Photo Cred: Ohio Athletics

Jaaron Simmons Stellar Performance Boosts Ohio over Akron

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Jaaron Simmons filled the role of the Ohio Bobcat MVP with star teammate Antonio Campbell out for the season. Simmons had the game of his life, scoring a career-high 38 points, to match his 10 rebounds and five assists, leading Ohio to an 85-70 upset over Akron in the Convocation Center.

Simmons was solid on all offensive cylinders. He shot 10-of-16 from the field, 5-of-5 from 3-point range and 13-of-16 from the free-throw line, out shooting the Zips from the charity strike who went 11-of-16.  His offensive accuracy helped ice the game in the closing minutes.

Both teams struggled to make baskets in the beginning, combining for only seven points in the first four minutes of play.  Ohio soon jumped out to an early 11-4 lead following a Simmons three.

Akron’s early buckets came from star player Isaiah Johnson who scored 11 in the first two quarters.  The Zips were behind 32-27 at halftime, despite Johnson’s offensive efficiency.

Antino Jackson opened the second half with back-to-back threes, earning Akron a temporary lead which Simmons quickly erased with a layup on the other end.

Down 40-39 with 15:58 left, Johnson gave the Bobcats a boost by recording his fourth foul. Johnson played only nine minutes in the second half, giving Ohio less to worry about defensively.

Akron, previously undefeated in Mid-American Conference play, hurt themselves by committing 30 personal fouls and had three players foul out, including Johnson.

With 2:35 left and Ohio up 68-66, Kenny Kaminski, who was only 0-of-7 from beyond the arc at that point, buried a much-needed triple that put Ohio up five. The Bobcats went on a 14-4 run to end the game.

It was clear this momentum got the best of their opponent when the Zips melted down with two technical fouls with less than 20 seconds in the game.

The Ohio-Akron rivalry was is still very alive, especially with both teams battling for a top spot in the MAC.

“Both teams were playing with a lot of fire out there,” Simmons said. “It’s Ohio versus Akron, what’d you expect?”

With players like Simmons playing at such an elite level, the Bobcats pose a serious threat to teams in and outside the conference.

Ohio (15-7, 6-4) will be home again Tuesday, facing Central Michigan (15-8, 5-5) who is coming off a thrilling 86-82 win over Western Michigan.  Tipoff is at 7:00 p.m.