Perhaps still feeling the effects of a recent loss to rival Kent State, the University of Akron men’s basketball team played listlessly in a 77-64 loss to Miami Tuesday night in Oxford.
It was the Zips’ second consecutive loss and third in the last four games.
The RedHawks used a 13-4 run to take control in the second half after the game had been tied at 50. With key players Isaiah Johnson, Kwan Cheatham Jr. and Antino Jackson in foul trouble for much of the second half, the Zips (21-7, 10-5 in Mid-American Conference) watched as an opportunity to move closer to the conference’s best record and a two-game lead in the MAC East Division slipped through their fingers.
Kent State lost 87-70 at Buffalo Tuesday night.
Center Johnson led all scorers with 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds. Guard Jackson followed with 14 points and a couple of rebounds.
Geovonie McKnight led the RedHawks (10-18, 4-11 MAC) with 20 points, four rebounds and three assists.
The RedHawks outshot the Zips 46 percent to 45 percent. More notably, they nullified a UA strength — 3-point shooting — as the Zips hit just 9-of-21 shots from beyond the arc. They came into the game converting slightly more than 11 per game.
The Zips showed little offensive flow from the onset and did themselves few favors by not moving the ball, finishing with seven assists on 24 buckets. Free-throw shooting also played a major role as Miami connected on 20-of-23 from the stripe to 7-of-10 for UA.
The RedHawks grinded out a five-point halftime lead (32-27), as the Zips’ inability to hit from outside (3-of-9 on 3-pointers) was evident. Johnson’s strong play in the paint kept the Zips within striking distance.
But UA turned the ball over nine times in the half and showed an inability to generate ball movement against a Miami defense that switched from man-to-man to several variations of zone defense.