Saint Mary’s had a little midnight madness this morning, beating Akron 85-63 in a game that tipped off at midnight as part of ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon to start the 2013-14 season.
The Gaels (2-0) pulled away from the Zips in the second half after leading by seven at intermission. It was the first meeting between the teams since 1973 and Saint Mary’s improved to 84-20 over the last seven seasons in non-conference play. Akron (1-1) came in having won 23 of its last 26.
In the first half both teams battled early. The Gaels had a one-point lead 10-9 with 16:07 left in the half. With 5:11 to play, St. Mary’s build the lead to 27-19.
Akron went on a 9-0 run to take the lead 28-27 with 2:56 left. The Gaels answered with a 9-0 run of their own and were back up by eight 36-28.
Brad Waldow hit a tip-in layup at the first half buzzer sending the Zips to the locker room down 38-31.
Statistically, in the first half, both teams went 10-for-26 (38 percent) from the floor. The Gaels were better from behind the arc, shooting 4-for-11, while the Zips went 1-for-6.
For the Gaels, James Walker led the way in the first half with 11. Waldow and Beau Levesque both had nine first-half points.
For the Zips, Pat Forsythe and Demetrius Treadwell both had six. Quincy Diggs had five.
In the second half, Akron came out of the locker room strong, cutting the Gaels lead to four 39-35 with 17:07 to play.
The Gaels and Zips battled back and forth with the Zips applying full court pressure forcing the Gaels to step up their play. With 13:21 remaining, Akron got as close as they would get, down just three at 45-42. The rest of the night was all Gaels.
For the night, Saint Mary’s went 24-for-47 (51 percent) from the floor. They were 5-for-12 from 3-point land. The Zips went 21-for-57 (36.8 percent) from the floor and were just 2-for-15 (13.3 percent) from 3.
For Saint Mary’s, four players hit double digits. Waldow had 16. Walker had 15. Stephen Holt had 14 and Jordan Giusti had 12.
For the Zips, Treadwell led the team with 17. Johnson had 13.
The Gaels move to 2-0 and the Zips drop to 1-1.
Saint Mary’s hosts North Dakota State (1-0) on Thursday night at a more conventional 8:30 p.m. start time.