KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Daniel Utomi had 26 points and Freshman Virshon Cotton scored five of his 21 points in the final 45 seconds to help Akron beat Western Michigan 79-78 on Monday night in the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
Utomi was 9-of-12 shooting, including 6 of 9 from 3-point range, and Cotton had season-high-tying seven assists.
The 11th-seeded Zips will play No. 3 seed Eastern Michigan in the quarterfinals Thursday. Akron lost its only other matchup this season with the Eagles 63-49, its lowest scoring output since Dec. 16, 2014.
Cotton hit his fourth 3-pointer to give Akron (14-17) a seven-point lead with 45 seconds left, but Reggie Jones was fouled on a 3-point shot and hit all three free throws and then Thomas Wilder’s steal and layup trimmed WMU’s deficit to 77-75. After a steal by Josh Davis, Bryce Moore banked in a tightly-contested 3 that gave the Broncos a one-point lead with 17 seconds remaining. Cotton, driving the right side of the lane, was fouled with 1.7 second left and hit both free throws and Akron held on.
Wilder had 21 points and seven assists and Jones scored 18, including four 3-pointers, for No. 6 seed Western Michigan.