OXFORD, OH -- Michael Weathers scored 10 of his game-high 19 points down the stretch Thursday to lead the Miami RedHawks over Tennessee Tech, 66-58 at Millett Hall.
Weathers, who played 28 minutes while coming back from an illness earlier in the week, provided all 10 Miami points in a 10-2 spurt to close out the contest. The two teams were tied at 56-all before MU’s decisive run.
It was the . . .
"I thought we came out and started the game pretty well," Miami head coach John Cooper said. "Probably after the first six minutes, boy did we go into a tailspin. We lost our rhythm; a couple kids got into foul trouble ... and that affected us. ... Certainly, they (Tech) played better. ... We were just in survival mode."
Each team broke 50 percent shooting from the field over the opening 20 minutes. Tennessee Tech hit 13 of 24 (54.2%) overall, and 5 of 10 (50%) from distance. The hosts made 14 of 27 (51.9%) from the field and 6 of 13 (46%) on three-balls.
The shooting touch went cold when play resumed and neither team scored until Tech’s Rogers hit a trey at 16:45. Miami got its first post-intermission field goal at 16:02 when Abdoulaye Harouna drained a triple from the corner and made it a four-point play after converting his foul shot.
The next MU bucket didn’t come until 13:27, when Milos Jovic scored on a driving layup. Tennnessee Tech, however, failed to take advantage of the Miami dry spell and led by a narrow 43-42 following Jovic’s score.
The Golden Eagles would make just six field goals while shooting 20.7 percent from the field in the second half. They were 3 of 12 in trey attempts. Miami was 9 of 27 (33.3) percent from the floor and 2 of 11 (18.2%) outside the arc in the final period.
The visitors inched out to a six point lead (48-42) with 12:01 left, but MU fought back to one-point deficits twice before taking a 52-51 lead on two Dion Wade free throws at the 7:20 mark. Miami would not trail again, pushing its advantage to five points, 56-51.
"I thought Jake Bischoff gave our team some energy," Cooper said. "I put him in for that four minute stretch, and he seemed to settle us down offensively."
Aleksa Jugovic sank a 3-point goal at 5:32 and Kajon Mack converted two free throws for the game’s fifth and final tie. Jugovic’s triple, however, was the Eagles last field goal, and their only two subsequent points came on a pair of charity tosses with five ticks left. Weathers, meanwhile, was slicing through TTU’s defense for 10 points.
"My teammates kept telling me to be aggressive and quite passing up easy looks," Weathers said. "They put the ball in my hands for a reason, and they give me trust."
Besides Weather’s 13-second half points, a couple other things helped Miami prevail.
The RedHawks were soundly beaten on the boards before intermission as Tennessee Tech owned a 20-9 advantage. Head coach John Cooper impressed that disparity on his RedHawks at halftime, and MU out-rebounded TTU 24-20 in the second period.
"Basically, the whole (halftime) talk was we didn't rebound at all, ... so that was our main focus -- to rebound and bring energy," junior forward Logan McLane said.
"A couple times late in the game, we chaged defenses, and that seemed to affect them," Cooper noted.
MU also registered seven blocks – five coming from the Weathers twins – Marcus (3) and Michael (2). The pair had three blocks over the final 1:38 as Miami pulled away.
Joining Michael Weathers (19) in double figures were McLane and Jake Wright. The latter provided all 11 points before halftime, hitting all three of his triple attempts and going 4 of 5 from the field over the opening 20 minutes. McLane just missed a double-double, scoring 12 points and grabbing all nine of his rebounds in the second half. He was 5 of 8 from the field overall and 2 of 4 on trey attempts.
Two Tennessee Tech players reached double figures. Rogers and Jugovic each owned 14 points. Mason Ramsey chipped in nine points, all before halftime. "Ramsey was really a factor in the first half," Cooper said. "I thought we did a better job" on him in the second period.
Miami has one non-conference game remaining. It will host Olivet at 7 p.m. ET, Thursday, Dec. 29. The RedHawks open MAC play at home Jan. 3 against Northern Illinois. That is one of just two home games in Miami’s first six MAC contests.