Four RedHawks scored in the double digits to help the Miami University men’s basketball team to a 72-59 win against the Mid-American Conference West division leader Northern Illinois University on Saturday afternoon at home.
The win snapped Miami’s 10-game losing streak, which had been its worst skid since 1932-1933.
Senior guard Geovonie McKnight led the ’Hawks with 18 points. Sophomore forward Rod Mills and sophomore guard Ali Barnes scored 11 points each, while sophomore guard Dion Wade added 10 points.
“The simple difference today is that we were able to answer the run,” head coach John Cooper said. “We’ve had so many instances during this season where a team makes a run, we get a good shot, we miss it … there comes a point in any game where as much as you want to defend and have your defense carry you, you still have to be able to make a shot.”
MU improves to 7-14 overall (1-7 MAC), while NIU stays atop of the conference with a 16-5 overall record (5-3 MAC).
Wade blocked five shots, which ties for fifth on Miami’s single-game list.
Senior guard Eric Washington missed his second straight game with a lower leg injury. When his replacement, sophomore guard Zach McCormick, left the game late in the first half with an injury after taking a charge, Barnes ran the point for most of the second half. Barnes nailed three 3-pointers in the first three minutes of the second half.
As a team, the RedHawks hit a season-best 10 3-pointers.
“There were multiple points in the game where our energy could have wilted, but it didn’t,” Cooper said. “We were able to do something on the other end offensively, we were able to stick together.”
NIU freshman Marshawn Wilson tied a career-high with 24 points and junior Aaric Armstead added 19, but the Huskies shot 34 percent as a team.
Miami shot 46 percent from the field and held a 34-31 edge in rebounding.
Miami travels to Eastern Michigan University (10-11 overall, 2-6 MAC) Tuesday night.
EMU has lost five straight and is 7-3 at home this season.
Four EMU players average double figures in scoring. Freshman center James Thompson IV averages 15.6 points per game and ranks second nationally in field goal percentage (.697) and 10th nationally in rebounds per game (11).
As a team, Eastern Michigan ranks second nationally in steals per game (10.3), and sixth in forced turnovers (17.3).
A win Tuesday would give Miami its first road win of the season and back-to-back wins for the first time since Dec. 13 and 15. The ’Hawks haven’t won at EMU since Jan. 19, 2013.
Tipoff is 7 p.m. Tuesday in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Addition to original post: Eric Washington will not play in Tuesday’s game. He is serving a one-game suspension for violation of team policies.