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Ohio holds off Akron for 6th straight win

Sears scores 24 points, Carter 19

AKRON – Ben Vander Plas and Ben Roderick hit key shots, and Ohio held off Akron 69-63 on Tuesday night at James A. Rhodes Arena for coach Jeff Boal’s 100th career win.

Mark Sears scored 24 points, and Jason Carter added 19 for the Bobcats (11-2, 2-0 Mid-American Conference) in their sixth straight victory.

"A great road win for our guys coming off the Western Michigan game," Boals said. "Anytime you can win on the road in the MAC is a great win. Great atmosphere. Akron's a very good team and they were down one of their better players. But we always talk about bend but don't break and our guys did that."

Ohio led most of the way and took a 60-50 advantage on a Carter basket with 7:04 remaining, but the Zips (8-4, 1-1 MAC) scored 11 straight points. Ali Ali’s 3-poitner tied the game at 60, and an Enrique Freeman free throw put Akron up 61-60 with 3:02 left before Vander Plas put Ohio back on top with a 3-pointer.

Following two Xavier Castaneda free throws to tie the game again, Roderick moved the Bobcats back in front for good. Sears iced the game by scoring with 24 seconds left, and Carter added a fast break dunk.

"I thought we made the plays when we needed to," Boals said. "Our guys were very poised. The last four-minute war we talked about finishing and, you know, Ben Vander Plas had a huge 3, and what can you say about Mark Sears? I mean, just another phenomenal performance by him."

The Zips missed their final seven shots.

Ali led Akron with 22 points, while Mikal Dawson added 14 points and Castaneda 13 points.

Ohio scored the game’s first seven points and held the lead throughout the whole first half. It went up 33-20 on a Carter jumper, but an Ali 3-pointer to beat the buzzer made it a 10-point game at halftime.

The Bobcats’ biggest lead was 47-33 on a 3-pointer by Roderick with 15 minutes left and then again at 53-39 on a Tommy Schmock layup with 11:07 to go.

Sears had eight rebounds and five assists and was 8 of 14 from the field and 6 of 6 at the foul line. Ben Vander Plas finished with 11 points, six rebounds and four assists.

Ohio hosts Kent State at 6:30 p.m. Friday on CBS Sports Network.

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