LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Ryan McMahon made two free throws with 16.8 seconds left, helping No. 2 Louisville escape Akron 82-76 on Sunday night.
The Zips trailed 55-33 early in the second before getting within 78-74 on the second of Loren Cristian Jackson’s three consecutive layups. Darius Perry’s two free throws with 23 seconds left provided a six-point lead before Jackson drove again to make it 80-76.
McMahon was fouled on the inbounds and promptly made the free throws. Akron had several chances in the final seconds before Jordan Nwora’s defensive rebound as time expired.
Nwora scored 15 of his 18 points in the first half, Steven Enoch added 17 and Dwayne Sutton and McMahon 10 each for the Cardinals (6-0). Sutton also had 10 of Louisville’s 48 rebounds.
Jackson and Tyler Cheese each had 20 for the Zips (4-2), who had won three in a row coming in.
Akron: The Zips’ scoring totals had increased in each of the past three games before facing the Cardinals. They trailed much of the night but made it interesting, turning what appeared to be a rout into a tight game with timely baskets. And with a couple more minutes, anything could have happened.
Louisville: The Cardinals did a lot to initially gain control with an inside presence on both ends. A series of missed shots and ragged play allowed Akron to get too close for comfort in the final minutes before Perry and McMahon saved them at the line.
Louisville had to work late to seal this victory, but it remains to be seen whether it retains their poll position.