Miami RedHawks head coach John Cooper expected the Lipscomb Bisons to come out firing, and they didn’t disappoint. Neither did the RedHawks.
Keyed by a pressure defense, Miami came back from a seven-point second half deficit to post a 70-68 victory Friday night at Millett Hall. It was the first if three games in as many days for Miami as it plays host in the Coaches Against Breast Cancer Challenge.
Lipscomp made 9 of 18 trey attempts on the way to a 38-36 halftime lead. “We knew they like to shoot the ball,” Cooper said. But “early in the first half, I didn’t think we did as great a job as we needed as far as getting to some of their shooters.”
For its part, Miami (2-1) made good on 5 of 9 treys in the opening period, but it also made just 5 of 10 free throws. That didn’t hurt as bad as it might have because the Bisons (2-3) went 1 for 2 at the line before intermission. Their biggest lead before the break was six points
That, however, was the last three-point goal for Lipscomb until 3:22 when Wishon hit another three. In between, Miami unleashed its trapping pressure defense, creating five turnovers, which helped the RedHawks outscore Lipscomb 13-1 between Wishon’s threes.
"I really do feel we took them out of their game at times ... so they're not running their offense," Cooper said.
Miami’s Zach McCormick hit a three from the corner to give MU a 63-59 edge, but Nathan Moran answered with his own three at 1:18 to again make it a one-point game.
Sophomore Rod Mills, who led Miami with 14 points, hit a short jumper and point guard Eric Wshington followed with a pair of free throws to leave Miami in front by five. Wishon then knocked down a tough three under pressure to bring the Bisons within two at 67-65.
“I think there were a few (threes) that they made that I felt, quite frankly, were well guarded,” Cooper said, especially alluding to Wishon’s late bucket. His 4 of 11 from beyond the arc on the night was not as impressive as the fact that his late success kept Lipscomb in a position to tie or win.
Miami ended up making 18 of 25 free throws on the night, while Limbscomb went 2 of 4 at the stripe for the entire contest. The RedHawks also had advantages in points off turnovers (21-13) and points in the paint (24-16).
Miami connected on a modest 38.6 percent of its field goals overall, but was 8 of 17 (47%) from beyond the arc.
Lipscomb hit 21 of 60 (41.7%) fro mthe field and was 16 of 37 (43.2%) on treys after cooling off a tad in the second period.
Three Bisons reached double figures, paced by Williams’ 19 points. He was 5 of 7 from distance. Brett Wishon netted 16 points, while Moran hit 4 of 7 trys and contributed 12 points.
Mills (14 points) was the only double figure scorer for Miami, which again got a very blanced scoring effort. Eight players had at least six points.
“I thought we had really good production from different people throughout the game,” Cooper said. “We played a lot of guys, and hopefully that will benefit us … in the next couple days.
Miami will be back in action Saturday, when the RedHawks face Florida Atlantic in a 3:30 p.m. tipoff at Millett. Lipscomb meets Northeastern in the 1:30 p.m. game (also at Millet).