2024 MAC Tournament champions: Kent State vs. Akon

Kent State Triumphs Over Akron to Secure 2024 MAC Tournament Championship Title

**Watch the Video Above: MAC Tournament Ignites Downtown Excitement on Thursday.**

In Cleveland, a thrilling moment unfolded as Greg Tribble of Akron secured a 62-61 victory over their arch-rival Kent State in the Mid-American Conference championship. This win on Saturday night was clinched when Tribble was unexpectedly fouled by Julius Rollins of Kent State, allowing him to make two crucial free throws with only 4.8 seconds remaining.

Akron, the second seed, celebrated their fifth MAC title and their second win in the last three years. The victory was even more rewarding as it came against the Golden Flashes, the No. 8 seed, who had previously defeated the top-seeded Toledo in the quarterfinals.

Kent State nearly achieved a remarkable upset when Cli’Ron Hornbeak tipped in a missed shot by Jalen Sullinger, giving them a 61-60 lead with just 6.2 seconds left on the clock.

Immediately after, the Zips passed the ball to Tribble, who was then fouled by Rollins in a surprising turn of events, as it seemed Rollins was unaware that the Golden Flashes had just taken the lead. This mistake left Kent State’s coach, Rob Senderoff, in dismay as he paced the sideline.

Tribble successfully made both free throws, and Akron narrowly maintained their lead when Sullinger, who had scored 19 points, missed a final shot.

Ali Ali led the Zips with 18 points, while Enrique Freeman, named the MAC’s player of the year, contributed 17 points and nine rebounds. Freeman was also honored as the tournament’s most outstanding player.

VonCameron Davis stood out for the Golden Flashes with 21 points.

This championship game marked the fifth encounter between Akron and Kent State in the MAC title game, continuing their tradition of intense matchups in March.

The rivalry between Akron and Kent State extends beyond basketball, affecting football and other sports as well. Located just 12 miles apart, the competition between these schools divides communities and even families.

Before this game, the historical series between the two teams was evenly matched at 82-82.

In the first half, Kent State’s zone defense successfully limited Freeman’s impact and forced Akron to adjust their strategy, something they found challenging.

Despite struggling to find their rhythm, Akron managed to take the lead before halftime, thanks to Ali’s exceptional performance, which included a 3-pointer and a 4-point play during a 16-2 run, putting the Zips ahead 34-29.