OXFORD, OH -- After recently struggling with slow starts, the Miami RedHawks on Saturday found themselves dealing with the flip side of a fast start. Miami squandered a 21-point lead before getting a key basket from Rod Mills and free throw from Logan McLane to post a 71-68 victory over IUPUI at Millett Hall.
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Bruno Solomun’s 3-point goal at 14:00 of the final period put the hosting RedHawks up 59-38. That matched a 21-point advantage Miami enjoyed midway through the opening stanza. But while the Jaguars were only able to reduce their deficit to 14 points by intermission, their second half rally pulled them even at 68-all.
Kellon Thomas’ 3-point goal completed . . .
"They trapped Mike (Weathers) and he made a good pass," Mills said. "I was originally thinking maybe the jumper, because (my defender) was coming up, but then he (sagged) back, so I just kept attacking."
Unlike so many missed opportunities during the Jaguars’ massive rally, this shot fell in and MU owned a 70-68 lead.
Cooper went on to indicate he had no problem with going for two points with substantial time (19 seconds) left on the clock. "You don't pass up the (virtual) layup," he said. "Now its on our defense, we we've got to defend."
Darell Comb’s 3-point try with six seconds remaining was off the mark. McLane got the rebound and was quickly fouled. He made the first of two free throws at the other end, leaving 3.3 seconds for the visitors. Matt O’Leary managed to get off a deep three attempt with one second left, but it was well off the mark.
With the win, Miami broke a two game losing streak; both setbacks came on a recent road trip. The most recent was an 81-55 loss Tuesday at Missouri. MU struggled mightily at the beginning of each half in that contest.
Miami held a 20-3 lead Saturday before the Jaguars were able to regroup. It was a 28-7 RedHawks advantage at 11:08 of the first period. However, IUPUI managed to close to 42-28 at the break following D.J. McCall’s tip-in at :22.
"I thought the first half we had terrific ball movement. We were sharing the basketball. We were getting some layups. We were getting the ball inside. We made some shots."
Turnovers proved to be a positive factor for MU in the first half as Miami outscored the visitors 14-9 in points off turnovers. The RedHawks also made 16 of 31 shots from the field (51.6%), while IUPUI hit 11 of 25 (44.0%). MU also doubled up the Jags on 3-point goals, 6-3.
"We lost our aggression," Cooper said, adding," If you get up like that, the way you lose a game is turnovers, defensive breakdowns, rebounding and then not making your free throws. We had a bevy of all of those at some point."
When Kellum Thomas hit a three with 29 seconds left, the teams were tied 68-all. Miami, however, scored the game’s final three points.
Five RedHawks reached double figures. McLane and Michael Weathers led the way with 15 apiece. The latter, who came in averaging a team-high 20.6 ppg, played just six minutes in the first half due to foul issues. McLane was in double figures for the third consecutive game.
MU slipped to 39.3 percent from the field in the second half and hit 2 of 7 threes. The 9 of 15 free throws after intermission was one better than IUPUI’s 8 of 15.
The Jaguars were led by McCall, who hit 6 of 7 from the field on the way to 14 points. Combs, who was limited by fouls in the first half, finished with 13 points. O’Leary, a 6-8 senior averaging 15.2 ppg,, scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Miami returns to action Sunday, Dec. 18 at Central Florida (Noon, ET).