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Ohio goes cold late as Akron rallies for 74-67 win

Bobcats give up 14-point lead in 2nd half

AKRON – Ohio ran out of gas late, and Akron rallied for a 74-67 victory Tuesday night to clinch the Mid-American Conference regular season title at James R. Rhodes Arena.

The Bobcats led 61-47 with 14:19 remaining on a Miles Brown free throw, but they went ice cold the rest of the way, getting outscored 27-6.

Greg Tribble’s dunk with 4:53 remaining gave Akron (23-7, 13-4 MAC) the lead, and the Zips did not give it up, even with the MAC’s second-leading scorer Loren Cristian Jackson fouling out with 9:30 left in the game.

"It was kind of like game one, but reversed," Ohio coach Jeff Boals said. "They dominated the first half at our place and we dominated in the second half."

Jason Preston led the Bobcats (15-15, 7-10 MAC) with 19 points, eight assists and five rebounds, while Sylvester Ogbonda had 15 points and seven boards. Ben Vander Plas added 12 points and six rebounds.

Xeyrius Williams paced the Zips with 20 points and eight rebounds. Tyler Cheese had 17 points and seven assists, and Jackson scored 13 points.

After shooting 63.3% in the first half, Ohio made just 21.7% (5 of 23) of its shots in the second half.

"We knew they were going to up their pressure," Boals said. "I don't think it's anything they did differently, except deny out entries. When that happens, you have to be a little bit stronger and a little tougher to get open with your passes and meeting your passes."

Ohio played without Jordan Dartis because of an ankle injury suffered in practice two days earlier. He is expected to return for the finale at Miami on Friday.

The Bobcats take on the RedHawks at 7 p.m. Friday at Millet Hall.

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