The Miami University men’s basketball team finished off their winter break games with a loss to the University of Akron in their Mid-American Conference (MAC) season opener 65-60.
Senior forward Julian Mavunga once again led the RedHawks with his fifth 20-point game of the season, racking up 23 points and 14 rebounds. This was also Mavunga’s ninth double-double of the season.
The RedHawks shot 50 percent from the floor and held a seven point lead late in the game, but Akron was able to make a late run to beat the Red and White.
“All season, finishing games has been our Achilles heel,” Mavunga said. “We had a seven point lead and then they went on a run. It takes a whole team to get the job done and we need to finish games together.”
Miami also got big contributions from freshman guard Brian Sullivan. He scored 14 points against Akron after a career-high 24 points in a loss against Vanderbilt University. Head Coach Charlie Coles was impressed with how he played in his first MAC game.
“He made shots for us,” Coles said. “I wasn’t sure if he would because of how physical Akron is, but he did a great job.”
The RedHawks have gone 2-6 since the start of December, with tough road losses at No. 7 Ohio State University and previously ranked Vanderbilt University. Miami did manage to notch victories over William and Mary College and Belmont University, which made the NCAA tournament last year and was described by Coach Coles as “one of, if not the best mid-major in the country.”
Miami is last in the MAC East Standings, but Coles points to a tough out of conference schedule as well as turnovers as the reason the ‘Hawks have gotten off to a disappointing start.
The Red and White will look to rebound Wednesday against MAC rival Kent State University. Miami split the series with Kent State last season, winning at home and losing on the road. Tip off is set for 7 p.m. in Kent, Ohio.