Akron extended its winning streak to five games while improving to 18-4 overall and 7-2 in Mid-American Conference play. The Bobcats fell to 13-8 overall and 4-5 in league play.
Williams led the Zips with a career-high 20 points on a 7-of-8 effort from the field and 4-of-5 from downtown, along with three steals and three rebounds. The freshman guard . . .
Meanwhile, Johnson was too much for the Bobcats to handle in the painted area. The UA center nearly notched a double-double with 18 points and nine rebounds while connecting with 8-of-13 shots.
Sophomore guard Noah Robotham also recorded double figures. He registered 14 points while knocking down 11-of-12 free throws, including eight-straight to finish the game.
The Zips shot 42.2 percent as a team on 27-of-64 from the floor and 32.1 percent from deep, draining 9-of-28 from long distance. Akron shot 81-percent from the charity stripe, knocking down 17-of-21 bonus buckets.
The Bobcats held a slight 40-38 edge on the glass while the Zips defense caused 13 turnovers with nine steals, leading to 17 points. Akron added four blocked shots, three from junior Kwan Cheatham, Jr.
UA defensive pressure limited Ohio to shooting just 6-of-20 from beyond the 3-point arc (.300). The Bobcats went 25-of-57 from the floor and 12-of-21 from the charity stripe. Ohio was led by Jaaron Simmons (18 pts.), Treg Setty (17 pts.), and Antonio Campbell (12 pts.).
The game started slow as both teams had trouble finding the bottom of the net. The Bobcats started the scoring at the 17:13 mark when Setty hit a shot while streaking through the lane. On the ensuing possession, Williams got the Zips on the scoreboard with a 3-pointer from the left wing.
Ohio answered with an old-fashioned 3-point play by Campbell, and the game was tied 5-5 at the first media timeout, 15:40.
After the break, Ohio split a pair of free throws. However, the Zips used a 9-1 run to gain separation on the scoreboard. Johnson gave UA the advantage with a strong post move and followed with a bucket in the paint, giving the Zips a three point advantage, 9-6. Senior wing Reggie McAdams kept the run alive with a long distance shot, while Williams finished the run with a layup off the window.
After four quick Bobcat points, Akron went to Johnson in the post on two consecutive possessions; however, Ohio still managed to cut the deficit to three points, 18-15.
Cheatham increased the Zips' lead, connecting from long distance, and Johnson added another high-percentage shot. Robotham and Williams drained triples, and the Zips carried a 36-29 advantage into the locker room.
After the break, Ohio cut the Zips' lead to one point, 42-41, by the 16:16 mark. Johnson and Williams added a two and a three, while senior Jake Kretzer cut loose a 3-pointer from the corner. Williams followed with a triple, and Akron led 52-45 at the 12:04 mark.
Again, Ohio battled back, bringing the game within three points after a pair of free throws from Campbell, 59-56. Johnson responded with a layup, and the game went back-and-forth.
At the 4:08 mark, sophomore Antino Jackson nailed a floater in the lane and Robotham added a pair from the charity stripe. Akron held on to the lead for the remaining three minutes as Robotham drained nine additional free throws on 10 attempts.
Northern Illinois at Ohio (Saturday, 2 p.m. ET)
Central Michigan at Akron (Friday, 8 p.m. ET)
(Courtesy of UA Athletics)