CARBONDALE, Ill.-Miami University's men's basketball team battled Southern Illinois University to overtime, but the RedHawks (8-17) could not pull out the win as the Salukis (12-16) captured a 74-68 overtime decision on Saturday afternoon at SIU Arena in the Ramada Worldwide BracketBuster event.
Freshman guard Reggie Johnson paced the RedHawks with 18 points, while junior guard Allen Roberts chipped in 14 points. Junior forward Jon Harris added nine points and a team-high seven rebounds for the RedHawks.
The Salukis held an early 11-9 edge, but Miami went seven minutes without a point, allowing Southern Illinois to build a 22-9 lead after an 11-0 run. The RedHawks fired back with a 17-3 run over the final five minutes of the opening half and took their first lead off a Roberts triple with two seconds remaining to hand MU a 26-25 advantage going into the half.
Johnson poured in 10 of his 12 first-half points during the late Miami scoring flurry.
Miami continued its momentum early into the second half, extending its run to 22-3 and building its lead to 31-25 by the 18:35 mark of the second half. SIU rallied to take a 39-38 lead off a Jeff Early bucket at the 13:22 mark. Miami quickly reclaimed a two-point edge, 41-39, off a long triple by junior guard Josh Sewell as the shot clock expired at the 12:43 mark.
The teams went back and forth with neither holding more than a two-point lead. Harris snagged a crucial steal on Miami's press with just over three minutes to go and tossed in a layup at 2:54 to put the RedHawks up, 54-52. On SIU's next possession, senior center Vince Legarza hauled in a key defensive rebound. The RedHawks came down the floor and junior forward Will Felder was fouled on a shot attempt and sunk both charity tosses to hand Miami a 56-52 edge with 2:13 to go.
Southern Illinois closed within two off a bucket from Desmar Jackson at 1:13, 56-54. The RedHawks were unable to score on their next possession, but Legarza again came up with a huge defensive board on a missed SIU shot and was quickly fouled. He missed the front end of a one-of-one and gave the Salukis the ball with just over seven seconds to play. SIU's Early drilled a jumper as time expired to send the game to overtime.
The Salukis went on to outscore the RedHawks 18-12 in overtime to capture the win.
Early lead all players with 31 points and 12 rebounds.
Miami returns to Mid-American Conference action when the RedHawks travel to Bowling Green for a 7 p.m. game on Wednesday, February 27.