On Friday night, Miami men’s basketball took on Toledo in front of a roaring crowd at Millett Hall, but fell 73-67 to the Rockets. A game nationally televised on CBS Sports Network, the matchup was marked by the momentous occasion of Wally Szczerbiak’s return to Oxford.
Szczerbiak, a former NBA sixth overall draft pick, brought in a crowd of 3,500 plus to Millett Hall.
The ‘Hawks opened the contest with a deep Dalonte Brown three at 19:10 which elicited a massive roar from the rowdy crowd. However, the ‘Hawks were quite shaky from there after in the first half, going 1-of-10 from behind the arc. In addition, the ‘Hawks couldn’t find any luck in the paint as Toledo’s 6’11’’ sophomore center Luke Knapke proved difficult to score on — he would finish the contest with five blocks.
Toledo, led by MAC Player of the Year contender senior Tre’Shaun Fletcher and three point specialist junior forward Nate Navigato, were instrumental in leading the Rockets to a 33-22 halftime lead as the ‘Hawks struggled to gain momentum on the offensive side of the ball.
However, the Hawks’ gained footing on offense and at 15:45 of the second half, junior guard Darrian Ringo made an acrobatic layup, again eliciting roars, cutting Toledo’s lead to three. This was the highlight of a 12-2 run for the ‘Hawks during the first six minutes of play of the second half.
In addition, freshman guard Nike Sibande had made a deep three to tie the game at 39 apiece.
During the ensuing possession, the ‘Hawks were able to erase the 11-point halftime deficit and take a 41-40 lead. Unfortunately for the RedHawks, the Toledo offense would roar back to life, as the Rockets began to incrementally pull away.
Miami stayed close, but a series of key threes by junior guard Jaelan Sanford propelled the Rockets to keep control of the matchup. The ‘Hawks had chances late in the game, but critical fouls by Sibande at the 2:35 mark and by senior forward Logan McLane, when their team was down two-possessions, all but assured Toledo (18-7, 10-2 Mid-American Conference) the victory.
The ‘Hawks (13-12, 6-6 MAC) next take on Eastern Michigan in Ypsilanti tonight at 7 p.m.