The setback draws the curtain to the Zips' season with a 26-9 ledger, while the Buckeyes (21-13) advance to host Florida in the NIT's second round.
The Zips were making their sixth appearance in the NIT and the fourth under head coach Keith Dambrot. Akron has made 11 Division I postseason appearances, including the eight of the last nine seasons.
Junior Isaiah Johnson led the Zips' efforts with a team-high 16-point, 12-rebound performance to notch his sixth double-double on the campaign. Joining him . . .
The Buckeyes garnered a trio of 18-point outings from Marc Loving, JaQuan Lyle and Kam Williams. Lyle and Loving also corralled 14 and 13 rebounds, respectively, for Ohio State.
Akron finished the game shooting 32.9 percent from the field, including makes on nine three pointers. The Buckeyes connected at a 34.3-percent clip in the affair. Ohio State made its mark at the free throw line where the Buckeyes made 21 of their 23 attempts, while the Zips were just 8-for-20 at the charity stripe.
Despite double-digit rebounding efforts from Johnson and McAdams, Akron was outrebounded, 57-43, including 39-27 on the defensive glass.
The two sides exchanged opening three pointers, but both teams were hampered by slow shooting starts. The Buckeyes missed their first five shots and made one of their first 10 overall, while Akron started the contest 1-of-8 from the field.
Johnson snapped a nearly six-minute scoring drought (5:39) for the Zips with a pair of free throws at the 13:39 mark to even the game at five.
Sophomore Antino Jackson ended a nearly seven-minute streak (6:51) without a field goal for Akron, snaring a rebound and connecting on a step-back triple at the 12:27 mark to give the Zips an 8-5 lead.
After a lay-up by Loving, senior Jake Kretzer delivered a corner three pointer to extend Akron's lead to 11-7.
The two sides exchanged five of the next six baskets with the Zips holding a 17-16 lead at the second media timeout (7:44).
A pair of free throws from Lyle gave the advantage back to the Buckeyes, 18-17, at the third media timeout (7:00).
A Johnson power lay-up put the Zips ahead, 19-18, at the 5:08 mark.
After an Ohio State lay-up, Johnson delivered a thunderous dunk with 3:38 remaining in the half to ignite a 10-2 Akron run over the next 3:07. Loving ended the run by making one of two free throws with 31.2 seconds left before halftime.
Lyle converted a jumper with four seconds remaining to send Akron into the intermission leading the Buckeyes, 29-25.
The Zips connected on 36.7 percent of their shots in the initial stanza, including making five three pointers. Ohio State shot 31.3 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes.
Johnson and Kretzer paced Akron with six first-half points, while Loving led the Buckeyes with nine points.
Ohio State opened the second half on a 9-4 run to regain the lead, 34-33, following a pair of free throws from Trevor Thompson.
The Zips were in a 36-all tilt at the first media timeout (15:55) despite starting the half 2-of-8 from the field and 0-for-6 beyond the arc.
Kretzer dialed long distance at the 15:33 mark to push Akron back into the lead, 39-38.
A running lay-up by freshman Josh Williams ended a 6-1 Ohio State run and squared the game at 44 before sophomore Jimond Ivey netted a steal and dunk, which gave the Zips a 46-44 lead with 11:22 to play.
The Buckeyes retook the advantage with a 6-0 run to go up 50-46.
A jumper in transition from sophomore Noah Robotham ended the scoring surge for the Buckeyes.
After a Loving basket at the 7:35 mark put Ohio State up 52-48, Jackson intercepted a Daniel Giddens' pass for a steal and found McAdams in the corner for a three pointer. McAdams was fouled on the play and following the media timeout stepped to the charity stripe, where he tied the game at 52 with seven minutes to play.
The Buckeyes went ahead 56-55 on a pair of free throws from Lyle before Jackson delivered a lay-up and McAdams had three stick-back attempts before finally getting the basket to fall to push Akron's margin to 59-56.
Back-to-back baskets from Lyle moved the Buckeyes back in front, 60-59, with 3:07 remaining in regulation.
A McAdams triple from the top of the arc off an assist from Johnson to put the Zips ahead, 62-60, with 2:42 to play.
Lyle again answered with a basket for the Buckeyes to tie the game at 62-62.
Jackson stepped to the line with a one and the bonus free throw attempt but failed to convert on the front-end attempt with 1:21 to play as Loving snared the defensive rebound.
Both teams had opportunities for game-winning shots in regulation but Lyle's jumper with three seconds remaining went out of bounds as time expired to send the contest into overtime.
Loving opened the extra session with a jumper to push Ohio State into a 64-62 lead. Johnson split a pair of free throws to inch the Zips to within one, 64-63.
A steal by Williams resulted in a fast-break lay-up with 2:33 to play to extend the Buckeye's margin to three, 66-63, before Williams again made a lay-up at the 1:34 mark to give Ohio State a 68-63 lead.
The Buckeyes scored the game's final four points to secure the 72-63 victory.
(Courtesy of UA Athletics/MRO Edit)