Updated Mon, Jan 13, 2014 10:39 am
It comes as no surprise when Akron and Ohio go down to the wire, and that is exactly what happened Sunday night in the Convo when Akron escaped with a thrilling 83-80 double-overtime thriller.
With 0:13 remaining in the game and Akron leading 83-80, Akron point guard Nyles Evans went to the line with the chance to seal the game for Akron. He missed both free throws, however, giving Ohio one last chance to tie the game.
Nick Kellogg fired a 3-pointer that did not go in, but Jon Smith corralled the miss and kicked it back out to Kellogg for another chance. Kellogg short armed his last attempt, sealing Akron’s win. Kellogg had 19 points in the game.
“We have to give them credit,” Kellogg said after the game. “They made some big time plays going down the stretch.”
For the second straight game, Ohio got off to slow start on the offensive end. The Bobcats only shot 8-of 26 from the field. They also settled for 3-pointers too often, going only 3-of-11 from 3-point range.
Once again Ohio played great first half defense, holding Akron to 8-of-24 from the field. The Bobcat big men also handled the length of the Zips’ big men well in the first half. They stayed straight up and forced the Zips to shoot over them. Jon Smith did a great job of contesting shots, finishing the game with eight blocks to go along with his five points and seven rebounds.
It looked as though Akron was pulling away when the Zips led 13-8. Travis Wilkins came off the bench and provided Ohio with a spark by hitting a 3-pointer to close the gap to 13-11. Then on the next possession, Wilkins drained another 3-pointer from the corner while he was fouled. He converted the free throw and gave Ohio the 15-13 lead.
Ohio could not hold onto the lead for the remainder of the half, though, as Jake Kretzer nailed a 3-point attempt just before halftime to give Akron the 26-25 lead.
Things opened up for both teams in the second half, as both the Bobcats and the Zips made concerted efforts to go inside and attack the basket. Akron went to Pat Forsythe on the block on multiple possessions. The forward hurt Ohio by finishing a bevy of jump hooks. Forsythe finished with 11 points.
Ohio looked to Maurice Ndour, who did not disappoint. The forward responded by scoring 21 points in the second half and both overtime periods to give 25 for the game. He also had six rebounds to his credit.
It looked like Ohio was going to run away with the game in the second half when it went on a 16-4 run to take a 49-41 lead. Akron responded, however, and fought its way back into the game.
With a little over two minutes remaining, Quincy Diggs made two free throws to tie the game at 58. Diggs had 20 on the night. Kellogg found Ndour for a dunk to give Ohio the two-point lead.
Nick Harney then tied the game at 60 with 0:55 left.
At the end of regulation, Kellogg stepped on the baseline and gave the ball back to Akron with the game tied at 60. The ball was stolen from Diggs, and Stevie Taylor raced down court for a last second layup attempt. His shot was blocked and the game headed into overtime.
The two teams traded baskets in the first overtime period. With Ohio leading 68-63 with 0:56 left in the period, Jake Kretzer drained a contested 3-pointer to cut the lead, 68-66.
“I give them full credit because those weren’t easy shots,” Ohio head coach Jim Christian said.
Christian, however, was not pleased that Akron got multiple 3-pointers in transition.
Then Diggs had made two free throws to cut Ohio’s lead to one point, Kellogg split a pair of free throws, keeping Akron alive.
Diggs then hit a pull-up jump shot to tie the game at 71 and send it into double overtime.
Ohio will look to regroup on Wednesday when it takes on Ball State (3-10) at home.