AKRON, Ohio – Reggie McAdams scored a career-high 31 points and Nyles Evans hit a late 3-pointer to push Akron past Central Michigan, 82-76, in a Mid-American Conference cross-divisional match-up on Saturday night at James A. Rhodes Arena.
With one minute to play in the game, Akron (12-5, 3-1 MAC) led by three points before CMU's Chris Fowler cut the deficit to one at the free throw line. However, Deji Ibitayo found Evans wide open for a 3-pointer on Akron's next possession to extend the Zips' lead to 76-72 with 39 seconds remaining.
The Zips then iced the game at the line, converting their final six attempts to down the Chippewas for the eighth-straight time and 15th win in the last 16 series meetings.
McAdams led the Zips with a career-high 31 points to go with six rebounds. He became the first Akron player since the 2006-07 season to score 30 points in a game. McAdams ended the night 10-of-13 from the field, 6-of-9 from behind the arc and 5-of-6 at the line.
Noah Robotham added 12 points to go with four assists and three rebounds, while Evans and Isaiah Johnson pitched in with six points each.
Chris Fowler scored 26 points for Central Michigan (12-3, 2-2 MAC) to go along with five assists and two steals. Braylon Rayson was also in double figures with 14 markers.
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Akron opened up the game with two turnovers and four missed shots but quickly followed with an 8-0 run courtesy of a Robotham 3-pointer, a lay-up by Pat Forsythe and a three point play by Kwan Cheatham, Jr. The run would give the Zips an 8-2 lead at the 14:47 mark of the first half.
CMU entered the game shooting 50.6 percent from the field – fifth nationally – but hit just 1-of-11 from the field over the first 10-plus minutes to open the game.
The Zips hit back-to-back-to-back 3-pointers by Jake Kretzer and Robotham to go on a 9-3 scoring run to extend their first half lead to 28-15 with 4:29 to go in the half.
McAdams scored 11-straight Akron points in the final 2:30 of the first half to give the Zips a 39-24 lead going into halftime.
Akron and CMU would come out of halftime exchanging baskets. CMU hit two 3-pointers and Akron answered with three of its own from beyond the arc to keep its lead, 50-36, at the 12:55 mark.
CMU and Akron continued exchanging baskets late into the second half. McAdams hit his sixth 3-pointer of the game, and Forsythe made a lay-up to give the Zips a 13-point lead (71-58) with 3:41 left to play.
Akron led by as many as 14 in the second half before CMU cut the lead to one, setting up Evans' dramatic 3-pointer.
The Zips hit the road for a two-game road trip, beginning with a matchup against the Northern Illinois Huskies on Wednesday, Jan. 21. Tip off is set for 8 p.m. ET. Central Michigan hosts Buffalo (7 p.m. ET).
(Courtesy of Akron Athletics)