Nikola Cvetinovic became the 39th player in Akron basketball history to score 1,000 career points, but his 17 points on the night were not enough as the Zips fell 82-70 to Buffalo on Wednesday.
Cvetinovic tied Quincy Diggs for the team lead, closing the game shooting 6-of-9 from the field, 4-of-4 from the line and added eight boards. Diggs was 6-of-12 from the field. Zeke Marshall was the only other player for Akron (11-7, 3-1 MAC) in double figures with 13 points.
Both teams struggled with ball control, combining for 34 turnovers. The Zips shot 43.8 percent from the floor (28-of-64) and had 15 assists to 18 turnovers. The Bulls held a slim 37-36 advantage on the boards.
Zach Filzen led all scorers with 21 points for Buffalo (9-6, 2-2 MAC).
Akron opened the second half on the offensive, opening the half on an 11-3 run to cut the Buffalo lead to 43-41 with 15:58 left in the game. The Bulls would answer, pushing their advantage back to 10 points (55-45) by the 11:52 mark.
The Buffalo lead grew to 14 points (61-47) with 9:12 to go in the contest before Akron rattled off nine-straight points to cut the advantage to 61-56 with 7:52 left. Heading into the final media timeout (3:34), the Akron deficit would be four points (69-65).
Akron would cut the lead to three points (72-69) with 1:35 left in the game but Filzen's 3-pointer with 1:15 on the clock would give Buffalo a six-point lead (75-69) that the Zips would not overcome.
Both teams opened the game shooting well from long range, making a combined 4-of-5 early on (2-of-3 for the Zips). The score remained tied (10-10) at the 15:11 mark of the half. From there, the squads would go bucket-for-bucket as neither team could gain an advantage of more than two points.
At the 9:00 minute mark, Cvetinovic became the 39th player in Akron history to score 1,000 career points on a lay-up in the paint.
As halftime neared, the Bulls were able to open up a five-point advantage on several occasions, but the Zips answered every time with a bucket of their own. Buffalo pushed its advantage to 39-30 with 51.7 seconds left in the half before taking a 40-32 advantage into the locker room.
Cvetinovic led all players with 11 points, going 3-of-4 from the field and 4-of-4 from the charity stripe. Diggs pitched in with 10 points on 4-of-7 shooting.
Despite both teams shooting the ball well in the opening frame, the Zips and Bulls combined for 20 turnovers (10 each).
Akron returns home on Saturday, Jan. 21, to play host to neighborhood rival Kent State at Rhodes Arena as part of the PNC Wagon Wheel Challenge.