Upshaw made his last field goal to give the Blue Raiders a 56-48 lead with 6:55 left. Akron answered with a 13-5 run, capped by Pat Forsythe's four points to pull the Zips into a 61-all tie with 2:08 left.
Jacquez Rozier split a pair of free throws to cap the scoring, giving the Blue Raiders (5-4) the lead for good at the 1:45 mark.
Middle Tennessee left the door wide open, committing two turnovers and missing two free throws in the final 1:45, but the Zips couldn't answer, missing three 3-point attempts and two free throws down the stretch.
Rozier scored 13 points and Edward Simpson Jr. added 10 for the Blue Raiders.