OXFORD, Ohio – Persistence paid off for Western Michigan Saturday as the Broncos came from behind to defeat Miami 67-62 at Millett Hall.
It was the fourth straight win for WMU (10-5, 2-0 MAC). The RedHawks dropped to 8-7 overall and 1-1 in the MAC after defeating Bowling Green earlier in the week.
Miami grabbed an early lead Saturday and remained in front throughout the first half. MU hit 46.4 percent (13 of 28) from the field and drained 4 of 11 treys (36.4%) before intermission.
The Broncos, meanwhile, made . . .
Helping the visitors stay relatively close was a 10-0 advantage in fast break points, and 28-24 edge in points in the paint.
Logan McLane paced Miami with nine first half points, but he would not score in the second half.
Thomas Wilder, a preseason All-MAC West selection, matched McLane’s nine in the first stanza. However, he managed just four more points to finish with 13 on 4 of 13 overall (0 of 4 beyond the arc) and 5 of 6 free throws.
"We did a good job on him," Miami head coach Jack Owens said. "Where the breakdowns came were where we over-helped off of Moore."
Miami would finish with two in double figures – point guard Darrian Ringo (14 points, 11 assists) and Nike Sibande (13). The latter connectd on 4 of 12 overall, with three buckets launched from beyond the arc.
Miami, in fact, slumped on offense after six straight points to open the second half. That gave MU its biggest lead of the day – 12 points with 18:28 remaining.
The hosts were up 43-33 when Western went on an 8-0 run to trail by five, but Miami twice upped its advantage to 11 points. The last time was 53-42 following a layup by Ringo at 10:14. From that point on, the Broncos began to chip away.
"We've got to make shots, obviously, Owens said. "But the one thing that is bothering me is that ... we had too many breakdowns defensively. We got up 12 or 13 points. They got us in some ball screen actions and they hit some threes."
Two free throws by Moore at 3:46 pushed WMU in front, and the Broncos played add-on for a seven-point lead (63-56) with 1:18 left.
Miami fought back with a pair of Ringo free throws, an Adaway steal and a layup.
Down by three, MU got another opportunity following a Broncos turnover under pressure. However, the RedHawks returned the favor. Miami committed 13 turnovers on the day, That was down from 19 at Bowling Green Tuesday, but with the Broncos totaling seven turnovers, they enjoyed a 16-7 advantage in points off turnovers.
"We know what we're capable of doing, and this is not how we should have finished this game," Owens said. "We had the game under control, and we had some breakdowns."
Miami remains at home for a Tuesday night game against Kent State (7 p.m. ET) . Western Michigan is at Toledo (Tuesday (7 p.m. ET)