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.