OXFORD — Following a slow start, Miami University’s men’s basketball team caught fire in the second half, using a 46-point flurry to top Muskingum University, 84-57, Friday afternoon in the 2016-17 season opener at Millett Hall.
The RedHawks were led in scoring by a trio of players making their team debuts. Freshman Michael Weathers scored 21 points, along with seven rebounds, three steals and two blocks. Redshirt sophomore guard Jake Wright also had a solid introduction with 13 points, while freshman Marcus Weathers also posted double-digit scoring with 11 in the game.
As a team, Miami shot 47.6 percent from the field, including five from beyond the 3-point arc. The Red and White grabbed 53 rebounds and tallied double-figures in both blocks and steals.
Scoring was scarce in the early moments of the contest, with Muskingum moving out to an early 10-5 lead at the 13:13 mark of the first half. The RedHawks then responded with a 9-0 run powered by seven quick points from Michael Weathers.
Miami continued to hold off Muskingum baskets, capping off the sequence with a 3-pointer from Wright that gave the RedHawks their largest lead of the half at 29-18 with 7:23 remaining.
The Fighting Muskies soon found their shot and narrowed the RedHawk advantage to four with just over two minutes to play. Following a rapid five-point Miami burst, Fighting Muskies sophomore guard Jalen Paige hit a triple to close the half at 38-32 Miami.
After Muskingum once again cut the deficit to four to open the second half, Miami took control of the game with a 22-4 run that was highlighted by a trio of jumpers from Wright and brought the lead to 60-38 at the 9:32 mark. The RedHawks were also propelled by baskets from junior guard Abdoulaye Harouna, junior forward Rod Mills Jr. and freshman center Darius Harper.
Miami continued the barrage into the later portions of the second half, building a 67-42 lead with 6:18 remaining. By the final media timeout of the afternoon, the RedHawks had amassed a game-high 30-point lead through multiple trips to the foul line by Marcus Weathers and Harouna.
In the final minutes of the game, both teams continued to trade baskets, with senior guard Jake Bischoff scoring the first points of his Miami career.
“Guys were a little over anxious I’d say at the beginning, but I thought there was a point in the middle of the first half where we settled down,” said head coach John Cooper. “Michael Weathers played really well from an offensive standpoint, and we were able to get Jake Wright going. We’ve all got to do a better job of taking care of the ball though.”
The RedHawks will return to action on Tuesday, Nov. 15 as they make the short trip to Dayton, Ohio to face Wright State at 7 p.m. at the Nutter Center. The game will be broadcast on Time Warner Cable, as well as ESPN3.