Men’s basketball lost their regular season finale 69-55 on Friday evening to Ohio University. The loss put them as the twelfth seed in the Mid-American Conference, and today the RedHawks face the Western Michigan Broncos in the first round of the playoffs.
Miami ended the season with an overall record of 11-20, a MAC record of 4-14, a 10-8 record at home and a 1-12 record away. The OU Bobcats finished as the No. 2 seed in the MAC with an overall record of 19-10, a MAC record of 11-7, a 12-4 record at home and a 7-6 record away.
The RedHawks started their last game with a good jumper from junior forward Rod Mills Jr. but the following six minutes were offensively quiet for the Red and White. The Bobcats took advantage and grew a five-point lead until a three from Redshirt sophomore guard Jake Wright made it 9-7 with 13:24 left in the half.
Wright tied the score first at 11 with 9:23 left and then at 15 two minutes later. OU would score four more times before freshman guard Michael Weathers countered with a layup to make it 21-17.
The half ended 30-19 after OU took three trips to the foul line and outscored Miami 6-1 in the final two minutes.
The Bobcats started the second half with two threes and a layup to push their lead to 17. Miami countered to cut their deficit back to 11, but OU responded to put the lead back to 17 with 12:55 left in the game.
Miami couldn’t match OU until Michael Weathers and freshman forward Marcus Weathers made a 9-2 run to bring the score to 59-49 with 3:05 left to go. The Weathers would add four more points to cut the Bobcats’ lead to seven with a minute and a half left in the game.
OU would double that lead and end with a 14-point, 69-55 victory. The Bobcats rebounded 49 times to Miami’s 29, but the RedHawks shot 39.6 from the paint compared to OU’s 35.6 percent. Though the RedHawks were outshot 30-19 in the first half, the second half was closer at 39-36.
Miami was led with 17 points from Michael Weathers and 13 from Wright. Marcus Weathers would come close to a double-double with nine points and 10 rebounds. OU’s freshman forward Jason Carter led his team with 16 points and 17 rebounds for a double-double.
Miami now looks to their game against Western Michigan tonight at 7:30 p.m. in Kalamazoo, Mich. WMU ended their season at 15-15 overall, 11-7 in the MAC and 12-2 at home. The last time the two teams played, Miami lost 72-55 on Feb. 7.
“They stay in character and they don’t get outside of themselves,” Cooper said. “You have to be solid in what you do — you can’t get out of character.”
In the MAC tournament, Miami is 39-30 all-time and 3-1 against WMU. Last year, the RedHawks upset Ball State in the first round only to lose against Buffalo, the reigning conference champions.
“You want them to be able to go out and you want them to be able to play relaxed as much as possible. [We’re] encouraging them and letting them know we’ve got good players; we’ve got a good team,” Cooper said. “Of course, they’re young still, everyone knows that. At this time of year, especially at the end of the season the freshman are essentially sophomores. What you’re hoping is that a lot of the mistakes you’re seeing earlier, and even during conference play, you’re trying to minimize those things and go out and execute the game plan.”