OXFORD, Ohio – Even at this early stage of the season, it can be a good sign when a team knocks off an undefeated opponent. The Miami RedHawks did that Sunday, coming back in the second half to defeat Northeastern 67-61 at Millett Hall.
The Huskies, who reached the NCAA tournament last year, were off to a 4-0 start this season. Two of the wins came Friday and Saturday as part of the Men Against Breast Cancer Challenge being hosted by Miami. The RedHawks won their first game, but faltered Saturday against Florida Atlantic.
Two issues undermined Miami in the loss to FAU: A lack of rebounds and a lack of free throws. The RedHawks improved to varying degrees in both areas Sunday.
Although Northeastern owned a 33-27 rebounding advantage against MU, the RedHawks were aggressive enough on the boards to keep a strong Huskies lineup from doing more damage. Miami also got back to the free throw line, converting 21 of 29. That was nearly twice the charity stripe production of the previous day (11 of 16).
Both teams made 10 field goals in the first half, but on a day when treys just didn’t want to fall, NU hit 2 of 12 three-ball attempts before intermission and Miami went 0 for 7. The Huskies also had one more free throw and went into the break with a 32-29 lead.
Northeastern was able to expand that lead early in the second period. Two free throws by Quincy Ford at 14:52 gave the Huskies their biggest lead of the game – nine points at 42-33.
Miami turned up the pressure, and two steals helped fuel an 8-0 run that pulled the hosts within one. The RedHawks had nine thefts on the day.
Ford hit a three pointer, but Washington responded with two treys – Miami’s only points from beyond the arc all day. The second gave MU a brief 47-45 lead until Anthony Green scored on a dunk to tie things. Washington then hit a jumper at 6:02 to put Miami in front for good.
Miami quickly added six more points to stretch its advantage to seven before David Walker hit two free throws and a layup.
Walker led Northeastern with 21 points, including 9 of 10 on free throws and 2 of 7 on threes. All things considered, Miami coach John Cooper was relatively satisfied with his team’s defense. Walker had 19 points Friday night and exploded for 30 against Lipscomb on Saturday. Upon completion of Sunday’s game, he was named the event’s Most Valuable Player.
Joining Walker in double figures for Northeastern were Ford (14) and Zach Stahl (12).
Three points, however, was as close as the Huskies were going to get. McKnight (5) and Zach McCormick (4) accounted for all Miami’s points in a 9-2 run that left the RedHawks with a double digit lead, 63-53. and just 55 seconds remaining. The spread came in handy as MU missed four out of eight free throws down the stretch. Still, it was enough to hold off the Huskies.
Miami shot 57.1 percent (12/21) in the second half and owned a 46.8 percent mark for the game. NU made 10 of 26 for 38.5 percent after intermission. It converted on 39.2 percent on the day.
Miami returns to action Tuesday when it hosts IPFW.