If the University at Buffalo basketball team has learned any lesson this season it's: Take nothing for granted.
The Bulls perfectly executed a set play for a go-ahead basket by Jason Robinson with 4.1 seconds left Saturday night only to have Akron's Rashon Brown throw in an off-balance shot at the buzzer for a 78-77 victory.
The loss extended UB's winless road streak in the Mid-American Conference to 25 games. The Bulls never have won a conference road game since joining the MAC for the 1998-99 season.
"The guys are hurt," said a dejected UB coach Reggie Witherspoon. "They fought and they scrapped (but) the kid (Brown) just made a great play at the end. He got too deep in the lane and was able to score.
"We can't let this loss crush us. . . . It's disappointing to be that close to a MAC road win but if we concentrate on the effort and execution that we got tonight, we can move forward from here."
Forgetting the latest disappointment won't be easy for UB. The Bulls led by as many as 18 (40-22) in the first half, led by nine at the break and fought off a series of comeback attempts by the Zips in the second half.
They couldn't hold off Akron all night, however. The Zips owned a 76-74 lead with less than 10 seconds left and Robinson hit a trey to give the Bulls the lead with 4.1 seconds left.
Akron then inbounded the ball to Brown at midcourt and he was able to dribble up the floor with UB's Davis Lawrence draped all over him and hit the game-winner.
The Bulls' biggest lead in the second half was 13 (48-35) with 16:10 left. After twice closing the gap to two points (50-48 and 58-56), Akron finally tied it at 63-63 with 5:32 left. The Zips were in front, 76-71, with 1:51 left but a layup and two free throws by Robert Brown and Robinson's trey moved UB in front one last time.
"It was a high-intensity game and our guys competed," Witherspoon said. "It would have been great for the buzzer to have gone off when we made the shot, but Brown made a great play to win it."
Robinson led UB with 19 points, hitting five of seven from three-point range. Damien Foster had 17 while Robert Brown and Lawrence had 13 apiece.
Nate Schindewolf was high for Akron with 20 points. David Falknor had 17 points off the bench for the Zips while Emmanuel Smith had 12.
The loss dropped UB to 2-16 overall, 0-10 in the MAC. The Bulls have lost 11 in a row since their last victory over Alcorn State, at the South Florida Tournament Dec. 22. Akron is 9-10, 6-4 in the MAC.
UB plays Canisius at the Koessler Center Tuesday night at 8 in a makeup of a game postponed from Nov. 30. The Bulls return to MAC play Saturday at 4 when Bowling Green visits Alumni Arena.