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Akron opens up 3-point barrage to down the RedHawks

<p>Senior forward Bam Bowman posts up against a Wright State defender Nov. 9 at Millett Hall. Bowman scored four points during an 88-81 Miami loss.</p>

Senior forward Bam Bowman posts up against a Wright State defender Nov. 9 at Millett Hall. Bowman scored four points during an 88-81 Miami loss.

Sometimes, numbers do tell the full story.

Tuesday, at Millett Hall, the figures in every relevant statistical category stacked against the Miami RedHawks.

And every equation produced the same result: an Akron victory.

The Zips, after receiving their first loss of Mid-American Conference play last Saturday, coasted past Miami, 81-60.

“Just thinking about this game and looking at the box score, it just felt like we had no energy or life,” Miami head coach Jack Owens said. “That’s on me. For whatever reason, I just feel like the guys didn’t play with the passion we’ve been playing with.”

The only lead the RedHawks (8-11, 1-5 MAC) held was 2-0. They preserved it for 15 seconds, before Akron hit a 3-pointer and led the rest of the game.

From the opening tipoff, 3-pointers became a theme for the Zips (15-4, 5-1 MAC).

Six of their first seven baskets, including their first four, came from behind the arc. They made 14 threes on 58.3 percent of their tries, setting season highs in both categories.

“I just felt like we could’ve done a better job being in position and just having some life in this game,” Owens said. “I just felt like we did not play with passion, and our togetherness wasn’t to the degree it needs to be when you play against a quality opponent like this.”

Miami trailed in shooting percentages (both from the field and 3-point land), offensive and defensive rebounding, assists, steals, points off turnovers, second-chance points and fast-break points. The team had one more turnover than Akron.

In the locker room, after his RedHawks fell to 1-5 against MAC foes this season, Owens told his players, “We need to figure things out.”

“Obviously, it’s not a happy mood in the locker room,” freshman guard Dae Dae Grant said. “We’re not happy at all with the outcome.”

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Grant was a bright spot for the RedHawks, leading the team with 16 points and five rebounds. He tied sophomore guard Mekhi Lairy for the team-high assist mark (three). 

“I’m getting a little more comfortable,” Grant said. “I’m just continuing to play the way I play and the way coach wants us all to play.”

The whole first half was almost one big run for the Zips. They took a 43-24 advantage into halftime after dominating Miami on offense and defense. 

At the 14:17 mark, junior forward Dalonte Brown made two free throws to cut the RedHawks’ deficit to 15-10. 

The game’s leading scorer, Akron’s redshirt junior guard Loren Cristian Jackson, responded with a 2-point jumper and kicked off a 13-0 Zip lead. Miami never sniffed a manageable deficit after that.

For most of the second half, the Zips led by more than 20. 

“Give credit to them,” Grant said. “They’re a really good team. I feel like we’re a better team, and could’ve done a lot better in the first and second half. We started off very slow, and we could’ve started off better. They didn’t throw anything new at us.”

Miami gets a chance to right the ship Saturday against Eastern Michigan. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m., and the contest will air on ESPN+.