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Akron and Kent State to test rivalry as they face off in MAC Championship, aim for NCAA Tournament bid

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Posted at 10:28 PM, Mar 11, 2022

CLEVELAND — The rivalry between the Akron Zips and Kent State Golden Flashes will be put to the ultimate test Saturday night as they face off in the 2022 MAC Tournament championship game inside Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

No. 2 Kent State made their way to the final round of the tournament Friday night, beating No. 3 Ohio University in the semifinal round.

Kent State took an early lead but the Bobcats fought back, gaining a five point lead midway through the first half. But the Golden Flashes regained the lead and carried it into the second half where they really stepped things up.

The Golden Flashes boasted a 15 point lead with just under nine minutes left in the second half. Ohio didn't go down easily though and brought the game within two points with under three minutes to play. Despite letting the Bobcats back in the game down the stretch, Kent State was able to hold them off and get the 67-61 win.

Leading Kent State in the win was junior Malique Jacobs, who put up a double-double, scoring 19 with 10 rebounds, in addition to five assists and two steals.

Junior Sincere Carry scored 16 points of his own to go along with eight rebounds and four assists. Senior Tervell Beck scored 10 points in 14 minutes on the court, while senior Justyn Hamilton produced big time defensively with seven rebounds and three blocks.

With the win, Kent state moved on to face Akron, who beat Toledo earlier in the day to secure their spot in the final.

RELATED: Akron Zips men's basketball team punches ticket to MAC Championship with win over Toledo

The two teams meet up for each of their first MAC Championship appearances since 2017 when they faced each other in the final round. Kent State won the last matchup, with Akron's last MAC Championship win happening back in 2013. The winner will earn a bid in the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament.

Tip off of the rivalry MAC Championship matchup is at 7:30 p.m.

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