OXFORD, Ohio – A strong second-half effort to overcome a 16-point halftime deficit catapulted the Miami University men’s basketball team to their first victory of the season with a 94-87 win over IPFW at Millett Hall on Tuesday night.
Senior forward Will Felder led the RedHawks with a Miami career-high 26 points while junior guard Will Sullivan also notched a career-high 23 points. Sullivan got hot down the stretch with 17 second-half points including four 3-pointers.
After a 10-day hiatus since its last game, Miami (1-4) came out of the gates slowly with IPFW (6-4) jumping out to an early 7-0 lead to start the contest. Sophomore guard Geovonie McKnight broke that early string of points with a layup to give the RedHawks their first score of the night.
Both sides exchanged points from there over the course of the first half but the Mastodons brought out a very strong perimeter shooting effort to slowly widen their lead. IPFW sunk 12 3-pointers over the course of the first half and one last made 3-pointer as time expired from the Mastodons’ Kevin Harden gave them a 52-36 halftime lead.
Miami emerged out of the locker room strong in the second half, starting on an 8-0 run. Over the first 7:18 of the second half, the RedHawks went on a 21-9 run to bring them within four points of the Mastodons. Miami trailed 61-57.
The two sides continued to battle hard and trade points. With IPFW leading 71-66, Sullivan stepped to the line in the bonus for MU, sinking both free throws to bring the RedHawks within three points. Sullivan then knocked down a 3-pointer with 6:15 remaining in the contest to tie it at 71 apiece, the first tie since the beginning of the game.
Sullivan scored 15 points in just over a five-minute span late in the second half. When he hit his third 3-pointer during that stretch, it gave the Red & White their first lead of the night with the score sitting at 79-77 with 3:55 left in the game.
From there, the two teams battled and traded leads before McKnight nailed another 3-pointer to give the RedHawks an 88-87 lead with 1:01 remaining in the contest, a lead they would not surrender again.
IPFW was forced to foul as the clock ran down and Miami hit all six free throws in the final minute of the contest, downing the Mastodons 94-87.
The last time Miami scored 94 points in a game came on Dec. 6, 2008 when they downed Northwestern State 94-66.
Senior center Blake McLimans was not available for tonight’s game against IPFW due to an illness in the family.
Senior guard Quinten Rollins notched four steals on the night, moving into 6th place on the Miami all-time rebounding list. Felder scored over 20-points for the third time as a RedHawk.
Miami hits the road to take on Evansville this Saturday at 2:05 p.m. (ET). Their next home contest will tip-off at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 15, inside Millett Hall.