas suffered a MAC Attack with a 3-point flavor on its home court Wednesday night.

Antino Jackson had 23 points and Reggie McAdams added 18 as Akron put five players in double figures and downed Arkansas 88-80 before 5,902 fans at Bud Walton Arena in a game that is part of the NIT Preseason Tournament.

The Zips (3-0), favored to win the Mid-American Conference’s Eastern Division, hit 13-of-28 3-point attempts on a night when they opened the game with two 3-pointers and led from start to finish.

""There is no way around it," Anderson said. "Not many teams come in here and, first of all, take a win out of here, especially in non-conference play, but let's give Akron some credit. They came in with a game plan and part of that plan was to spread us and move the ball and make shots. And they made shots.

"They had not been shooting it at that clip all year long, but they are capable of doing it. To me, it was like inexperience versus experience. "

Akron shot 50.9 percent (29-of-57) from the field while Arkansas connected on just 38.1 percent (24-of-63) of its shots from the floor  in its first loss to an unranked, non-conference foe in 41 games under Anderson at Arkansas and the first in 55 overall for the program

The last non-conference loss at home was to a ranked Syracuse club back in 2012, but despite a spirted rally late to cut a 13-point lead to four, the Razorbacks could not extend their streak.

"I think that is a team that you are going to see close to the Top 25 when it is all said and done," Anderson said of Akron.

Anthlon Bell had 23 points, Moses Kingsley 17 points and 12 rebounds and Dusty Hannahs 16 points to lead the Razorbacks (1-1), who trailed by as many as 13 points in both halves before cutting it to four points with just over four minutes left.

"I like how our guys battled and I continue to say that we are going to be a work in progress," Anderson said. "I love to see the fight in a guy like Moses Kingsley, but we have just got to get more guys doing that. 

"They have got to fight. Teams are going to be more talented than us so we have got to pool our talents collectively and be hopfeully a team that is going to rely on our defense."

Hannahs was disappointed that Arkansas could not get over the hump.

"It just felt like a couple of times that the crowd got into it and we got it down to two or four - or whatever it was - and then we would have a foul or they would come down and hit a couple of shots," Hannahs said. "I have got to give all due respect to Akron. That's a great team that we just lost to. We should have handled our business on our home court, but that's a good team and they were hitting shots."

Akron head coach Keith Dambot, who was NBA superstar LeBron James' high school coach and has won at least 20 games in the past 10 seasons, walked away impressed with both teams.

"I have a lot of respect for Arkansas and the way they play," Dambot said. "Old-school hardness, toughness and you can see why he (Anderson) has won a lot of games.

"It is kind of interesting in the fact that they have had some adversity and we certainly have and it was two teams out there just scratching and trying to survive with limited numbers. It was a good game."

Akron, labled a mid-major,  now has three wins in the past two seasons over Power 5 schools and had a trio of 6-10 guys as well as height on on the perimeter.

"The one thing I know is that we are big and stong enough to play with the big boys, which most mid-majors aren't," Dambot said. "We are actually probaly more experience then them when you consider we started three seniors...we have more experience than they do really."

"I have looked at the statistics and you don't hear about him as much, but he is one of the best coaches in the country," Dambot said. "And if not for circumstances, right, it probably would have been a little different, right? They had some guys out, guys leaving early for the pros and guys get in trouble. We have been there, too. Nobody is exempt from it."

Arkansas did cut a 10-point lead to 49-47 midway through the second half and had three shots to take the lead and a one-on-one free throw opportunity that could have tied it.

But Jimmy Whitt missed a dunk, Bell and Hannahs both missed three pointers and then Keaton Miles missed his free throw on a night when Arkansas was 18-of-21 in the second half from the charity stripe and 26-of-32 overall.

"We never could get over that hump to put the pressure on them," noted Anderson, whose team lost the board battle just 37-36 to a bigger Akron squad . 

Jackson, who played a whopping 39 minutes,  then reeled off six straight points and Akron built its lead back up to 73-59.

The Razorbacks had one more run left in them as they reeled off a 12-2 spree to cut the lead to 75-71 with 4:03 left when Hannahs scored inside and added a free throw.

But Kwan Cheatham swished a 3-pointer that regained momentum for the Zips and they closed out the win in a game where the Zips jumped out to a 10-2 lead on a trio of 3-pointers.

Isaiah Johnson - a 6-11, 275-pound reserve center - had 15 points and 7 rebounds, Cheatham added 12 points, Jake Kretcher 11 and MAC preseaon player of the year Pat Forsythe 5 points and 9 boards in a foul-plagued night.

"I thought we came out on our heels and their guys made a couple of shots," Anderson said. "I didn't see that intensity, especially defensively."

Arkansas will continue play in the tournament Friday night when it host Charleston Southern at 7 p.m. before traveling to Brooklyn to play Georgia Tech on Thanksgiving Day.

Moses Kingsley battled for 17 points and 12 rebounds on the night

Anthlon Bell injured his ankle in the first half, but returned to score a team-high 23 points.

Arkansas senior point guard Jabril Durham had 5 points, 4 assists and no turnovers in 30 minutes

Manuale Watkins came off of Arkansas' bench to score 10 points

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