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Hunter helps Bobcats knock off 1st-place Zips

Ohio moves into 3rd place in MAC

ATHENS – Jaylin Hunter scored 23 points, including all of them during a game-tying 10-0 run, and made the go-ahead free throws as Ohio knocked off first-place Akron 74-67 on Tuesday night at the Convo.

Down 50-40 with 12 minutes left, Hunter got the Bobcats (16-12, 10-5 MAC) going with a layup, a three-point play, a jumper and then a 3-pointer that tied the score with 9:47 left.

From there, the game was tight. Akron (20-8, 12-3 MAC) led 60-59 on an Enrique Freeman dunk with 4:55 left, but Aidan Hadaway answered with one of her own and then added a layup to make it 63-60. AJ Clayton threw down a fast-break alley-oop dunk from Hunter to push the lead to five with 3:34 left.

Ali Ali came back with the next six points, starting with two free throws. He added a pair of jumpers in the paint, moving the Zips back in front 66-65 with 2:15 left. Hunter’s foul shots with 1:47 to go moved the Bobcats back in front for good.

After an Akron turnover, Miles Brown made two free throws with 1:04 left. Ali split two free throws with 34 seconds to go, and Shareef Mitchell made it a two-possession game by making two foul shots. Mitchell came up with a steal and made two more free throws, and Hadaway added another from the line to wrap up the big win.

Clayton finished with 18 points for the Bobcats, while Hadaway and Mitchell scored 10 points each. Brown scored nine points with four rebounds and four assists.

Ali paced the Zips with 16 points. Greg Tribble had 14 points. Freeman was held well below his season averages with 13 points and seven rebounds.

Ohio got off to a good start, going up 13-6, but Akron scored seven straight points to tie the game. The Zips later had a 6-0 run to go up 32-27, and they led 35-29 at halftime.

Leading 39-36, the Zips got a Tribble 3-pointer and two Freeman free throws to go up by eight. The advantage reached 10 on a Mikal Dawson basket with 12:52 left.

The Zips shot slightly better from the field, 47.3% to 45.5%, but the Bobcats going 17-of-20 at the foul line made the difference. They also forced 12 turnovers and committed only six.

With its third straight MAC win and its seventh in the last eight games, Ohio moved into a third-place tie with Central Michigan, two games behind Akron and one behind Toledo.

The Bobcats wrap up their home schedule by hosting Bowling Green at 6 p.m. Friday at The Convo on CBS Sports Network.

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