Oxford, OH (WOIO) - A late rally on the road by the Zips would fall short as Akron dropped a 65-61 decision to Miami (Ohio) on Wednesday in Akron's final Mid-American Conference road game of the season.
Down as many as 13 in the second half, the Zips would rally to close the gap to one point with 1:03 left. However, Akron (17-11, 9-6 MAC) would not be able to convert on its final two possessions.
Will Felder and Will Sullivan led Miami (Ohio) (11-15, 7-8 MAC) with 16 points each.
After Miami took a 43-30 lead with 13:46 to go, the Zips would score on their next three possessions. A Pat Forsythe bucket at the 11:48 mark forced the RedHawks to call timeout. Ibitayo would hit a 3-pointer the next trip down the court to cut the deficit to 45-39.
The Zips kept chipping away at the deficit before Kwan Cheatham, Jr., hit two free throws to tie the game at 53-all with 5:50 to go.
After Miami pushed its lead back to five points, the Zips rallied once again. A Quincy Diggs jumper made it a one-point game (62-61) with 1:03 remaining. After Miami's Sullivan missed the front end of a 1-and-1, the Zips got the rebound and called a timeout with 16.1 left.
Diggs would drive to the rim, but have his shot blocked to force the Zips into fouling. Sullivan would go back to the line and make 1-of-2 to make it a 63-61 game with 1.8 on the clock. After both teams called their final timeouts, the Zips' half-court pass would be stolen. Miami would hit two free throws to win it 65-61.
Miami scored the first bucket of the game just four seconds in, but the Zips would take over the scoring from there. Akron would go on an 11-1 run to take an 11-3 lead with 12:40 left in the first half.
The RedHawks responded with a run of their own, taking a 15-14 lead by the 7:13 mark. Miami would lead 21-16 heading into the final media timeout (2:37) and take a 27-20 advantage into the locker room.
Isaiah Johnson and Ibitayo led the Zips with six points each in the first 20 minutes. Johnson finished with four boards and three blocked shots.
The Zips return home to open a three-game homestand on Saturday, March 1, when they play host to Bowling Green. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. ET.