CLEVELAND—Despite a valiant effort, the No. 8 seed Miami University men’s basketball team lost a hard-fought 63-55 decision to No. 5 seed Ohio University (23-10) in the second round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament at Quicken Loans Arena on Wednesday evening.
Miami was hampered by foul trouble by the first media timeout with senior forward Will Felder picking up two in the first three and a half minutes of play and sophomore guard Geovonie McKnight with two just over four minutes into the game. The foul woes continued for the RedHawks. By the eight-minute mark of the first half, McKnight had three fouls as did senior guard Quinten Rollins.
Despite three starters having to sit significant minutes in the opening half, Miami held tough. Sophomore guard Willie Moore was a sparkplug for the RedHawks in the opening half, scoring 14 of the RedHawks’ 23 first-half points and posting a career-high eight rebounds over the first 20 minutes.
The teams traded punches for the first part of the opening half. Miami took a 14-12 lead off a Moore layup at the 9:46 mark. Ohio, however, fired back with nine unanswered points over the next three minutes. The Bobcats pushed their lead to 27-19 off a Maurice Ndour layup at 3:04, but sophomore forward Brian Oddo knocked down a 3-pointer at 1:57 and Moore sunk the second of two free-throw attempts to put the RedHawks within four heading into the intermission, 27-23.
Miami came out of the gates firing in the second half. A layup by Felder followed by an alley-oop dunk by Felder from junior guard Will Sullivan knotted the game at 27-27 with 17:34 to play. Miami took its first lead since the 12:28 mark of the first half when McKnight scored on a layup to give Miami a 38-36 advantage at 13:36.
A layup off an in-bounds pass followed by a 3-pointer by freshman guard Jaryd Eustace handed Miami a 43-39 lead at the 10:49 mark. Back-to-back 3-pointers by Ohio's Stevie Taylor put the Bobcats ahead 51-47 by the 5:34 mark.
Miami chiseled away and pulled within one off a fastbreak layup by Sullivan at 2:07, 54-53. Ohio pushed its lead to three off a Ndour layup at 1:10, but Miami again closed within one, 56-55, off two McKnight free throws with 38 seconds left. That was as close as Miami got as Ohio closed the game scoring seven unanswered points.
Moore led Miami with 16 points and led all players with a career-high 10 rebounds for his first career double-double. Eustace followed with 15 points, 13 of which came in the second half. Moore and Sullivan each played the whole 40 minutes for the RedHawks.
Nick Kellogg paced Ohio with 20 points.
Miami finishes its season at 13-18.