Miami University’s men’s basketball team was unable to snap a four-game losing streak Thursday night, falling to Kent State University 74-62.
The Golden Flashes came into the game with a record of 13-3 and on a streak of winning the past 10 of their 11 games.
Following a torrid start in which the Golden Flashes sank their first four shots against a weak Miami man-to-man defense, the RedHawks lost junior Michael Bramos who picked up two quick fouls just 5:11 into the first half.
Without Bramos, the ‘Hawks’ second-leading scorer for the season, the RedHawks struggled to find offense, as senior Tim Pollitz scored 11 of the teams 23 first half points. The half ended with the Golden Flashes on top with a commanding 39-23 lead while making 70 percent of their shots opposed to the RedHawks’ 41 percent.
“We weren’t in our spots on defense,” said junior Kenny Hayes. “Any team that shoots 70 percent anywhere is going to have an advantage over you. We gotta pick it up in practice. It seems like we work harder in practice than in the games and we gotta take what we do in practice into the games. We’re just giving up easy baskets against all the opponents.”
The Golden Flashes came out hot again in the second half, extending their lead to more than 20 and taking complete control of the game, while the RedHawks managed two points through the first five minutes. A valiant attempt at a comeback was made by Miami, mounting a run to cut the lead to eight, at 66-58 with just over a minute left in the game.
“I thought we got a lot of energy off the bench,” Hayes said. “I didn’t play that much in the second half, but I was still cheering my teammates on and I got a lot of energy from Carl (Richburg) and Dwight (McCombs). When coach put me back in I felt that I couldn’t go in there and just mess up the energy we had, so I had to come in and bring in some type of energy for our team, but it was too late, so I think we need to play that way all the time.”
In a game where the two leading scorers for the RedHawks assumed their normal scoring duties-Bramos scored 23 points while Pollitz scored 18-the home team was unable to find many other players to help shoulder the load. Hayes chipped in with 16 points, helping to fuel the comeback-yet it proved not to be enough.
When all was said and done, Bramos, Pollitz and Hayes had scored 57 of the RedHawks’ 62 points.
“Anytime that happens, you’re probably not going to win many games that way,” Pollitz said. “I wouldn’t talk negative about any of my guys, but somehow, some way, we just didn’t execute well enough on the offensive side. If you execute the way we’re supposed to, other guys get shots too. Anytime that happens, you’re pretty much not going to come out on top, particularly against Kent State.”
Bramos managed to score over 20 points for the first time since his 36-point outburst in a loss to the University of Dayton Nov. 28. However, he appeared to aggravate his lingering ankle injury, as he needed to be helped off the floor with eight seconds left grimacing in pain. His injury will be re-evaluated Friday.
“I don’t think the game was ever in doubt,” Miami Head Coach Charlie Coles said. “What happened was we’re having a tough time guarding anybody. They shot 70 percent the first half, and this is the highest field goal percentage that I think we’ve had since Herb Sendek’s first year, ’93-’94, and when I first came here. With us, I’m at a loss because I don’t think there’s any one position where we guard very well. They’re getting the inside baskets on us like crazy, so that’s tough.”
The RedHawks have now dropped five straight games, digging themselves into a 0-3 hole within the MAC.
Next on the schedule for Miami is another home game against the University at Buffalo 2 p.m. Sunday.