UA downs Miami in final minutes

“By Vincent Dorsey vdorsey@buchtelite.com Behind a late offensive surge by freshman point guard Anthony Humpty Hitchens, the University of Akron men’s basketball team defeated the Miami RedHawks 53-44 last night at Rhodes Arena. Hitchens hit two key jumpers and stole the ball for a break-away layup in the final 3:34 to help the Zips (17-9, 8-4 Mid-American Conference) pull away from the RedHawks in what was a defensive battle throughout the entire contest.”

By Vincent Dorsey

vdorsey@buchtelite.com

Behind a late offensive surge by freshman point guard Anthony Humpty Hitchens, the University of Akron men’s basketball team defeated the Miami RedHawks 53-44 last night at Rhodes Arena.

Hitchens hit two key jumpers and stole the ball for a break-away layup in the final 3:34 to help the Zips (17-9, 8-4 Mid-American Conference) pull away from the RedHawks in what was a defensive battle throughout the entire contest.

After Miami’s Michael Bramos hit a 3-pointer to tie the game on the RedHawks’ opening possession of the second half and the team’s traded leads in the first few possessions, UA took a 24-19 lead with 17:49 left. The score remained unchanged until a Chris McKnight layup with 13:04 left.

Miami cut the deficit to 36-33 with 4:52 remaining, but key baskets by McKnight and Hitchens helped UA rebuild its lead and secure the victory.

UA head coach Keith Dambrot described the grind-it-out, defensive game as typical of the games between the two MAC East rivals.

It’s a typical Miami-Akron game, really, Dambrot said. It’s such a grind. Our guys hate what they do to us. Their guys hate what we do to them.

McKnight led the Zips offensively with a career-high 18 points, 16 coming in the final period. Hitchens added 12.

McKnight and freshman Nikola Cvetinovic tied for a game-high seven rebounds.

After shooting 21.4 percent (6-of-28) from the field in the first period, the Zips bounced back to shoot 70.6 percent (12-of-17) in the final period. UA scored 20 points off of turnovers, compared to Miami’s five points off of UA miscues.

Miami head coach Charlie Coles said UA’s stingy defense made the difference in the second half. Senior Nate Linhart limited Michael Bramos, the RedHawks’ go-to player to 12 points on 3-of-18 shooting.

I thought it was great defense by Akron, Coles said. Once again, they did a great job on Bramos. Linhart has been a thorn in his side.

The win puts UA in a four-way tie with Kent State, Miami and Bowling Green for second place in the MAC East.

UA will take a break from league play on Saturday and travel to play at Valparaiso as part of ESPNU’s BracketBusters weekend. Tip-off is set for 8 p.m.

Call senior sports writer Vincent Dorsey:

330-972-7395

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