BY MIKE SMITH
OXFORD, Ohio – The Miami RedHawks haven’t had many opportunities to play with a big lead through the first nine games of this season, but they got some experience in that area Tuesday in a 71-60 victory over the visiting Longwood Lancers at Millett Hall.
The win broke a six-game losing skein for Miami, which raised its record to 3-7 heading into next week’s road game at No. 12 Ohio State. Longwood (3-8) fell for the sixth time in its last seven outing after winning two of its first three.
"We needed a win. It gets some confidence going,| Miami head coach John Cooper said. "It's been a touch stretch (for us), but they continued to work.|
Longwood put four players in double figures, led by guard Quincy Taylor. The senior, who averaged 25.0 ppg. over the Lancers last three contests, managed 16 against the RedHawks. That didn’t come easy as he connected on 6-of-15 from the floor, 2-of-5 from distance and 2-of-4 at the charity stripe. Joining Taylor in double figures were Ryan Badowski (12), Lotanna Nwogobo (11), and Darrion Allen (10). Nwogbo narrowly missed a double-double as he led the visitors in rebounds with nine.
The RedHawks big advantage on the night was in points off turnovers (22-10) as they helped Longwood into 21 turnovers. Miami also had a 28-21 edge in points in the paint, although the visitors out-rebounded MU 38-27.
The RedHawks did much of their damage in two runs- both coming early in each half.
A 14-0 run put MU up 19-3 following a 3-point goal by Jaryd Eustace. It was one of four RedHawk treys during that stretch, with two coming from Washington.
"They started out zoning us, and we were able to get them out of the zone because we were able to ... make the extra pass and knock down shots," Cooper said.
The RedHawks would cool off some on the way to intermission, finishing with 5-of-14 (37.5%) from beyond the arc and 11-of-24 (45.8%) overall.
Longwood, which hit 7-of-20 (35%) from the field and 2-of-7 (28.6%) on treys before the break, managed to cut its deficit to 10. A put-back dunk that would have movws the Lancers within single digits was ruled to be after the buzzer, and Miami led 31-21 at the half.
Taylor’s steal and layup to begin the second half cut the difference to eight points, but senior Will Sullivan’s triple at the other end started a 14-2 Miami burst.
The RedHawks appeared in complete control with a 45-25 lead at 15:42 and began to work the clock. They were still ahead by 18 (53-35) following a tip-in by junior center L.J. Livingston at 12:08. However, the Lancers then began to chip away. Miami, already in the bonus with over 14 minutes left, missed a pair of free throws and five jump shots during an 11-0 Longwood run. Four of the MU shots were trey attempts as the RedHawks made just 2-of-11 in the second half to finish 7-of-25 (28%) from distance on the evening.
"We made them in the first half ... but you can't relax and fall in love with the jump shot. We fell into that trap," said Cooper, who cautioned his squad about too many jumpers. Asked if the RedHawks 25 trey attempts on the night was too many, " he replied," Twenty-five is a lot for us. I've coached a few teams were 25 was a good number, (but) I don't think it is a good number for us unless we are hot.
Longwood knocked it down to seven once more, but Washington’s spinning three-point play in the lane was followed by five straight MU free throws to give Miami a 14-point (68-54) cushion with 1:01 left. The final margin was 11 points.
"The positive thing about their run is that our group weathered the storm, and then we wee able to come back from it and stretch the lead a little bit from there," Cooper said.
Miami returns to action Monday when it travels to Ohio State (6 p.m. ET).