OXFORD, Ohio-The Miami University men's basketball team kicked off a three-game homestand Wednesday night against Ohio, but the Bobcats were the ones to take home a victory, defeating the RedHawks 74-62. Junior forward Will Felder had a strong night with a game-high 19 points and team-high 10 rebounds, but it wasn't enough to take down the rivals from Athens.
When the game started it was all Felder, who opened up scoring with a big dunk and followed that up with an offensive rebound and a layup on the next possession. After an Ohio basket, Felder answered with a move in the low post to make the score 6-2. Junior guard Allen Roberts got in on the scoring, accounting for Miami's next five points to make the score 11-7 less than six minutes into the half. The Bobcats quickly responded and tied up the game on a three by D.J. Cooper, the first of three straight Ohio treys that led to an 18-12 Bobcat lead.
Baskets from freshman guard Geovonie McKnight and junior guard Josh Sewell cut the RedHawk deficit to two, 18-16, but the shots stopped falling for Miami long enough for Ohio to add to its lead. With a little over eight minutes until halftime, the Bobcats' lead reached seven, 25-18. Roberts then made the first RedHawk bucket in nearly three minutes, a 3-pointer, which was followed by a monstrous block by Felder that put the crowd on its feet.
The little momentum swing was not enough to reclaim the lead, however, and Miami entered halftime down 36-29 after a shot from D.J. Cooper just before the horn sounded. Roberts led all scorers with 12 points in the first half, with Felder adding nine points.
Sophomore guard Will Sullivan led the RedHawks in rebounds for the first half with four, and Ohio's Ivo Baltic led all players with five. Miami did outrebound the Bobcats 15-10, but shot just 40 percent from the field compared to Ohio's 56 percent.
Felder got the second half going with a pair of free throws, but the Bobcats took advantage of some great shooting to go on a 12-3 run, giving them a 48-34 lead just 3:30 into the second half. Two free throws from Roberts chipped away a little at the Bobcat lead, but they responded with 10 straight points to make the score 58-36, apparently blowing the game wide open.
The RedHawks came back with a 10-2 run, led by Felder and McKnight, to cut in to Ohio's lead a little, bringing the score to 60-46. Despite that, Miami just could not regain enough momentum to cut its deficit to single digits. The clock hit zeros with a final score of 74-62 in favor of Ohio.
Felder's double-double of 19 points and 10 rebounds was the headline for the RedHawks, and McKnight ended up with 11 points, a new career-high for the freshman. Roberts was the other Miami player to end up in double figures with 14 points. Cooper was the Bobcats' leading scorer with 17 points, with Nick Kellogg and Baltic adding 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Each team grabbed 36 rebounds on the night, but Miami did hold an advantage in offensive rebounds of 15-8. The biggest difference came from behind the arc, where Ohio shot nearly 50 percent to Miami's 17 percent.
Miami returns to action Saturday against Ball State. Tip-off is set for 3 p.m.