Akron beats Kent State 78-74, moves into MAC final

TOM WITHERS
The Associated Press
Akron beats Kent State 78-74, moves into MAC final
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Akron's Chauncey Gilliam (23) looks for help under pressure from Kent State's Justin Greene (34) and Michael Porrini during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Mid-American Conference tournament semifinals Friday, March 9, 2012, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)

CLEVELAND (AP) Nikola Cvetinovic scored 15 points and Alex Abreu made two free throws with 15 seconds left, giving top-seeded Akron a 78-74 win over rival Kent State in the semifinals of the Mid-American Conference tournament on Friday night.

The defending champion Zips (22-10) held off a late rally by the Golden Flashes (21-11) to advance to their record sixth straight title game. They'll play the Ohio-Buffalo semifinal winner Saturday for the MAC's automatic NCAA tourney bid.

Akron swept all three games from their nearest conference neighbors for the first time since 2007.

Kent State senior guard Michael Porrini had boldly predicted the Golden Flashes would win. He finished with 11 points and nine assists, but sat crying on the bench after the final horn sounded.

Randal Holt scored 21 points and Justin Greene 20 for Kent State.