The Miami University men’s basketball team (11-16, 7-9 MAC) went into the locker room at the half with a two-point lead on the University at Buffalo (18-8, 12-4 MAC).
The lead would not last long, however, as the Bulls stampeded the punch-less ‘Hawks in the second half on their way to a 78-55 win at Alumni Arena.
Miami head coach John Cooper said Miami had no response to several Buffalo scoring runs in the second half.
“We never answered any run they were able to make,” Cooper said. “Our energy level was not good enough. We could not overcome our inefficiencies on the offensive end.”
Buffalo’s senior guard Joshua Freelove scored a career-high 24 points, knocking down six of 10 3-point attempts. He scored 21 points in the second half, headlining Buffalo’s romp over the RedHawks.
“Led by what Josh was able to do scoring 21 in the second half and hitting some big threes really energized our team,” Buffalo head coach Bobby Hurley said.
Senior forward Javon McCrea, a leading contender for Mid-American Conference Player of the Year honors, garnered 13 points and a game-high 13 rebounds.
The first half saw both teams go back and forth on long scoring runs. Miami’s junior guard Will Sullivan hit a 3 with 4:01 remaining in the opening period to give the RedHawks their biggest lead of the game at 27-20.
Buffalo then went on an 8-0 scoring run to take a one-point lead. A 3-pointer by freshman guard Jaryd Eustace with three seconds left on the clock gave the ‘Hawks the momentum and the lead heading into the locker room, 30-28.
It was after that point that things fell apart for the Red and White.
After trading baskets in the opening minutes of the second half, the Bulls used an 11-0 run to take the lead 45-35 with 13:04 remaining. From that point on, they never looked back. A Felder layup pulled Miami within six, 45-39, but that was as close as they would get.
The Bulls scored 50 points in the second half on 68 percent shooting from the floor. Conversely, Miami shot just 39 percent in the final 20 minutes.
With the win, Buffalo clinched at least a share of the MAC East Division title.
The victory also gives them their first season sweep of the RedHawks since the 2008-09 season. The Bulls previously beat Miami Feb. 12 75-62 at Millett Hall.
Miami finishes up its two-game road-stand when it travels to Kent State University (16-13, 7-9 MAC) Tuesday.
The Golden Flashes beat the RedHawks 75-62 Feb. 19 at Millett Hall, largely due hitting 15 of their 26 3-point attempts. Junior guard Kris Brewer flexed his shooting muscles in that game, as he nailed all seven of his 3-point attempts on his way to a game-high 28 points.
Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.