Akron wins lone matchup against men’s basketball, 69-63

AKRON, Ohio (AP) Eric Parrish scored 21 points and grabbed nine rebounds and Akron downed Central Michigan 69-63 on Saturday, snapping a four-game skid.

Parrish was 7 of 12 from the field and hit five of his six free throws for the Zips (11-3, 4-8 Mid-American Conference). Daniel Utomi added 20 points and eight rebounds and Jimond Ivey scored 19 points with seven assists.

MAC Men’s Basketball Recap: Central Michigan Chippewas vs. Akron Zips

Parrish hit two 3-pointers and a layup and Utomi drained another 3 in the final three minutes of the first half to give the Zips a 31-27 edge at the break.

Akron led throughout the second half and a 3-pointer by Ivey pushed it to 41-33 with 15:07 to play. Central Michigan’s David DiLeo sank a layup to cut it to 65-63 with 52 seconds left but Parrish made two free throws and a dunk in the final 23 seconds to seal the win.

Kevin McKay scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Chippewas (15-10, 4-8).

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AKRON, Ohio —  Central Michigan, the top free throw shooting team in the MAC and No. 5 in the nation, went cold, and the short-handed Akron Zips capitalized for a 69-63 victory over CMU Saturday afternoon in Rhodes Arena.

CMU entered the game shooting 81.0 percent on free throws, but made just 10-of-21 against the Zips, who countered going 11-for-15. CMU’s top two free throw shooters, both shooting better than 80 percent, were a combined 4-for-10.

Akron also topped CMU on 3-point shooting (33.3 percent vs. 22.7 percent), and the Zips (11-13, 4-8) were able to hold off a late run by CMU (15-10, 4-8).

“That’s as good of a defensive effort we’ve had,” Akron coach John Groce said. “Effort and attitude toward defense was the difference today. It bothered us when we got scored on.” The Chippewas entered the game winning two of their last three, with the lone setback coming vs. No. 1 Buffalo. Overall, three of CMU’s MAC wins this season have been on the road. Akron entered riding a four-game losing streak, the last two setbacks by more than 20 points and the last three by 15 or better.

Both teams were looking to rise higher in the conference standings in order to host a first-round MAC Tournament game. The Zips, playing without starting point guard Virshon Cotton (suspension), gained control late in the first half when Eric Parrish scored eight straight points, allowing Akron to take a 31-27 halftime lead.

Parrish, who finished a career-high 21 points, later hit the game-clinching free throws with 27.2 seconds after a pair of Akron turnovers helped Central close within 65-63 with 51.5 seconds to play.

Parrish was fouled after rebounding a CMU miss in the lane, then aced a pair. Also in double figures for the Zips were Jimond Ivey (19) and Daniel Utomi (20).

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