The RedHawks (14-12, 9-3) trailed early against Kent State (17-8, 8-3) Wednesday night, but rallied for an 86-80 win in overtime at Millet Hall. Miami was led by a pair of double-doubles from Nick Winbush and Julian Mavunga. Winbush put up a game-high 26 points and 12 rebounds, while Mavunga posted 17 points and 17 rebounds. It was the fourth double-double of the season for both players. The victory leapfrogs the ‘Hawks over the Flashes and into first place in the MAC East.
Four of Miami’s starters scored in double figures, and the fifth, Chris McHenry, only played seven minutes after leaving with an injury. His replacement in the lineup, Josh Sewell, put up 11 points and was clutch down the stretch hitting 9-of-10 free throws.
After Miami went ahead 6-2 in the opening minutes, the Golden Flashes went on a 16-4 run to take command of the game. They would push their lead to 13 points several times, but the ‘Hawks kept the score manageable. They went into the intermission only down 33-26. despite shooting just 32% (9-of-28) from the field. They were an invisible 2-of-12 from three-point range.
In the second half, the Flashes continued to control the ball, pushing their lead back to 13 at 46-33 with 14 minutes to play. But over the next four and half minutes, Miami went on a 14-0 run to take the lead for the first time since the early goings of the game. However, the ‘Hawks were unable to put the game away, and the Flashes stifled all attempts to build a lead larger than three points. In fact, the lead changed hands or was tied 14 times coming down the stretch. Miami was actually down 63-61 with less than a minute to play, but Orlando Williams (who finished with 14 points) nailed a three-pointer and Allen Roberts (16 points) added a pair of free throws to give the ‘Hawks a 66-63 lead with 20 seconds remaining in regulation. Unfortunately, KSU’s Rodriquez Sherman hit a three-pointer to tie the score and send the ‘Hawks to their third overtime game this season.
The Flashes scored the first bucket of the extra period, but then Winbush nailed a three-pointer to put the ‘Hawks ahead. KSU went ahead by one point on a pair of three throws before Miami went on a 9-0 run to take over. KSU’s Carlton Guyton tried to get his team back into the game, scoring all 10 of the Flashes’ final points. But it was during that stretch that Sewell proved to be invaluable, hitting 7-of-8 free throws in the final minute to ice the game. the charity stripe proved to be a pivotal statistic for the game, as Miami was 29-of-35, while the Flashes only got 10 points from their 13 trips to the line.
The ‘Hawks will look to push their winning streak to six games with a nonconference matchup against James Madison (19-9, 9-7 Colonial Athletic Conference) Saturday in Harrisonburg, Virginia in an ESPNU Bracket Buster game. After that, four MAC games remain in the regular season.