BUFFALO, NY (WOIO) -
Two late turnovers and two missed 3-pointers proved costly as the Akron Zips dropped a 67-62 road decision at Buffalo on Tuesday night at Alumni Arena.
With the game tied at 56-all with 1:58 to go, Akron would miss two 3-pointers and turned the ball over twice in a four-possession stretch to drop its fourth-straight game, all by five points or less.
Pat Forsythe led the way for Akron (17-11, 8-7 MAC) with 19 points to go with eight rebounds, one blocked shot and one assist. Deji Ibitayo pitched in with 16 points while Antino Jackson added 10 points, two assists and two steals.
The Zips finished the game shooting 43.1 percent from the field (25-of-58), but connected on just 26.3 percent from behind the arc (5-of-19). Buffalo shot just 33.3 percent from the floor (21-of-63) and 23.1 percent from long range (3-of-13). The Bulls were 22-of-32 at the line while the Zips finished 7-of-10.
Justin Moss led Buffalo (18-9, 9-6 MAC) with a game-high 25 points.
The Zips got off to a strong start, scoring 12 points in the paint to take a 12-10 advantage into the first media timeout (14:51). Forsythe led the charge with six points and four boards during the stretch. Akron would score the next six points to take an 18-10 lead (12:40).
Buffalo responded with an 8-0 run to tie the game at 18-all, forcing Akron to call its first timeout of the game with 10:18 to go in the opening half. The Bulls would take a 20-18 lead on their next possession before Forsythe ended the run.
The Bulls would open a 27-22 with 5:29 left in the half, but Ibitayo would be fouled on a 3-point attempt. He would sink all three freebies to make it 27-25 with 5:00 to go before the intermission.
Ibitayo's 3-pointer with 20 seconds left in the half would send the Zips into the locker room with a 34-33 lead.
The Zips opened the second half on a 6-0 run, sparked by Antino Jackson and Forsythe, to take a 40-33 lead less than two minutes into the second half.
The Bulls answered with a 7-0 run to tie the game at 40-all with 15:00 to go. B.J. Gladden would end the run with his first points of the game on Akron's next possession.
Kwan Cheatham, Jr., would give Akron a 47-42 lead with his second 3-pointer of the game before Buffalo answered and trimmed the lead to one (47-46) by the 8:52 mark. Ibitayo would give the Zips a three-point advantage heading into the under-8 media timeout.
With the game tied at 49-all, Shannon Evans gave the Bulls a two-point lead with 5:21 on the clock, but Isaiah Johnson would answer in the pain on the Zips next trip down the floor.
An Antino Jackson 3-pointer and a Forsythe layup would give the Zips a three-point advantage (56-53) with less than four minutes to play. The Bulls chipped away at the lead and would tie it at 56-all with 1:47 to go. Akron would call a timeout to set up the offense.
On a missed 3-pointer by Cheatham, the Zips appeared to have the ball after it went out-of-bounds. However, after an official review, the ball was given to Buffalo. Moss would score on the following play.
After an Akron turnover, Moss would hit two free throws to give the Bulls a 60-56 lead with 48 seconds on the clock. Jake Kretzer would get an open look, only to have his 3-pointer roll out. Xavier Ford would get the board and put the Bulls up six at the line.
Akron followed with a costly turnover on the inbounds play following the free throws, forcing the Zips to foul. Forsythe would get a late bucket after two Buffalo free throws, making it a six-point game (64-58) with 17 seconds left. Two late buckets by the Zips and three free throws by the Bulls would push the final score to 67-62.
The Zips return home for Senior Night on Friday, Feb. 27, when they play host to the Ohio Bobcats. Tip off is set for 8 p.m. ET and the game will air live on ESPNU. Akron will honor seniors Deji Ibityao and Nyles Evans prior to the contest.