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Akron Zips at Buffalo Bulls Men's Basketball recap: Upset slips away as UB goes cold late in thriller

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

For years Buffalo's Alumni Arena has been a tough venue for the Akron Zips. Tonight played true to form, but the 11-2 visitors pulled out their first win in Amherst in seven tries, 75-71.

While the Bulls had a middling out of conference schedule, the Zips established themselves as the clear frontrunner in the MAC coming into tonight with an 11-2 record. Tonight threw the trends out the window, treating fans to a back and forth game that like last year's contest came down to the final minute.

Blake Hamilton, returning from a concussion, scored 15 for the Bulls while Lamonte Bearden and Willie Conner also hit double digits. Reggie McAdams, Isaiah Johnson, and Anthony Jackson all scored in double digits for the Akron.

UB held a narrow lead through much of the second half, capitalizing on a poor three point shooting performance from Akron. The Zips hoisted 37 attempts from distance on the night hitting just 12.

Buffalo, however, ceded the lead in the final five minutes as they went cold from the field but kept it close from the line as multiple Zips found themselves in foul trouble. UB shot just 1-7 from the floor over a six minute stretch that saw Akron turn a 57-62 deficit into a 72-68 lead.

Conner had a chance to force overtime on the final possession, but couldn't find the bottom of the net and finished with 16 points. Still, the result is encouraging from a team that looked to be in the middle of the conference but nearly topped the clear-cut leader.

Buffalo now hits the road for another challenging East Division matchup against Kent State, who are led by forward Jimmy Hall. The Golden Flashes also played in a tight game tonight topping Western Michigan in overtime. we'll have more on this one, though, tomorrow.