Akron always finds a way to make it interesting in the MAC Tournament. The 2011 MAC Tournament is no different for the Zips, how marched out to a 26-10 halftime lead before needing a rally - a couple of them, in fact, to beat #3 seed Miami-Ohio 82-75 in 2OT.
The Zips made it look easy in the first half, and actually took a 29-10 lead early in the 2nd half before the RedHawks began their comeback. What will be remembered, however, was Miami's inability to hit free throws - the RedHawks shot just 55% from the free throw line(20-36), including just 2-11 in the overtime sessions.
Guard Brett McClanahan led the Zips with 20 points and 9 rebounds while Brett McKnight added 16 points on 9-13 shooting. Akron shot just 36.5% from the field - 29% from three point range - allowing Miami to hang around and nearly steal a game that had no business being in.
Orlando Williams scored 16 points for Miami while Allen Roberts and Julian Mavunga each scored 14 points. Mavunga was the main culprit at the free throw line, going just 10-19 from the stripe.
After trailing by 19, Miami steadily clawed their way back into the game and actually took a 55-54 lead with 2:47 to go in the game. Akron responded with a three by McKnight, then added another by Brett McClanahan to take a 5-point lead with 1:36 left. Miami once again came back, and trailed 62-60 with :18 seconds left before Akron's McKnight made 1-of-2 free throws to give Miami a chance to tie. Jon Harris took advantage of the opportunity, drilling a deep three with :09 seconds left to force overtime.
The teams traded leads in the first overtime when Miami went cold from the free throw line. Perhaps the most crucial moment came with :39 seconds left and Akron leading by 1. Allen Roberto was fouled on a three-point attempt, and after hitting the first to tie the game at 71, missed the next two. Miami would miss 9 straight free throws to finish the game.
Miami took a brief lead in the second overtime - 75-74 - before Alex Abreu hit a three for the Zips. Akron never trailed again and outscored Miami 11-4 in the final 5 minutes.
Akron doesn't have long to recover. The Zips will face #2 seed Western Michigan tomorrow afternoon with a shot at their 5th straight MAC Finals appearance