Men’s basketball lost 79-62 to instate and Mid-American Conference rival, Ohio University on Tuesday evening. The teams traded runs throughout the contest and Miami came up 17 short.
The RedHawks are now 10-18 overall, 3-12 in the MAC and 10-7 at home. The Bobcats improve to 18-8 overall, 10-5 in the MAC and 7-5 away.
“I thought they had a better energy than our guys did. When they went on their runs we didn’t answer them,” head coach John Cooper said.
Millett Hall was loud for a Tuesday evening as the band rallied the students who were scattered throughout five sections. Those who stood, per tradition, waiting for Miami’s first basket had to wait a full two minutes before a dunk from junior forward Logan McLane put Miami on the board.
Freshman guard Michael Weathers tied the game at 4-4 before OU went on a 9-0 run to go ahead 13-4 six minutes into the half. The RedHawks tightened their defense and responded with a 10-1 run of their own to tie the game at 14, halfway through the first half.
Two minutes later, the RedHawks would have their only lead of the game after freshman forward Darius Harper made it 18-17. OU ended the half with a 21-4 run as Miami couldn’t capitalize on offensive opportunities or make the shots they were taking.
The crowd visibly deflated when OU sophomore guard Jordan Dartis ended the half with a three-pointer buzzer beater from almost half-court. Miami went into their locker room down 38-22 with a 32.1 field goal percentage compared to OU’s 53.8 percent.
“It was a game of runs, obviously and they had many more runs and bigger runs. They started off the game and then we were able to get back in it. Then they go on a run there at the end of the first half,” Cooper said. “We missed too many easy opportunities — too many buckets around the rim, too many layup opportunities. Then they make you pay.”
A halftime performance from The Firecrackers, an Ohio jump rope squad, rejuvenated the crowd and students stuck around to see the second half of the contest. It began with a good free throw shot from Michael Weathers, a good jumper from freshman forward Ben Eke Kazee and a layup from freshman forward Marcus Weathers to bring the score to 38-27 two minutes into the half.
The RedHawks would go on a 14-6 run in the next five minutes to cut OU’s lead to three. This would be the closest the Red and White would come to catching OU at 44-41. The Bobcats would outscore the RedHawks 35-21 for the remainder of the game, ending the contest at 79-62.
“You get opportunities and some of the shots are wide open looks and that’s all you can do,” Cooper said. “There were open shots — we didn’t make them. There were shots around the basket that we missed — far too many. We were not able to play through traffic and contact.”
OU rebounded better than Miami did with 37 rebounds compared to the RedHawks’ 27, but Miami won the turnover battle allowing 12 while the Bobcats allowed 17.
Miami shot 22 for 55 from the paint for a field goal percentage of 40 percent. OU bested them and made 30 of 56 shots from the paint for a 53.6 field goal percentage.
McLane had 11 points in the contest and Redshirt sophomore guard Jake Wright and Marcus Weathers had 10 apiece. Michael Weathers had nine points to break the single-season freshman scoring record. The record previously belonged to Trimill Haywood who scored 462 points in the 1986-87 season, Weathers now has 463.
The RedHawks face Bowling Green on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. for fan appreciation and Senior Day honoring guard Jake Bischoff. Only three regular-season games remain before the MAC tournament.
“There’s certainly strides being made. I don’t look at the film and say, ‘we’re not doing anything right,’” Cooper said. “Good teams make you pay.”