AKRON, Ohio-Miami University's men's basketball team put forth a valiant effort at Akron on Tuesday evening but suffered a 72-58 loss to the Zips (24-5; 14-1 Mid-American Conference). Due to injuries, the RedHawks (8-20; 3-12 MAC) had just nine players dressed but had one of their best total-team efforts in recent games.
All nine players scored points, and junior forward Jon Harris poured in a career-high 21 points, while senior forward Vince Legarza recorded the first double-figure scoring effort of his career with 10 points and added a career-high-tying six rebounds. Junior forward Will Felder was the other RedHawk in double figures with 11 points.
Harris opened the scoring with a 3-pointer at the 19:26 mark to hand the RedHawks a quick 3-0 lead. After a 5-5 tie, Akron rattled off seven straight points to take a 12-5 lead by the 14:51 mark. Miami closed within one off a sophomore center Jared Tadlock layup at 10:23, 14-13. Akron used a 12-2 run to build an 11-point lead by the 6:35 mark, 26-15.
Miami did not relent and chiseled away at the Zip lead. The RedHawks staged a gutsy 13-1 run over the next three and a half minutes to pull within one with 2:56 left in the half, 29-28. The RedHawk run included seven points from Harris, including back-to-back dunks, and two buckets from Legarza.
Akron's Deji Ibitayo sunk a pair of free throws with 1:25 to go in the opening half to extend the Zips' lead to three heading into halftime, 31-28.
Harris led all scorers at the half with 12 points.
Akron opened the second half scoring six unanswered points to push its lead to nine with 17:56 to go, 35-28. A Legarza layup at 16:57 briefly halted the Zip surge. Akron used another 6-0 flurry to extend its lead to 44-30 at the 14:52 mark. Again it was a Legarza layup that stopped the Zip run at the 14:25 mark, 44-32.
The Zips took a 15-point lead at the 12:49 mark, 47-32, but Miami kept battling and shrunk the gap to eight points, 54-46, with help from a three-point play and a triple from Harris. An Akron 3-pointer on the next possession pushed the Zip lead back to double digits, which proved to be too much for the RedHawks to overcome.
Akron's Zeke Marshall led all players with 14 points and eight rebounds.
Miami was without junior guard Allen Roberts, who aggravated is right knee and is questionable for Saturday's game.
The RedHawks conclude the regular season at Ohio on Saturday, March 9. Game time is 4 p.m. and the game will be televised on SportsTime Ohio.