OXFORD, Ohio -- If the Miami RedHawks had something to prove Tuesday, they made their point. “We’re not a cakewalk,” senior Eric Washington said following a performance in which hosting Miami (10-18, 4-11 MAC) proved to be a more-than-formidable foe.
Senior Geovonie McKnight tallied 20 points and led three RedHawks in double figures as Miami upset MAC-East leader Akron, 77-64, at Millett Hall. Sophomore Abdoulaye Harouna tallied a career-high 16 points, while Washington contributed 13 points, seven assists and five steals. He had just one turnover over 36 minutes as the RedHawks . . .
“We felt like they embarrassed us last time, so I think we had more motivation before this game,” Washington said. “No matter what the outcome, we decided we weren’t going to let them do what they wanted to do. We were going to send a message and play hard, and today that resulted in a win.”
McKnight was one of four Miami players who recently drew one-game suspensions and missed MU’s game against rival Ohio Saturday. Harouna, meanwhile, scored 15 points against OU and followed that with 16 against the Zips.
It was the third double-digit scoring game over the last four games for Harouna, who noted he is starting to get some confidence. “I’m not the new guy anymore, and I feel comfortable,” he said.
Miami also managed to capitalize at the foul line, which has typically been a part of other RedHawk wins this season. MU made 20-of-23 shots from the stripe, while Akron hit 7-of-10 charity tosses.
It was the second straight loss and third setback in four games for UA, which was again playing without the services of Pat Forsyth. The 6-11 center has missed the last three games.
Still, Akron had a major presence inside with 6-10, 290-pound center Isaiah Johnson down low, and the junior got plenty of touches. He finished with a game-high 21 points, including five of the Zips seven points at the free throw line. Antino Jackson was the only other UA player scoring from the stripe. He converted both of his throws.
Miami, however, was determined to limit the widespread damage that occurred in the first meeting. Part of that was a 14-for-26 Akron performance on 3-point goals. Conversely, Miami made 1-of-10 from distance on that occasion.
“Coach just told us, make them beat us with something else,” Washington said. “Last game, they got comfortable for the three, and they burned us. … That was just the game plan – to make them take tough twos and put the ball on the floor.”
The RedHawks hit 7-of-16 threes this time around, while Akron made 9-of-21. Overall, Miami converted 25-of-54 (46.3%) from the field. Akron was at 45.3 percent (24-of-53). Rebounds were exactly even – each team totaling 31 caroms, with six on the offensive end.
UA quickly forged a tie when play resumed, but Miami managed to avoid the scoring struggles it has suffered to start the final period on a number of other occasions this year.
The Zips last lead was 43-41 on a Noah Robotham trey at 13:07. Washington came up with a steal and transition layup to tie the game, and it was knotted four more times before Miami took the lead for good at 8:20.
Harouna started a 9-0 RedHawk run with a trey – one of four 3-pointers on four attempts. Bryan finished the stretch with a layup that followed a Harouna steal.
The hosts stretched their lead to 11 points, while Akron could get no closer than seven as Miami thrived at the foul line. A pair of free throws by Dion Wade with seven ticks left gave MU its final 13-point advantage.