Akron (3-2), leading by 13 at halftime, could not overcome a 16-0 run by Penn State (5-1) to open the second half.
Noah Robotham led the Zips with 18 points, while Deji Ibitayo scored a career-high 17 points. Pat Forsythe added 12 points and nine rebounds.
Akron closed the game shooting 38.7 percent from the floor (24-of-62) and 34.8 percent from long range (8-of-23). The Zips hit 94.1 percent at the line (16-of-17).
Penn State held a 38-33 advantage on the boards and shot 44.6 percent for the game (25-of-56). D.J. Newbill led all scorers with 29 points.
An Ibitayo free throw following the under-12 media timeout pushed Akron's lead to 23-12 with 11:03 on the first-half clock. Nyles Evans’ layup forced PSU into a second timeout as the Akron lead would grow to 32-18 with 6:29 left in the half.
A 3-pointer by Penn State closed gap to 34-26 with 4:17 to go in the half, but a Kwan Cheatham, Jr., fade away ended the run. The Akron lead would be 13 at the half (45-32).
Ibitayo led the Zips with 10 points while Reggie McAdams finished with nine points in the half.
Penn State opened the second half on a 16-0 run to take a 48-45 lead with 13:55 to go. The Zips would answer with a 7-0 run to regain the lead at 52-48 with 12:50 left in the game.
A 10-2 run by the Nittany Lions would force the Zips to call a timeout with 8:26 to go with Akron trailing 58-54.
The Nittany Lion lead would grow to seven before the Zips began chipping away at the advantage. Robotham hit two free throws to cut the lead to 64-62 with 4:30 to go, but buckets on three-straight possessions gave Penn State a 70-62 lead with 3:09 remaining.
With PSU leading by eight and under a minute to go, Robotham scored on a lay-up before the Akron defense forced a turnover. Ibitayo would make a 3-pointer to cut the Nittany Lion lead to 73-70 with 46 seconds to go.
After Newbill went 1-of-2 at the line, Robotham scored off the miss to cut the lead to 74-72 with 16.0, but the Zips would not be able to overcome the deficit. Penn State would go on to win, 78-72.
The Zips return home to open a four-game homestand on Sunday, Nov. 30, when they play host to Bryant. Tipoff is set for 5 p.m. ET at James A. Rhodes Arena.
(Courtesy of Akron Athletics/MRO Edit)