One day after picking up a win in front of President Barack Obama, Akron ran out of gas against No. 14 Iowa State.
Reggie McAdams had 13 points, but the Zips struggled to score in the second half of an 83-60 loss to the Cyclones in the semifinals of the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii.
“We tired, and then mentally we didn’t handle adversity very well,” Akron coach Keith Dambrot said. “You know, we kind of just died on the vine.”
The Zips shot 40 percent in the second half, going 5 for 18 from 3-point range. It did not attempt a free throw after the break.
Quincy Diggs had 12 points for Akron (6-3), which had won five in a row. The Zips were outrebounded 40-30.
It was a far different look for a team that was visibly pumped in a win over Oregon State on Sunday, with the first family in the stands to root on Michelle Obama’s brother, Beavers coach Craig Robinson.
Georges Niang scored 22 points for Iowa State, and Melvin Ejim had 21 points and 12 rebounds.
“Today was a big game,” Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg said.
Iowa State improved to 10-0 for the second time in school history, joining the 1996-97 team that made it all the way to the Sweet 16. The Cyclones will play South Carolina or Boise State on Wednesday night for the tournament title.
Dustin Hogue scored 18 points for Iowa State, and DeAndre Kane added 15 points and 11 boards.
Iowa State erased an early eight-point deficit with a 17-3 run. Niang hit a 3-pointer right before the buzzer to make it 37-31 at halftime.
Niang said his team realized during that run what it needed to do to get the lead.
“We got a lot of stops on the defensive end, I think that helped us in transition to get easy buckets,” Niang said.
Iowa State scored 46 points and shot just over 55 percent in the second half, mostly on layups and dunks. The Cyclones finished with 42 points in the paint.
“We did such a good job going after the second shot,” Hoiberg said. “As we told our guys, the game begins after we shoot that first one we need to get after those long rebounds.”
With eight minutes left, Kane found Ejim under the basket for a dunk that gave the Cyclones a 70-50 lead.
“We got all the loose balls in the second half,” Hoiberg said. “I thought that they got the majority of the 50-50 balls in the first half, but once we did that we outrebounded that team by 10, which was big.”
The Zips were 11 for 35 from long range and 1 for 6 at the line for the game.
Niang was 7 for 11 from the field and 4 for 4 at the line in his fourth consecutive game with at least 20 points.
Niang said chemistry has played a key role in the fast start, with teammates getting each other involved on offense and backing each other up on defense.
“That’s huge of us and if we keep doing that, the sky is the limit,” he said.