Demetrius Treadwell recorded a double-double for Akron (21-11) with 19 points and 11 boards, while Reggie McAdams provided a spark off the bench with 10 points on 4-of-4 shooting from the floor. The Zips will take on the top-seeded Western Michigan Broncos in the semifinals on Friday.
Nick Kellogg paced the Bobcats (23-11) with game-highs of 25 points and six assists. Javarez Willis added 13 points and Maurice Ndour went 5-of-6 from the field for 11 points.
Ohio took a 38-33 lead into the intermission after it made good on 60 percent of its field goal attempts in the opening period. The Zips trailed at the break despite shooting an even 50 percent from the floor, including a 4-of-10 clip from behind the 3-point line in the first half.
Although the Bobcats hit on 61.5 percent of their attempts from the field in the second stanza, they also made only 14-of-21 shots at the charity stripe after the break. Akron sank 6-of-11 tries from 3-point range over the final 20 minutes of the contest. The Zips used an 11-0 run to take a 75-67 lead by the 1:14 mark of the second half and never looked back.
Both sides scored 36 points in the paint and 15 second chance points.