OXFORD — In its Mid-American Conference opener, Miami University’s men’s basketball team was able to hold off a second-half scoring surge from Northern Illinois University, topping the Huskies, 69-67, Tuesday, Jan. 3, at Millett Hall.
Junior guard Abdoulaye Harouna led the RedHawks with career highs in both scoring with 18 points and 3-pointers with five. Junior forward Rod Mills Jr. also hit a career-high five triples in route to 15 points, while fellow junior forward Logan McLane scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds.
Freshman guard Michael Weathers was also in double figures with 11 points and dished out six assists. As for the team totals, the RedHawks shot 48 percent from the field and 45.8 percent from beyond the arc. They tied a season-high with 18 assists on 24 baskets.
Miami controlled the scoring early on in the first half, pulling out to a 10-4 lead at the first media timeout. Both teams would trade baskets until the Huskies narrowed the lead to 19-18 with 6:50 remaining.
After NIU tied the game at 21, a pair of 3-pointers from Harouna and Mills helped Miami regain a 29-23 lead with just over two minutes to play in the half. The RedHawks closed out the foul-heavy opening half on an 11-3 run and headed to the locker room with a 32-24 advantage. Both teams came out hot to begin the second half, but two Miami 3-pointers kept the lead at six. NIU’s sharp shooting gave them 15 points in the opening three minutes and brought them to within one point at 40-39 with 16:39 left.
The Huskies’ charge eventually led to them taking their first lead of the game at 49-48 at the 11:39 mark. Both teams proceeded to trade scores, with the clutch outside shooting of Mills and Harouna powering the RedHawks’ offense to a 61-59 lead with 5:42 to play.
With just over three minutes remaining, Mills knocked down a vital jumper that gave Miami a 64-61 lead as the stretch run commenced. A NIU 3-pointer made the tally 66-65 with 23 seconds remaining, but freshman forward Marcus Weathers responded by converting on a pair of foul shots.
Despite missing its final three free throws, Miami secured the victory as a last-second NIU jumper fell short.
The RedHawks now turn their attention to their MAC road opener against Toledo on Saturday, Jan. 7 at 4 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.