With four seconds remaining, Miami senior forward Will Felder smothered Quincy Diggs' finger roll to preserve a one point lead, and the RedHawks would go on to defeat Akron 65-61 in Millet Hall.
Felder and junior guard Will Sullivan led all scorers with 16 points and posted 13 rebounds. Deji Ibitayo paced Akron with 14 points, and Diggs added 14 rebounds.
Through the first nine minutes of the game, it didn't look like the RedHawks belonged on the same floor as Akron. After Geovonie McKnight's quick layup off the opening tip, Miami would not score a field goal for nine straight minutes. Not only could the RedHawks not score, they could barely get a shot off. The Zips blocked five shots in the nine-minute span and were led by Isaiah Johnson, who had three at the half.
While Akron kept Miami off the scoreboard, they couldn't find a way to put the RedHawks away. Though they held Miami to just three points for the first quarter of the game, they only managed 11 themselves. When Miami switched to a 2-3 zone, the Zips suddenly went ice cold.
Eventually, Will Sullivan broke Miami's drought with a steal and an easy fast-break layup. He was only getting started. The junior guard hit three 3 pointers and scoreed 15 points to lead an extended 24-9 run to close the half. Just as the Zips used the block to keep Miami quiet to begin the game, the RedHawks used the steal to build a seven-point halftime lead. Quinten Rollins recorded four steals, and Miami headed to the locker room with a 27-20 lead.
Miami added to its lead at the beginning of the half. Akron, still struggling offensively against the RedHawks' zone, could not seem to get the ball to its forwards inside. After a huge Felder dunk, Miami held its largest lead of the game at 13 with only 14 minutes remaining in the game.
Akron was able to piece together a quick 6-0 run, thanks to offensive rebounding by Nick Harney and a couple of critical Miami turnovers. Suddenly, the Zips were again nipping at the heels of the RedHawks with ten minutes remaining.
Nyles Evans was Akron's shot of adrenaline throughout the second half. The junior guard hit three huge 3 pointers in the half, the most important of which cut the RedHawk lead to 2 with 4:32 remaining in the game.
As the teams battled bucket for bucket, every possession and rebound was more important than the last. Leading by one with 30 seconds remaining, Quinten Rollins' jumper went long. Both teams jumped on the floor to grab the rebound, but it was the RedHawks who were able to tap it out to Sullivan for the offensive rebound. With the shot clock turned off, Akron was forced to foul. They wouldn't score the rest of the game.
The loss was Akron's third in a row. They will look to right the ship when they take on Bowling Green on Saturday at the JAR. Miami will travel to Buffalo on Saturday to take on the Bulls.