Zips upset by Miami, 77-64

Despite their loss, Isaiah Johnson led the Zips with 21 points and eight rebounds against the RedHawks.

Despite their loss, Isaiah Johnson led the Zips with 21 points and eight rebounds against the RedHawks.

By Jacob Allen, Writer

The University of Akron men’s basketball team lost to the Miami RedHawks, 77-64 on Tuesday night in Oxford, Ohio. The RedHawks exacted revenge on the Zips, following Akron’s 75-46 win over Miami on January 23rd at Rhodes Arena. The upset loss dropped the Zips to 21-7 overall and 10-5 in the Mid-American Conference while the RedHawks improved to 10-18 and 4-11 in the MAC. Akron has now lost three out of their last four games, with each loss coming on the road. .

Isaiah Johnson once again led the Zips in scoring with 21 points. Johnson, the team’s leading scorer, has now scored double-digit points in 13 straight games. Johnson also led the team with eight rebounds while blocking two shots.

Also, Antino Jackson made two 3-pointers and totaled 14 points. Freshman guard Josh Williams came off the bench and made three of his five 3’s for nine points. Finally, Kwan Cheatham Jr. scored seven points and blocked two shots while Jake Kretzer and Noah Robotham added five points.

Miami was led by senior guard Geovonie McKnight. McKnight scored 20 points, grabbed four rebounds, dished out three assists, and made seven out of eight free throws. Niger native Abdoulaye Harouna attributed 16 points and six rebounds, while making a career-high four 3-pointers. Also, Eric Washington, of Columbia, South Carolina, had a well-rounded game for Miami. Washington scored 13 points, contributed seven assists, pulled in four rebounds, and recorded five steals. Washington had two more steals than the entire Zips team. Finally, Chris Bryant and Kalif Wright scored eight points while the RedHawks Belgian guard Dion Wade added seven points.

With starting center Pat Forsythe still out, Isaiah Johnson got the start, and the Zips would get out to a good start. The road team would score on their first two possessions, as Reggie McAdams made a 3-pointer to start the game and then Antino Jackson made a jump shot to give the Zips an early 5-2 lead. Later, with the Zips down one, Johnson started a small run for Akron with a jumper. Several possessions later Jackson made a pair of free throws, then Williams made his first 3-pointer and Akron had a 16-12 lead halfway through the first half.

The RedHawks came back to finish the half strongly. After Johnson converted a 3-point play to put the Zips up 26-22, Miami went on a 10-1 run to go into the half ahead 32-27. But Akron would fight back early in the second half. Cheatham Jr. made a deep ball to start, and later Jackson made a jumper to tie the game at 32. The Zips would take the lead later on a Jackson 3-pointer. Harounda came back with a trey of his own, but Robotham answered right back with another 3-pointer. Akron led 43-41 with 13:07 left in regulation.

Each team battled for several minutes before the RedHawks started to pull away. After a Kretzer layup to tie the game at 50 with 8:35 to go, Miami went on to score the next nine points. Akron wouldn’t be able to get back within eight points until there were 38 seconds left, after a Jackson 3-pointer. After two Miami free throws, Kretzer buried a shot from beyond the arc to cut the lead to seven, but that was the last time the Zips would score.

A positive statistic for the Zips on Tuesday. First, they made nine out of 21 shots from beyond the arc, nearly 43 percent. There were many more negative statistics for the Zips, however. They turned it over 16 times compared to just eight for Miami, had only seven assists, and the Redhawks had ten steals while Akron only recorded three.

In a very unusual series of events, the Zips still are one game better than every other team in the MAC. This is the result of Kent State, Ohio, and Ball State each losing games to teams with worse records. Akron now has a one game lead of Ohio, Buffalo, Kent State, and Ball State at the top of the MAC with three games to go. They will have games versus Ohio and Kent State, but first they will host Bowling Green on Friday at 7 p.m.