Miami men’s basketball broke a four-game losing skid on Saturday against Central Michigan University. The RedHawks beat the Mid-American Conference opponent 81-76 in an afternoon game at Millett Hall.
Miami powered through in the final minutes to improve to 10-15 overall, 3-9 in the MAC and 10-6 at home. CMU falls to 16-9, 6-6 in the MAC and 5-6 away.
“First, I’m happy for our kids because I thought they played very unselfishly tonight,” head coach John Cooper said. “Quite frankly, after the second half we had last game, they could have come out and laid an egg. It was a testament to their ability, their energy, to come in here and compete and play.”
The RedHawks fell behind early and found themselves at a 10-4 deficit only three minutes into the game. The RedHawks responded so that three more minutes later they had tied the Chippewas at 13-13, only to have CMU respond with an 8-0 run to bring the game to 21-13.
Five points from junior forward Rod Mills Jr. and a layup from freshman guard Michael Weathers brought the RedHawks to close the deficit at 24-22 with seven minutes remaining in the half. The back and forth game continued and CMU countered Miami’s offensive production with several layups and sunk free throws to go up 36-27.
Junior forward Logan McLane had the final six points of the half. McLane put the RedHawks close at 38-35 as they entered the locker room.
“I thought our guys preserved — they were persistent. There were a couple timeouts when our guys were walking over after some breakdowns,” Cooper said. “What was interesting about that was every single time the group came over, they were yelling, ‘next play! next play!’”
McLane started the second half with a basket and and two good free throws to keep the game close. The RedHawks finally found the lead six minutes into the half after a three-pointer from Redshirt sophomore guard Jake Wright. Layups from freshman forward Marcus Weathers and Michael Weathers put the ‘Hawks ahead 52-49 just before the halfway point of the half.
True to the game’s character, CMU countered with a run of their own to take the lead before Miami fought back to go ahead 75-70 with two minutes left. A minute later found the game tied at 76 as the Red and White looked to finish strong.
The Weatherses did just that — a three-pointer from Marcus followed by sunk free throws from Michael and then Marcus secured the 81-76 victory.
“It feels good to get back on the winning truck,” McLane said.
McLane ended with a career high of 29 points. Michael Weathers had 18 points and Wright had 10. Miami made 45.5 percent of their shots from the paint and had effective defense to better CMU’s 40.9 field goal percentage.
The RedHawks also forced 22 turnovers and had a season-high of 14 steals. CMU’s junior guard Marcus Keene was held to 12 points. The Naismith Award candidate for college player of the year previously had 50 points against Miami on the January 21 contest.
“I love it. To stop Marcus Keene and only hold him to 12 points, that’s a number one objective we had going into this game,” Michael Weathers said.
Miami travels to Kent State today to tip off at 7 p.m. The two teams played 10 days ago, and the Flashes won 66-62. Miami is looking for their first road victory.