By Win Braswell Senior Staff Writer
The Miami University men’s basketball team saw its second half rally fall short in a 65-58 loss to Eastern Michigan University on Saturday afternoon. Miami now holds a 7-9 (2-2 Mid-American Conference (MAC)) record. The loss snapped the RedHawks 16-game winning streak against the Eagles that dated back to 1998.
For the second consecutive game redshirt junior Will Felder led the RedHawks in scoring with 12 points.
After the Eagles took a 34-19 lead, Miami managed to slice the deficit to 38-25 at the break, after redshirt junior guard Allen Roberts sunk a buzzer beater. The ‘Hawks were unable to stop the Eagles from the floor, allowing the Eagles to shoot 57.7 percent, and 63.3 percent from three point range.
Coming out of the break Eastern Michigan reestablished its 15-point advantage. Miami then put together an 11-0 run that cut the lead down to 40-36. Despite this run, the Eagles answered with more on point shooting and defensive stops to claim a 14-point lead after the 30th minute of action.
Miami made one final push at claiming the win, by going on a 18-6 point run that was capped by a three-pointer by junior forward Jon Harris. It put the RedHawks within two points, the closest they had been since the game was 6-4.
Miami was unable to find the bottom of the net after that, missing basket after basket, while allowing the final five points that would seal the deal for Eastern Michigan.
“There it is… it’s history,” Head Coach John Cooper said. “We did some good things, but we didn’t shoot well enough to get it done.”
Miami was 22-51 from the field, and 25 percent from beyond the arc, but on 24 attempts. Roberts was particularly stifled by the vicious zone defense of Eastern Michigan, shooting a woeful 1-8 from the three-point line.
“It’s frustrating when you don’t make your shots and you practice that over and over,” Roberts said. “Their [two-three] zone really affected us, and teams in their home gym, that’s tough anywhere you go.”
Roberts contributed 11 points, while Harris found his stroke from deep, connecting on three of his four shots. The Eagles’ Darek Thompson led all scorers with 16.
“Last year we went down there, and with 2:11 to go, we were up nine with the ball and lost,” Eagles’ Head Coach Rob Murphy said. “So I was beginning to think there was some kind of jinx or hoax going on that we couldn’t beat Miami. To know they had beaten us 16 straight times leaves a nasty taste in your mouth, and we wanted to erase it.”
Miami now returns to Oxford for a three game stretch that begins with Ohio University.
Ohio holds a 13-5 record on the season and is trying to extend its winning streak to six games. Miami’s defense will be tested, as Ohio is the top team in the nation with assists per game at 19.4.
“I’m not pleased with losing the game, but I’m pleased with the effort,” Cooper said. “It’s an effort that we can continue to build on.”