For the second straight game, first-half shooting woes caused the Miami men’s basketball team (15-14, 8-8 MAC) to fall behind by double-digits at Akron (12-16, 5-11 MAC) Saturday.
And for the second straight game, the RedHawks were able to battle back, besting the Zips 64-62 in overtime.
Senior forward Logan McLane led the comeback, dropping 21 of his season-high 23 points in the second half and overtime.
“After the slow start we were able to settle in during the second half,” head coach Jack Owens said. “I challenged the seniors at halftime. It was great how Logan out of the break, plus Rod [Mills] did some things that did not show up in the stat sheet. I was pleased with how our team continued to respond despite the early struggles.”
Miami did struggle early, scoring only four points in the first eight and a half minutes.
After a three-pointer by freshman guard Isaiah Coleman-Lands and a McLane layup cut the lead to 20-9 at the nine-minute mark, the RedHawks endured another prolonged scoring drought, going over seven minutes without a field goal. This allowed Akron to jump out to a 29-12 lead — its largest of the contest — with three minutes remaining in the first. The Zips held a 31-17 lead at halftime.
Miami turned the ball over 10 times and converted only four of its 24 field goal attempts in the the first. Akron shot over 50 percent during the period.
The RedHawks slowly started chipping into their deficit to start the second. After layups from sophomore forward Bam Bowman and freshman guard Jalen Adaway, McLane scored five straight points to cut the UA lead to single digits at 34-26.
Akron quickly rebounded, scoring six in a row to push its lead back up to 14.
Trailing by 14 with 10 minutes left in regulation, Miami began a 13-0 run that started with a Mills layup.
The Zips again responded with a run of their own, pushing their lead to 49-43 with 3:32 remaining.
Over the next three minutes, the RedHawks pulled within three, 50-47.
The Zips had possession with under 40 seconds left, before freshman guard Nike Sibande stole the ball and assisted McLane on a fast-break dunk to make it 50-49 with 16 seconds remaining.
Akron made a free throw to push the score to 51-49.
On the RedHawks’ last possession of regulation, Darrian Ringo corralled an offensive rebound and layed it back up, tying the game at 51 with 2.9 seconds to go. The Zips missed a half-court shot to send the game to overtime.
Similar to the first half, Miami struggled offensively to begin OT, allowing the Zips to take a 57-51 lead with 3:17 left.
Then, Isaiah Coleman-Lands decided enough was enough. First, he converted an and-one layup and hit the resulting free throw to carry the RedHawks to within three. After an Akron miss, Coleman-Lands tied the game on a three-pointer with 2:23 left.
A minute later, a layup by junior guard Darrian Ringo gave Miami a 59-57 advantage — its first of the game. Ringo added two free throws on MU’s next possession to extend the lead.
The two teams traded free throws for the final 30 seconds, but Miami held on for a 64-62 victory.
McLane (23) and Coleman-Lands (11) were the only RedHawks to record double-digit point totals. MU leading-scorer Nike Sibande managed only three points, but secured a team-high nine rebounds and tied Darrian Ringo for the team-lead in assists and steals with four each.
Sophomore forward Daniel Utomi led the Zips with 24 points.
With the win Saturday, Miami swept the two-game regular-season series against Akron. MU scored a 79-64 victory over the Zips at Millett Hall on Jan. 30.
MU also secured a home game in the first round of the MAC Tournament on Monday, March 5. The RedHawks still have a chance to earn a first-round bye.
Miami travels to Kent State Tuesday for their last away game of the regular season. The contest is scheduled to tip-off at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3.