The Bobcats handed the Zips their . . .
Simmons put on a performance to remember in front of the Bobcat faithful, going 10-of-16 from the floor, a career-best 5-of-5 from three-point range and 13-of-16 from the free throw line. He notched 25 of his 38 points in the second half. His 10 made field goals and 13 made free throws matched career highs.
"I feel in the zone every game, really," said Simmons of his big performance. "The shot might not go in every game, but in the zone means doing something to help my team win. If I can do something to help my team win, then I'm in the zone."
Thanks in large part to Simmons, Ohio put together a strong offensive showing, shooting 47.9 percent (23-of-48) from the field -- including 40.9 percent (9-of-22) from three-point range. The Bobcats also converted 78.9 percent (30-of-38) of their free throw attempts, with their 30 makes marking a season high.
Freshman forward Jason Carter finished in double figures for the fifth time in the last seven games, tallying 11 points off of a 3-of-6 performance from the field and a 5-of-8 effort from the charity stripe. He also logged three rebounds, an assist and a steal in 20 minutes of work.
Sophomore guard Jordan Dartis sank two treys and made all four of his free throw attempts en route to 10 points. He has finished in double figures in each of the last 11 games. He also recorded a block in 37 minutes of action.
Sophomore guard/forward Gavin Block gave Ohio a solid effort with nine points, four rebounds and two assists in 28 minutes.
Redshirt senior forward Kenny Kaminski logged nine points, three rebounds and an assist over 33 minutes.
Ohio used a 13-point first-half output by Simmons to take a 32-27 lead into halftime over Akron. The Bobcats never trailed in the first 20 minutes of play and led the Zips at the break for the first time since the 2014 MAC Tournament Quarterfinal on March 13, 2014.
Akron took its first lead of the game less than two minutes into the second half when junior guard Antino Jackson knocked down a triple. A trey by Block tied the score at 42-all for Ohio with just over 14 minutes to go, but a pair of three-pointers by sophomore guards Jimond Ivey and Josh Williams on the Zips' next two possessions gave Akron its largest lead of the game with 13:15 to play.
A 10-3 run highlighted by a dunk by Carter and capped by a layup by sophomore forward Doug Taylor gave the Bobcats a 52-51 edge with just under 11 minutes left. Akron fought back again, though, taking a five-point lead at 63-58 with seven minutes remaining on the clock after another three by Williams and a layup by redshirt freshman forward Emmanuel Olojakpoke.
The Bobcats answered the Zips challenge, with Simmons hitting his fifth and final trey and Taylor sinking a pair of free throws to tie it up at 63-all with 5:30 showing on the clock. Dartis provided Ohio with a lead it never relinquished again by draining a triple a minute later. Simmons gave the Bobcats 16 points over the final 3:04 of regulation and accounted for Ohio's final 10 points.
Senior center Isaiah Johnson led Akron with a team-high 18 points and five rebounds. He also had a block in his 21 minutes of work before fouling out with 12 seconds left after receiving his second technical foul.
Jackson contributed 14 points for the Zips over 29 minutes. He also added five rebounds and a team-high five assists.
Senior forward Kwan Cheatham, Jr. compiled nine points and a game-high 13 rebounds for Akron, but Ohio held him to just 3-of-18 from the field and 1-of-10 from beyond the arc. He also logged an assist, a block and a steal in 34 minutes.
Williams tallied nine points off of three made triples for the Zips. He also collected two rebounds in 22 minutes of work off the bench.
"We took them out of scoring in ways they normally score to the best of our ability," said third-year head coach Saul Phillips.
Ohio welcomes MAC West Division foe Central Michigan (15-8, 5-5 MAC) to the Convo next Tuesday (Feb. 7) for a 7 p.m. ET matchup.
Akron hosts Ball State Tuesday (6 p.m. ET).
(Courtesy of Ohio Athletics)