It was a tough night shooting for both teams as Akron (6-4) shot 29.8 percent from the floor (17-of-57) and 26.3 percent from long range (5-of-19).
North Dakota State (6-4) shot 33.3 percent from the floor (17-of-51) and 28.6 percent from long range (4-of-14).
Deji Ibitayo led the Zips with 10 points while Noah Robotham chipped in with eight points. Kwan Cheatham, Jr., tied his career high with 11 rebounds (six offensive).
NDSU's Lawrence Alexander led all players with 22 points.
By the under-8 media timeout, NDSU’s lead would stand at 12-7 as both teams combined to shoot 7-of-32 from the field over the first 12:26 of the game.
The Bison’s lead hit 18-11 before Jake Kretzer and Robotham hit back-to-back 3-pointers to trim the lead to one (18-17) with 3:19 remaining in the half. The Bison then tallied four of the next six points to take a 22-19 lead into the locker room.
North Dakota State’s lead grew to as many as seven points to open the second half, but the Zips answered each time. However, NDSU pushed its advantage to 10 (37-27) coming out of the under-12 media timeout (11:02).
Robotham started an 8-2 run with a 3-pointer with 6:54 to go. Nyles Evans followed with a 3-pointer of his own two possessions later, while Ibitayo hit two freebies to cut the deficit to 42-38 with 5:42 on the clock.
Ibitayo extended the run to 10-2 with a floater and the Zips trailed by just two (42-40) with just under five minutes remaining. Evans made it a one-point game on the Zips' next possession (43-42) with 3:26 to go.
After both teams traded points on the following two possessions, the Zips’ comeback fell short as NDSU would score the next eight points. Akron dropped its' second-straight game, falling 55-46.
The Zips return to Akron to open a four-game home stand when they play host to Bluffton on Saturday. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. ET.
NOTES: The contest between NDSU and the Zips was the return trip for Akron from the 2013 Ramada Worldwide BracketBusters game ... Akron won that game, 68-53, on Feb. 22, 2013 ... It was just the second time this season that the Zips committed more turnovers than their opponent (11-8).
(Courtesy of Akron Athletics/MRO Edit)