OXFORD, Ohio - Placing four scorers in double figures, paced by a career-high 21 points from freshman guard Reggie Johnson, the Miami University men's basketball team led from start to finish en route to a 76-58 victory over James Madison Saturday afternoon at Millett Hall. The RedHawks improved to 3-2 on the year with their second straight win, both over Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) foes, while the Dukes fell to 1-4 on the season.
Johnson's 21 points marked the most by a RedHawk this year while junior guard Quinten Rollins notched his first career double-double with 10 points and a career-high 10 assists. Junior forward Jon Harris added 15 points and a career-high eight rebounds for Miami while fellow junior forward Will Felder chipped in 12 points, matching his season high, and seven rebounds, five of which came in the first half.
"It kind of came as I went along," Johnson said. "They went into that zone, so there were a lot of gaps and I was able to get a few early open looks that kind of got me going. I just came out and stayed aggressive and my teammates found me."
The RedHawks shot a season-best 49 percent for the game, going 25-for-51 from the floor, including hitting a season-high-tying nine 3-pointers on 23 attempts (39.1 percent). Miami held JMU to just 38.3 percent shooting, including only 33 percent in the second half, while outrebounding the Dukes, 35-28. The 'Hawks totaled 19 assists on their 25 field goals.
Miami stormed out of the gate to a 9-0 lead just over a minute into the contest, hitting its first three shots, including an old-fashioned three-point play from Harris and triples from Johnson and junior forward Bill Edwards, who left the game soon after with a knee injury. After a pair of Dukes buckets by Rayshawn Goins, the RedHawk lead ballooned to 22-4 with just under 13 minutes left in the first half as Miami went on a 13-0 run with Johnson, Rollins and Felder combining for all 13 points.
A jumper by Felder with 9:07 remaining gave Miami its largest lead of the half at 26-7, but JMU then started to chip away. The Dukes went on a 13-2 run over the next 3:07, with Devon Moore scoring 11 of the points for James Madison, to cut the deficit to eight at 28-20. A Harris trey ended the spurt and restored the RedHawks' lead back in double digits. He added a free throw and another trifecta as part of a 9-1 outburst that give Miami a 37-21 lead with two minutes to play in the period.
JMU scored the final five points of the half capped by a fastbreak floater by Moore at the buzzer to make it a 37-26 ballgame at halftime. Harris led the 'Hawks with 10 points at the break on 3-of-4 shooting while Miami was 12-for-25 from the floor over the first 20 minutes as a team, including hitting five 3-pointers. Moore had 15 points at the break to lead the Dukes, shooting a perfect 5-for-5 in the half, however JMU committed 10 turnovers in the opening period and finished with 15 in the game, which Miami converted into 20 points.
The second half opened with end-to-end action as the teams traded baskets. Johnson scored 10 of Miami's first 14 points to start the second stanza, including two triples, the second of which boosted the RedHawk lead to 16 at 51-35 with less than 15 minutes left in the game. A free throw by Andre Nation capped a 9-3 spurt by the Dukes to get JMU within 10 but again Harris came up with a clutch triple to end the draught.
James Madison once more closed within 10 with 7:29 remaining on a 3-pointer by Ron Curry but a Johnson trey and four points from Felder bumped the lead back to 17 at 66-49 with 6:15 left in the contest. The Dukes would get no closer than 14 the remainder of the game with junior guard Allen Roberts adding five points down the stretch as Miami closed out the 76-58 victory.
"Every home game brings confidence and you start to understand how important they are and how you have to protect home court," said Miami head coach John Cooper. "You can't win championships without learning that."
Moore finished with 17 points to lead JMU while Goins had 14 points and seven rebounds for the Dukes, who went 17-for-28 from the free throw line. The 'Hawks were 17-of-22 from the charity stripe.
The RedHawks return to the court Saturday, Dec. 1 with a road contest at IPFW at 7 p.m. which begins a four-game road trip for Miami. The 'Hawks are back in Millett Hall on Dec. 22 against Illinois-Chicago.