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Akron 78, Kent St. 68

AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- Reserve Cedrick Middleton scored 25 points and sparked the run that pulled Akron ahead for good in a 78-68 victory over Kent State on Wednesday.

Kent State was leading 59-58 when Middleton converted a 3-point play with 8:22 left, starting a 19-4 run that gave the Zips (12-4, 3-1 Mid-American) a 77-63 lead with 1:39 to go. Middleton, who had a 3-pointer and a layup in the stretch, finished 6-for-9 on 3s.

Free throws made the difference as the Golden Flashes (9-8, 2-2), with two starters in foul trouble, converted three of only six attempts while the Zips went 23-for-34 from the line. Kent State's Omni Smith fouled out.

Dru Joyce, who made 10 of 13 free throws, scored 18 points and Romeo Travis added 16 points and eight rebounds.

Armon Gates led Kent State with 21 points, Julian Sullinger scored 15 and Mike Scott added 10 points and nine rebounds.