Story courtesy of Miami Sports Information
Miami 62, Kent State 60
OXFORD, Ohio -- On the night that Miami legend Wally Szczerbiak was honored at halftime, the men's basketball team (9-17, 5-8 Mid-American Conference) avenged its four-point loss to Kent State (19-8, 9-4 MAC) back in January by taking home a victory Tuesday night at Millett Hall by a score of 62-60.
Sophomore guard Quinten Rollins filled up the box score with a career-high tying 18 points to go along with his six assists (also tying a career-high), five rebounds and three steals. Senior forward Julian Mavunga scored 17 points and hauled in eight rebounds as the only other RedHawk in double figures.
Mavunga opened up the scoring with a nice reverse layup under the basket to give the RedHawks the early lead. Kent State's Michael Porrini and Justin Green hooked up on consecutive possessions, with Green scoring both baskets to give the Golden Flashes a 4-2 lead.
On Miami's next possession, Kent State blocked a shot inside that went right to sophomore forward Jon Harris, who promptly knocked down a 3-pointer. He and Mavunga each drained a three the next two times Miami had the ball, giving the RedHawks an 11-4 lead at the 15:35 mark. The nation's most accurate 3-point shooter, freshman guard Brian Sullivan, made his first trey with 13:05 left in the half to extend the Miami lead to double-digits, 16-6.
The Golden Flashes found their stroke towards the middle of the half, closing the gap to four points, 20-16, with 9:01 remaining. After a basket from senior forward Adam Thomas, Kent State scored consecutive baskets to come within two, 22-20. The score didn't change until Mavunga grabbed an offensive rebound and laid one in with 43 seconds left until halftime. Carlton Guyton of the Golden Flashes knocked down two free throws and sophomore guard Josh Sewell hit a three with just two seconds left to make the score 27-22 heading into halftime.
Miami started the second half on a high note, with a Mavunga steal leading to a Harris layup just seconds into the period. Three minutes into the frame the RedHawks really got things rolling, scoring eight straight points thanks to Mavunga and Rollins. Kent State's Guyton broke the streak with a basket of his own, but Miami had already seen its lead grow to nine, 37-28, with just under 15 minutes left.
The lead was still nine for the RedHawks, 49-40, with 9:18 remaining after both teams traded 3-pointers, with Miami's coming from Mavunga, his third of the game, tying his season high. Kent State came within five, but back-to-back fast break layups from the RedHawks took the lead again back to nine, 56-47, with just over five minutes remaining.
Kent State wouldn't go away, though, and rattled off six straight points to make it a one-possession game, 56-53, with 3:26 remaining. Brian Sullivan broke through for the RedHawks with a layup, putting Miami back up by five. The Golden Flashes clawed their way back with five straight points to tie the game, 58-58, with just over a minute remaining.
Rollins and Kent State's Justin Greene traded baskets that kept the game tied at 60-60. Greene's score gave Miami the ball with less than 30 seconds remaining, setting the RedHawks up for the final possession of the game. Eventually they found Mavunga down low and he went up and was fouled with 3.8 seconds left, sending him to the charity stripe with a chance to put Miami ahead.
He knocked down both freebies with ease that, after Kent State failed to get a quality last-second shot off, sealed the deal for Miami, making the final score 62-60.
Miami travels to Buffalo this Saturday for a 3 p.m. affair between the RedHawks and the Bulls.