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The Journal Gazette

  • Elizabeth Wyman | The Journal Gazette John Konchar drives on Akron's Jimond Ivey during a game on Wednesday at Memorial Coliseum.

  • Elizabeth Wyman | The Journal Gazette Matt Holba completes the no-look pass in a game against Akron on Wednesday at Memorial Coliseum.

Wednesday, December 05, 2018 11:30 pm

PFW holds off Akron

ELIZABETH WYMAN | The Journal Gazette

Purdue Fort Wayne withstood a 16-0 run and overcame a 20-turnover game to defeat Akron 68-65 at Memorial Coliseum on Wednesday night.

PFW (6-6) had arguably it's best start to a game all season. The Mastodons jumped out to a 17-5 lead with 11:59 left in the first half. The visibly frustrated Zips struggled shooting, going 2 of 13.

Kason Harrell notched his 1,000 career point on a free throw early in the first quarter.

The Mastodons defense, which struggled last time out in a loss to UMKC, flustered the high-powered Akron (6-3) offense. Quick rotations paired with a lowly first-half shooting percentage of 30.3 percent put the Zips behind.

Jared Godfrey got the start for the Mastodons over Marcus DeBerry and had a nifty up and under move to make it 24-13 with just under eight minutes to play in the half.

Dee Montgomery continues to shine off the bench for PFW. The 6-foot guard had a monster block and steal on Akron's 6-foot-9 Jaden Sayles.

PFW utilized the fast break for eight points in the first half. John Konchar had a crowd-erupting put back slam after Montgomery missed the layup to make it 40-22 with under a minute left in the half. The Mastodons sat on a 45-20 halftime lead, but it wouldn't last.

A 16-0 Akron run coupled with an over five-minute scoring drought and 11 second half turnovers by PFW got the Zips back in the game. Akron's Daniel Utomi scored 13 of his 23 points in the second half.

Akron switched to a 1-3-1 defense completely taking PFW out of its rhythm.

Konchar, who became PFW's all-time leading rebounder in the win, picked up his fourth foul with 8:31 to play and sat for a big portion of Akron's comeback.

Harrell missed two free throws with a PFW leading 66-65 and 20 seconds to play. Swarming, disciplined defense by the Mastodons led to a pair of clutch Konchar free throws and PFW halted Akron's comeback bid.