Miami Drops MAC Opener 65-60

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Jan. 7, 2012

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Akron 65, Miami 60 Get Acrobat Reader

OXFORD, Ohio -- In a thrilling back-and-forth game, the Miami men's basketball team fell to the Akron Zips by a score of 65-60 Saturday night at Millett Hall. Julian Mavungaposted his ninth double-double of the season with 23 points and 14 rebounds.

After sophomore forward Jon Harris scored the first points of the game, Akron rattled off six straight points to give the Zips a 6-2 lead four minutes into the half. With 12:09 left in the period, Miami tied the game up at eight on a pair of free throws by freshman guard Brian Sullivan.

With 8:00 left in the first half, the RedHawks still found themselves down 15-13 even after a three-point play by Mavunga. A big reason for Akron's lead was its ability to convert Miami turnovers into points; while the Zips had only forced four turnovers up to this point, they converted all four into scoring plays.

Brian Sullivan, fresh off of an explosive scoring game against Vanderbilt, nailed a 3-pointer at the 5:29 mark of the half to give Miami the lead, 19-18. The score gave Sullivan 12 points, his fifth double-digit scoring night of the season. The Sullivan trey was the start of an 11-2 Miami scoring run, which gave the RedHawks a 27-20 lead with 1:34 left in the opening half.

Akron laid one in during the closing seconds of the half, yet Miami entered halftime with the lead. 29-25. Brian Sullivanled all scorers in the first half with those 12 points, and Harris and Mavunga led all players with five rebounds apiece. Brian Walsh led Akron in both scoring and rebounding, scoring eight points and grabbing three rebounds.

Mavunga opened up the second half of scoring with a 3-pointer, but Akron's Chauncey Gilliam answered right back with a trey of his own, keeping the Miami lead at four, 32-28. Mavunga's basket put him in double figures in scoring, a mark he has reached in every game so far this season.

Nine minutes into the half, both squads had played to a standstill with each scoring 14 points up to that point in the half, making the score 43-39 in favor of the RedHawks. Of Miami's 14 points, Mavunga had registered eight of them. After a Mavunga free throw, Akron's Quincy Diggs scored back-to-back layups to bring the Zips within one, 44-43 with 9:57 left in the game. A minute later, Akron took the lead on a layup by Demetrius Treadwell, 47-46.

The Diggs' layups were the beginnings of a 10-2 scoring run by the Zips that led to a 49-46 Akron advantage. A layup by sophomore guard Quinten Rollinsat the 8:10 mark of the half made the score 49-48.

That score held for nearly three minutes until an Akron layup at the 5:20 mark of the half increased the Zips' lead to three, 51-48. A pair of Mavunga free throws brought the RedHawks back to within one, 51-50. With 3:27 left in the game, Mavunga grabbed a rebound on the defensive end and took it coast-to-coast for a layup to give Miami the lead, 54-53. Akron, however, promptly scored five unanswered points to take a 58-54 lead with 2:36 remaining in the game.

Harris nailed a runner in the lane with 1:40 left in the game to tie the game at 58-58. A pair of free throws with 1:01 left in the game by Akron's Diggs gave the Zips the lead yet again, 60-58. A RedHawk turnover gave Akron the ball back with 32 seconds left. A quick foul to stop the clock sent the Zips to the charity stripe, where Alex Abreu nailed both of his freebies to make the score 62-58.

The Akron lead held for the remaining seconds, and the Zips walked away with a 65-60 victory.

Mavunga led all scorers with 23 points and 14 rebounds. It was his ninth double-double of the season and 23rd of his career. Brian Sullivanwas the only other RedHawk in double figures in scoring, finishing with 14 points. Diggs led Akron in scoring with 13 points, while Treadwell led the Zips in rebounds with five.

Miami will look to rebound Wednesday when it travels to Kent State. The game starts at 7 pm, and the RedHawks will be looking for their first MAC victory of the season.

Game Notes

  • Miami opened its 65th Mid-American Conference season with a loss for just the 18th time. At home, the RedHawks are now 26-5 in the first conference game of the year.
  • Julian Mavungatallied 23 points and 14 rebounds, his ninth double-double of the season. He now has 23 in his career. The senior from Indianapolis has double figures in every game and reached 20 points 13 times in his career (five in 2011-12).
  • Brian Sullivantallied 14 points, including 12 in the first half, marking the fifth time this year he has reached double figures. Sullivan posted a career-best 24 points against Vanderbilt on Monday.
  • Miami shot 50 percent in the contest, just the third time this season that the RedHawks have made at least half their shots. Miami hit a season-high 56.5 percent vs. Evansville and 50.0 percent at Saginaw Valley State.