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Miami RedHawks vs. Akron Zips Final: RedHawks stun cold-shooting Zips in overtime

Akron's scoring droughts combined with Miami's tough defense gave the RedHawks a nice road victory.

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe the ushers left the doors to the JAR open. That may explain the cold shooting that both Miami and Akron experienced during many part of and nearly the entire game.

The Zips and RedHawks combined to shoot 35 percent from the field and 19 percent from beyond the arc in a game that was really unwatchable for the greater portion of the contest. Miami's defense combined with Akron's ineptitude on offense gave the RedHawks their third straight victory, with the last two coming on the road against conference leaders. The final score was 57-52, and the game went to overtime. That shows how much both teams struggled with shooting the ball.

It was quite a first ten minutes for Akron, who seemed like they would roll to a relatively easy home victory over a cold-shooting Miami squad. The Zips jumped out to a 17-6 lead behind seven points from Kwan Cheatham. The RedHawks shot just 3-18 over that stretch and couldn't seem to hit anything.

This game probably could have been put away in the first half if it weren't for endless Akron turnovers. During the first ten minutes of the game the Zips turned it over a couple of times but nothing out of the ordinary. But halfway through Akron started getting careless. The Zips accumulated ten turnovers over the last 9:32 in the first half, twice going four straight possessions with a turnover. Akron outrebounded Miami 22-10, but when you turn the ball over 13 times in a half it's going to negate that advantage.

Akron held a pretty comfortable lead at 22-14 with 2:36 to go, and that's when one of the four-turnover streaks happened. Miami scored the next nine points and went into the locker room with a surprising 23-22 lead.

After five minutes of back and forth to open the second half, Akron finally opened it up with an 8-0 run to make the lead 38-30. The Zips finally capitalized on their advantage inside, as Isaiah Johnson had six of those eight points.

Miami responded with a 9-0 run of their own as Akron didn't score for a six-minute period in the middle of the second half. The Zips had a chance to put Miami away right there, but never made good on it and the never-say-die RedHawks made them pay.

The second half ended in wild fashion. The game was tied at 46 with the RedHawks having possession. They had trouble inbounding out of a timeout, and Akron's Jake Kretzer stole the ball. Kretzer quickly gave it up to Antino Jackson who flew down the floor and nailed a spinning lay-up to give Akron a two point lead. Jackson then fouled Eric Washington on the next possession, who calmly nailed both free throws in a one-and-one situation. Cheatham's desperation three as the second half ended was off, and the two teams headed to overtime tied at 48.

The RedHawks were nearly dominant in the overtime period, holding Akron to just 1-8 shooting from the field. The Zips got three-happy and missed all five of their three-point attempts in the overtime period. Akron had a chance to tie down three with eight seconds left, but Reggie McAdams through a football-like pass but it was picked off, and Miami was perfect from the free throw line to close the game out.

Washington was the catalyst for Miami, dictating play and taking over the game whenever he was on the floor. He finished with a game-high 21 and also dished out five assists and five rebounds. Will Sullivan and Geovonie McKnight both reached double digits for the RedHawks, and Sullivan hit some key threes late to push Miami to victory.

Even though their shooting was putrid, Akron did have some standout performances. Cheatham led the way with 14 and Noah Robotham had ten, but that was about it for Akron. The Zips played eleven guys but only seven of them scored, and two starters ended with no points. Without a go-to scorer like Demetrius Treadwell, the Zips will continue to struggle when a few key players have off nights.

Miami gets Kent State at home next week to try and extend their three-game winning streak. Akron will try to stop the bleeding at Buffalo, where they've lost the past five years.

Game Leaders

Points K. Cheatham (14) E. Washington (21)
Rebounds P. Forsythe (12) Four tied (5)
Assists N. Robotham (5) E. Washington (5)
Blocks Two tied (1) L. McLane (1)
Steals Two tied (2) W. Moore (5)