The RedHawks once again got off to a slow start as they failed to score for over seven minutes during one first half stretch.
“We’ve got to get that part figured out,” MU coach John Cooper said of the latest scoring drought to afflict the RedHawks.
Wright State was able to take advantage by going to Raiders guard Grant Benzinger. The 6-3 freshman got the hot hand during Miami’s struggles, hitting all 11 of his game points while WSU built a 17-5 cushion.
Benzinger, who hit all four of his shots, including three triples, was one of four Raiders to reach double figures on the evening. J.T. Yoho posted a double-double, leading the hosts with 18 points and also pulling down 11 of the Raiders 30 rebounds. Joe Thomasson chipped in 12 points – all in the second half to help hold off the rallying RedHawks. Michael Karena, a 6-10 junior center, added 10.
Miami was led by Geovonie McKnight’s 15 points on 7-of-10 from the floor and 2-of-2 at the line. Junior point guard Eric Washington netted 16 points (6-of-9 from the floor, 1 trey, and 3-of-3 at the stripe). Senior guard Will Sullivan added 15 points – all from behind the arc as he helped Miami pull within four points twice down the stretch. No other Miami player had more than four points.
A drive by Washington at 9:02 of the first half was the third Miami field goal. The RedHawks got three more field goals, along with a pair of free throws the rest of the stanza. Their 6-of-22 (27.3%) from the floor was far off Wright State’s 13-of-22 (59.1%) performance.
After owning a 30-16 advantage at the break, WSU kept Miami at a comfortable distance for much of the second half. The Raiders’ biggest lead came with 4:41 remaining following a Thomasson layup. That left the hosts in front 54-38 (16 points).
Guard Willie Moore, who scored 14 against Dayton and 24 in a loss at IPFW over the last two games, got a Miami rally going with his only three points of the night against WSU. McKnight, Washington and Sullivan (3) followed with field goals, while Washington finished the burst with a pair of free throws to bring MU within five at 56-51.
Miami twice trailed by four points, with the last being at 63-59, but the RedHawks were unable to score again and Wright State made 5-of-6 tries at the free throw line to put the game away.
Miami will attempt to end its current losing skid when it hosts Longwood Wednesday (7 p.m. ET). The Lancers are 3-7 overall and 0-5 on the road. Following that, Miami takes on No. 12 Ohio State Dec. 22 (6 p.m. ET) in Columbus.