Emily Simanskis, The Miami Student
The Miami University men’s basketball team’s offensive production didn’t make the trip to Columbia, Missouri when Miami played the University of Missouri on Tuesday, as the ‘Hawks lost 81-55.
Miami drops to 4-5 overall and remains winless on the road. Mizzou improves to 5-3 overall and 4-1 at home.
Both teams made less than 40 percent of the shots they took, with Miami making 30.5 percent and Mizzou scoring 37.3 percent of their attempts.
“Well, we haven’t taken good shots—we’ve had some streaks where we haven’t taken good shots,” head coach John Cooper said. “Then we’ve had plenty of opportunities and we’ve missed shots. You’ve got to continue to take the ones that are wide open and the shot that’s best for you, depending on who it may be.”
Junior forward Logan McLane and freshman guard Michael Weathers topped the scoresheet with 12 points each. Freshman forwards Bruno Solomun and Marcus Weathers tallied 11 apiece.
McLane began the game with an easy layup, but the RedHawks’ offense was silenced for the next 10 minutes. Mizzou took advantage and pulled ahead to a 16-2 lead before Michael Weathers hit a three-pointer to jump start his team.
Redshirt sophomore guard Jake Wright helped the RedHawks rebound with several more threes and Marcus Weathers added points from the free throw line.
Mizzou’s offense seemed stall when Miami answered the Tigers’ early momentum to pull ahead 24-23 with two minutes left in the game. Redshirt junior guard Dion Wade made a free throw in the final minute, only to have Mizzou make a three-pointer and enter halftime with a 26-25 lead.
A series of Mizzou offensive runs in the second half allowed the Tigers to ultimately pull ahead to win convincingly.
“We let their shooters get going, they hit a couple and we didn’t come down and execute on offense like we were doing in the first half,” junior forward Rod Mills said. “That piled on and ended up becoming too much to come back from.”
Michael Weathers scored early, but Mizzou scored 24 points to Miami’s five to push its lead to 50-30 with 13 minutes remaining. MU rallied for the next seven minutes with help from Solomun and the Weathers brothers attempting to answer Mizzou’s offense, eventually cutting the deficit to 12 with six minutes left.
The Tigers answered with a 10-0 run and held Miami to two baskets in the final four minutes.
“We’ve got to slow down, at times we’re out there and we think we’re going to get 15 points for one shot and we’re trying to get a 10-point shot,” Cooper said.
Sophomore forward Kevin Puryear had 19 points for Mizzou, senior forward Russell Woods had 15, sophomore guard Cullen Vanleer had 14 and freshman guard Frankie Hughes had 13—all more than Miami’s top four scorers.
Overall, Mizzou kept Miami from the free throw line. The Tigers fouled 19 times during the entire game whereas the RedHawks committed 28 personal fouls. The RedHawks went 68.4 percent while the Tigers shot 71 percent from the line.
The ‘Hawks look to Saturday to get a win versus Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis at 3:30 pm at Millett Hall.
“We have to share the ball more, make sure everyone’s getting their touches and getting back to getting stops and making sure that we’re winning the battle on the boards,” Mills said.
IUPUI is 3-6 overall with all of its losses coming on the road. The Jaguars also played on Tuesday and lost to Illinois 85-77.
Last time these two teams met, Miami travelled to Indianapolis and lost 78-64.
Cooper expects more of his team’s offense but also looks to his team’s defense to keep games closer.
“One, we had some breakdowns defensively and we’ve got to do a better job boxing out on the defensive end—it starts there. And then we’ve got to get a little more ball movement before we shoot.”
Over winter break, Miami will play at home five times and on the road four times. Mid-American Conference play starts for the RedHawks on January 3 when they face Northern Illinois. They’ll play six conference games before spring semester starts.
“I think once you get to conference hopefully you’ve done a good enough job with your team that you’re hoping you’re starting to settle with the guys,” Cooper said. “More importantly that they’re experienced—we’ve had different lineups in and guys know what to expect from each other and then we get off to a good start in conference play. Conference play is a grind. Everyone’s familiar with each other, but we’ve got to get better defensively, we’ve got to rebound the ball better and, certainly, we’ve got to play better offensively.”