OXFORD, Ohio - Trailing by 13 in the second half, the Miami University men’s basketball team used a 14-0 run to jump in front of Kent State and then prevailed in overtime with an 86-80 victory Wednesday night at Millett Hall, led by double-doubles from senior Nick Winbush and junior Julian Mavunga. With the win, the RedHawks (14-12, 9-3 Mid-American Conference) snapped the Golden Flashes’ (17-8, 8-3 MAC) six-game win streak while extending their own streak to a season-long five games and vaulted Miami into first place in the MAC.
After regulation ended with the score even at 66, KSU scored the opening basket of overtime but a three from Winbush put Miami up one. After two free throws from the Flashes, Winbush converted a three-point play followed by a layup from sophomore Allen Roberts to put Miami up four at 74-70. Mavunga then banked in an off-balance floater to up the lead to six with under a minute left in the extra session. Carlton Guyton would score the rest of Kent State’s 10 overtime points, including two triples in the closing seconds, but freshman Josh Sewell hit 7-of-8 free throws and Roberts threw down a monstrous dunk down the stretch to close out the victory as KSU didn’t get closer than four in the extra period.
A total of five RedHawks reached double figures in points as Winbush tied a career high with 26 points and corralled 12 boards while recording three of Miami’s six blocks on the night. Mavunga finished 17 points and a career-best 17 rebounds, the most by a RedHawk this year. Roberts totaled 16 points while classmate Orlando Williams had 14 points, all in the second half, and Sewell ended with 11. Rodriquez Sherman led Kent State with 25 points while Guyton scored 24.
Miami shot 40 percent for the game, but was 5-for-8 from the floor in the extra session, and went 29-for-35 from the free throw line, including 9-of-11 in overtime. KSU hit at a 43.5 percent clip, including 10-for-23 from distance, but made just 10 charity tosses. The ‘Hawks also outrebounded the Flashes 48-35, including 28-16 over the final 25 minutes.
The Flashes scored a quick bucket inside to open the game but Winbush answered with back-to-back triples to put Miami up 6-2 just two minutes into the contest. KSU responded with a 16-4 run, putting them up 18-10 with just over 12 minutes remaining in the half, with 14 of the points coming in the paint.
A jumper by Sewell stopped the bleeding for Miami temporarily, but an old-fashioned three-point play and a pair of trifectas from Sherman extended Kent State’s lead to 13 at 27-14 with fewer than seven minutes to play in the first half. Winbush then notched back-to-back three-point plays, including an emphatic dunk, to bring Miami within seven at 29-22 at the under-four timeout.
A steal and a fast-break layup by Roberts closed the deficit to five but KSU answered with a layup of its own to take a 33-26 lead into the locker room. Winbush led the way at the break with 16 of Miami’s 26 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while also snaring seven boards. The ‘Hawks shot just 32.1 percent in the opening 20 minutes, including 2-of-12 from behind the arc, while the Flashes scored 22 points in the paint and shot 42.4 percent, paced by Sherman’s 13.
The teams traded buckets for the first five minutes of the second half until a 5-0 spurt upped Kent State’s advantage to 44-32 with 14:46 remaining in regulation. Down 13, Miami went on its 14-0 run over a four-minute stretch, spurred by nine points from Williams, including a four-point play, to grab a 47-46 edge with 9:36 to play. A three-pointer by KSU’s Michael Porrini ended the run but a pair of freebies from Sewell and a jumper by Williams pushed the RedHawks’ advantage to 51-49 with less than eight minutes on the clock.
The two sides traded baskets and free throws over the next four minutes, with neither side leading by more than two, until Mavunga grabbed his own miss and finished the put-back while getting fouled to put the ‘Hawks up 61-58. Randal Holt answered for KSU with a triple to again knot the score while a layup by Sherman put the Flashes ahead with 46 ticks to go in the second stanza.
With 34 seconds left in regulation, Williams drilled a three-pointer from the corner to put the ‘Hawks back on top by one, 64-63, while Miami’s defense forced a turnover on the ensuing possession and Roberts sank two from the charity stripe. The Flashes would not quietly however, as Sherman’s trey with eight ticks on the clock bounced high off the rim and down through the hoop to send the game to overtime tied at 66 after Williams’ three-point attempt at the buzzer was off the mark.
The contest featured 13 lead changes and seven ties.
Miami looks to continue its winning ways Saturday when it steps out of conference for its ESPNU BracketBuster game at James Madison. Tip-off is set for noon ET.