DAYTON — Down 21 at the half, the Miami University men’s basketball team came all the way back to take a two-point lead before ultimately falling, 89-87, on the road at Wright State Tuesday evening, Nov. 15. The RedHawks fall to 1-1 on the season, while the Raiders improve to 2-0.
Wright State hit eight 3-point baskets in the first half as it built a 53-32 halftime lead. Miami responded with an 8-for-10 performance from behind the arc in the second half as it outscored the Raiders 55-36 during the period.
“Obviously it was a tale of two halves,” said head coach John Cooper. “We went through a stretch in the first half where we just got of our offense and just weren’t executing. Then in the second half we made some shots, but most importantly we started executing. We did the little things we needed to do so we put ourselves right there at the end.”
Junior forward Rod Mills, Jr. and redshirt sophomore guard Jake Wright led the RedHawks with 17 points each. Mills was 6-for-9 from the field, while Wright helped lead the comeback attempt with a 5-for-8 performance from behind the arc.
It stayed tight early as junior guard Zach McCormick, freshman center Darius Harper and Mills each hit jumpers to keep Miami in the contest. With 9:59 left in the half Mills drained a shot to pull the `Hawks to within one at 21-20. Wright State then went on an 18-2 run as its offense started heating up from behind the arc. A jumper by Harper and a three-pointer from McCormick closed Miami to within 12 at 39-27 with 4:57 to go, but a 14-6 closing stretch by the Raiders sent WSU into the break leading 53-32.
Miami came out executing right from the start in the second half. After Mills hit a pair of free throws, Wright, redshirt junior guard Dion Wade and junior guard Abdoulaye Harouna each drained triples as part of a 14-0 run in the first 5:33 of the period to make it 53-46. Back-to-back layups from McCormick and freshman guard Michael Weathers made it a five-point contest at 55-50. A three-pointer from Mills pulled the RedHawks to within two at 59-57 with 9:31 to go.
Miami came all the way back when a layup by junior forward Logan McLane followed by a jumper from Mills gave the Red and White a 63-62 lead. It was their first advantage since the first minute of the game. The lead changed three times until a triple from McCormick made it 68-66 with 6:33 left.
An 8-3 run by Wright State put it back on top, 74-71. Wright promptly tied it with another triple at the 4:55 mark. Tied at 80, Michael Weathers hit two free throws to put the `Hawks ahead. The Raiders scored the next four, but a layup from Weathers retied it at 84. WSU drained four free throws to push the advantage back to four, but a triple from Wright made it 88-87 with 10 seconds left. After a RedHawk foul, WSU hit only one free throw to give Miami one more chance, but the tying shot came up just short as the Raiders escaped with the 89-87 victory.
The RedHawks shot 51.7 percent (31-for-60) from the floor, including an 11-for-19 (57.9 percent) performance from behind the arc. Wright State shot 28-for-61 (45.9 percent) from the field and 11-for-29 (37.9 percent) from three-point range.
Weathers finished with 14 points, five rebounds, five assists, two blocks and a steal in 22 minutes of action. McCormick had 12 points, while Wade finished with seven points and 10 rebounds. For the Raiders, Mark Alstork nearly had a triple-double with 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Miami returns to action as it hosts the Tarkett Sports Classic in Millett Hall over the weekend. The RedHawks will take on Delaware Friday at 7 p.m., Austin Peay Saturday at 3:30 p.m., and Northern Kentucky Sunday at 2 p.m. Opponents not facing Miami that day will face each other in a neutral site game prior to the `Hawks’ contest. All Miami games in the Tarkett Sports Classic will air live on ESPN3.