Trailing by four with 1:01 to play, Akron (15-6, 6-2 Mid-American) got a 3-pointer from Noah Robotham, who then sank a layup to put the Zips up 67-66 with 25 seconds left.
A pair of free throws from Jovan Austin briefly put Bowling Green (13-6, 5-3) back on top with 17 seconds remaining but Gladden, who finished with 11 points, put up the winning score at the other end after grabbing the rebound from Robotham's missed shot.
Bowling Green's Richaun Holmes missed a 3-point attempt just ahead of the buzzer.
Robotham and Kwan Cheatham Jr. had nine points apiece for Akron, which extended its win streak to three.
Holmes led Bowling Green with 11 points and Anthony Henderson had 10.