MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich.-Behind a 70-61 win at Central Michigan on Saturday evening, Miami University's men's basketball team seized the program's 600th Mid-American Conference win, the most by any MAC program.
Miami (8-12, 3-5) pulled out a tight game, draining 9-of-10 free throws over the final 1:33. Junior guard Allen Roberts poured in 19 points to lead the RedHawks, while junior forward Will Felder added 11 and sophomore guard Will Sullivan chipped in 10.
Miami shot 52.2 percent from the field in the second half after a 34.6 percent shooting effort in the opening 20 minutes.
The Chippewas (9-12, 2-6) opened up a 12-8 lead early in the game, but Miami used a 9-0 flurry off buckets from junior forward Drew McGhee, Sullivan and junior forward Jon Harris along with a free throw from Roberts and two from freshman guard Reggie Johnson to post a 17-12 advantage by the 7:09 mark of the first half.
CMU came back to knot the game 19-19 off a Kyle Randall 3-pointer at the 5:28 mark. Harris sunk a pair of triples down the stretch to push Miami to a six-point lead with 59 seconds to go in the opening half, 29-23. After a missed layup by the Chippewas, Harris came up with a defensive board with 30 seconds remaining. The RedHawks tried to set up for a final shot to end the half, but a bad pass led to a turnover and a foul with five seconds to go, sending CMU's Finis Craddock to the line. He hit one of two free throws and the RedHawks took a 29-24 lead into the half.
The teams went back and forth in the early stages of the second half. Miami was able to extend its lead to six points off a Felder free throw at 18:06, 32-26, and then off a McGhee jumper at 16:17, 34-28. The Chippewas used an 8-2 run, capped by a John Simons 3-pointer, to knot the game at 36 with 13:46 to play. Miami quickly reclaimed the lead when Sullivan leaped up to tap in a missed RedHawk field goal attempt at the 12:54 mark to put Miami up, 38-36. The teams traded buckets, but a three-point play by CMU's Randall handed CMU a 41-40 lead at the 11:43 mark.
After CMU extended its lead to three a few times, Roberts scored the first eight points of a 11-2 Miami run that put Miami up 54-48 with 5:48 to play. The Chippewas closed within two with 2:21 to play off a Randall layup, 59-57, but Roberts came back with a key layup under the basket at 1:52 to put Miami up four, 61-57. Johnson sunk 5-of-6 free throws down the stretch while Felder and junior guard Quinten Rollins each went 2-for-2 from the line over the waning minutes to secure Miami's historic win.
The Chippewas were led by Randall with a game-high 20 points. Blake Hibbits added 12 points and six rebounds for CMU.
Miami continues a two-game road stretch at Toledo on Wednesday, Feb. 6. The RedHawks then return home to host Akron at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9 in the first game of a men's and women's basketball doubleheader against the Zips. It will be Hall of Fame Day where Miami Athletics will honor its six inductees--Dale Cohen (women's tennis), Terry Hoeppner (football coach), PL (Pete) Miller (men's track & field), Ben Roethlisberger (football), Karin Sherr (synchronized skating) and Kyle Voska (golf)--at halftime of the men's game.