Emily Simanskis, Sports Editor
Miami men’s basketball grinded out a 75-74 win on Tuesday evening against Mid-American Conference opponent, the University of Buffalo, but couldn’t maintain momentum and lost 74-57 to MAC opponent Eastern Michigan on Saturday.
Miami is now 9-12 overall, 2-6 in the MAC and 9-4 at home. After the weekend, the Buffalo Bulls fell to 9-12 overall and 3-5 in the MAC.
Head Coach John Cooper earned his 100th victory with the RedHawks’ win over the Bulls. Freshman forward Marcus Weathers dominated with 18 points, freshman guard Michael Weathers had 16 and redshirt sophomore guard Jake Wright had 14.
“They have very good players; they’re good. They’re big. They’re strong,” Cooper said. “We’ve got to get bigger and stronger, but it still can’t be an excuse not to do your job.”
Marcus Weathers opened scoring with a layup, and the early minutes were marked with back and forth baskets. The contest appeared to be evenly matched before Buffalo beat Miami to the basket to pull ahead 31-15 with less than 10 minutes left in the half.
Several free throws put Miami closer to Buffalo, but it was Wright’s good three-pointer that put Miami within 10 points with 6:17 left in the half.
A 7-1 run with a three-pointer from Wright and four points from senior guard Jake Bischoff led the RedHawks to end the half at 39-31.
“I think in the second half we just did a better job. We got the ball inside to Logan [McLane], we got the ball to Marcus [Weathers]. And then, defensively the zone bothered them,” Cooper said. “We did a much better job defending, it was still hard to get them off the boards but we only had two turnovers in the second half.
The RedHawks fought to overcome their deficit with intermittent baskets marred by consistent misses. Layups were made by Marcus and Michael Weathers, then missed. The Bulls capitalized on Miami’s inconsistency and went on a 9-0 run.
True to the back and forth nature of the game, Miami then went on their own 7-0 run to cut the lead to 56-51 halfway through the second half. Three minutes later, Bischoff put the RedHawks within one with two good free throw shots.
Miami then found their first lead since the first half at 3:25 left in the half at 66-64. Almost to be expected, Buffalo tied the game at 74 a piece with 30 seconds left.
Redshirt junior guard Dion Wade was fouled with 1.4 seconds left. With the game at his fingertips, he sunk one of two shots — his first free throw shot attempt in conference. Buffalo’s midcourt throw was no good and Miami held on to win 75-74.
“It was a crazy moment at that point. But after that, I just started thinking about myself,” Wade said. “I’ve shot a million free throws in my life and this is just another one. Shooting one out of two would give us the win, so I was just thinking about getting the win.”
Saturday’s 3:30 pm start again saw Miami fall behind early, but the RedHawks couldn’t overcome their deficit like they had on Tuesday.
With the win the Eastern Michigan Eagles improved to 13-8 on the season and 5-3 in the MAC.
The Eagles streaked out to a 17-3 lead eight minutes in. Michael Weathers, Wright and junior forward Logan McLane all battled back with their own baskets before subs came in to assist.
Junior guard Abdoulaye Harouna made two free throws to bring the RedHawks within five at 12:44 — the closest they would come to catching the Eagles.
EMU’s offense, including sophomore forward James Thompson IV led their 20-11 run and at the end of the half, the RedHawks were down 41-27.
“Well I mean, I thought from a physical standpoint, they absolutely physically and strength-wise dominated us. I thought that was clear earlier in the game but as the game went on that became clear,” Cooper said. “Obviously, we didn’t make any shots and we turned the ball over entirely too much against that team.”
Miami couldn’t find their feet at the start of the second half as EMU scored the first six points of the half. The Eagle’s lead was never lower than 12 points for the rest of the game and Miami ultimately lost 74-57.
Miami’s McLane had 16 points and EMU’s Thompson would end with 20 points and 26 rebounds for a respectable double-double.
Though the first half showed Miami’s lack of offensive production, they were close to tying EMU in the second with the RedHawks’ 30 points to the Eagles’ 33.
“It took us a little while to get adjusted to their zone,” McLane said. “And it too us too long.”
Today, the Red and White head to Bowling Green for another MAC matchup at 7 pm on ESPN3 and then return home on Saturday for a 3:30 pm game against Kent State.