Senior Night didn’t go as planned for the Miami men’s basketball team (15-16, 8-10) as the RedHawks fell to rival Ohio Bobcats 75-66 at Millett Hall on Friday. The game served as the regular-season finale for both teams.
“I thought we started the game out okay,” Miami head coach Jack Owens said. “But we did not execute in the second half the way we needed to to win the game.
MU’s only seniors, forwards Rod Mills and Logan McLane, were both in the starting lineup for Senior Night. It was Mills’ first start of the season.
“They’ve meant a lot to our team,” freshman guard Nike Sibande said. “Being seniors, head guys, giving us advice, especially the young guys coming in. Giving us tips and talking us through stuff that we’ve never been through before.”
The Bobcats (14-16, 7-11 MAC) dominated the glass, besting Miami in rebounding 38-26 and second-chance points 12-2.
“[Ohio] did a good job crashing the glass,” Owens said. “With a team like that, if you give them another opportunity on the offensive end after they get an offensive rebound, you’re going to probably give up an open three or they’re going to put you on defense for another 30 seconds.”
The Bobcats won the opening tip-off and scored the first five points of the game on a mid-range jumper by senior guard Mike Laster and then a three pointer from junior guard Jordan Dartis.
The Red and White opened up their scoring with a McLane layup just over two minutes into the game. After surrendering an OU layup, the RedHawks battled back, taking the lead with a 6-0 run to make it 8-7.
The two teams traded the lead nine times in a first half that also featured eight ties. The biggest advantage for either team was five. Ohio held a five-lead under two minutes into the game with a score of 7-2. Miami held two five-point leads, first at 30-25 with five minutes remaining in the half, and then again, 35-30, in the period’s final minute.
The ‘Hawks were up 35-32 at halftime.
Laster kicked off the second-half scoring with a layup, cutting Ohio’s deficit to one. Miami responded on its ensuing possession with a triple from sophomore forward Bam Bowman, bumping Miami’s advantage up to 38-34.
A three from Dartis gave the Bobcats their first lead since the 7:14 mark in the first half.
After draining one trey in the first, Dartis caught fire in the second, making four of his five second-half attempts.
“Dartis really hurt us,” Owens said. “When they went on that [13-1] run, he made some big-time plays.”
With the RedHawks leading 51-48, Dartis led Ohio on a 13-1 stretch that put the Bobcats ahead 61-52 with under nine minutes to play.
Miami didn’t recover, never again pulling within less than four points of the lead.
Ohio outscored the RedHawks 8-3 in the final three minutes of the contest to solidify a 75-66 win.
Sibande notched a career-high 23 points in the loss, while freshman forward Dalonte Brown recorded a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double.
Darrian Ringo tallied five steals and moved past Ron Harper for second on Miami’s all-time single-season steals list. Ringo now has 85 steals during his junior campaign — three more than Harper’s 82 swipes from 1985.
Laster and Dartis dropped 22 and 21 points, respectively, to lead the Bobcats. Junior forward Doug Taylor corralled a team-high nine rebounds.
Miami now turns its attention to the Mid-American Conference tournament. The seventh-seeded RedHawks will look for revenge when they host tenth-seeded Ohio in a first-round matchup Monday. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tip-off at Millett Hall and will be broadcast on ESPN3.