Despite yet another sloppy start the Akron Zips (11-5, 3-0 MAC) downed a scrappy Miami (5-9, 1-2 MAC) squad 59-52 Wednesday night in the J.A.R. to capture their fifth straight win and remain on top of the MAC standings.
But just as it began, Akron found itself in trouble late. Up 11 with 3:03 to go, the Zips found themselves on the wrong end of a 6-0 run. After a pair of bricked threes and sloppy turnovers Akron's lead was cut to just five with a minute left in the half. But as they have done so many times before, Akron was able to come up when it mattered most.
Akron's Nick Harney missed a free throw with 43 seconds left on the clock, a feisty Will Felder swooped in snagging up the rebound and putting the RedHawks in a position to really make the Zips sweat. But Akron's defense clamped down. Unable to get anything off, Miami was forced to spread the ball around, ultimately ending in a steal by Quincy Diggs. The hero of Sunday night's double-overtime victory against Ohio, Diggs was immediately fouled after his steal and sank both free throws to put Akron up seven with just under 30 seconds on the clock. It was enough to seal the deal as Miami was only able to score once more in the final stretch, and Akron held on for the narrow victory.
Diggs had 10 points, four steals and four rebounds in the game for Akron.
But early in the first half, things were going about as awful for the Zips as could be expected. Unable to penetrate Miami's stingy zone defense, Akron settled with forced threes, which rarely fell. The Zips went a miserable 2-13 from behind the arc in the first half, and couldn't get anything substantial going on offense.
Miami's Will Felder, who finished the game with 16 points and seven boards, was having an easier time however, and had the RedHawks up 20-13 late in the first half. But Demetrius Treadwell wouldn't be stopped. The do-it-all forward turned it on late in the half, pulling down a couple boards and notched four points in the final 40 seconds of the half to send the game into halftime with Akron trailing by just one.
Treadwell was paramount to Akron's success Wednesday night. The big man was unstoppable inside, especially in the second half, nothing 15 points and 10 boards on the night. With Treadwell finally able to break through Miami's zone, the Zips leapt out to an 18-9 run in the beginning of the second half.
Miami proved relentless, keeping the game competitive and preventing Akron from running away with it, but was never able to retake the lead. With only Felder finding any real success on offense for Miami, Akron was just too much for the 'Hawks as three Zips reached double figures, and another, forward Reggie McAdams, notched nine on the night.
Harney was the other Akron player with double-digits, racking up 11 points and six boards off the bench.
For Miami, in just his second game of the season forward Bill Edwards had a nice night off the bench tallying nine points and seven boards in 22 minutes, just four days after his season debut when he torched WMU for 24.
For the Zips the win keeps them in the front of the pack and has them a full game ahead of the next closest team in the East. Akron returns to action Saturday vs. Toledo at 11. The game will be on ESPNU. Meanwhile, the RedHawks fall to 1-2 in the MAC, but have really pushed their opponents so far and have looked much improved over a season ago. The 'Hawks return to action Saturday as well, taking on the last place Ball State Cardinals.
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