A 21-5 Miami run midway through the second half allowed the RedHawks to pull ahead and defeat the Ohio Bobcats 77-66 on Saturday afternoon.
The victory was the RedHawks’ first over Ohio since March 4, 2011.
Ohio (9-14, 4-8 MAC) led by as many as 14 in the first half, but trailed by as many as 16 in the games closing moments.
“The game turned on our inability to get back in transition, our inability to take care of the basketball and us not being able to contain their dribblers,” Ohio coach Saul Phillips said.
Miami (9-16, 4-8 MAC) shot 55 percent from the field in the win. The RedHawks were able to get easy baskets in transition after forcing Bobcat turnovers.
The RedHawks tormented the ‘Cats with a 2-2-1 full-court press throughout the game. Ohio turned the ball over 12 times, eight in the second half. The ‘Hawks scored 23 points off Ohio’s turnovers.
“We just wanted to come out and be as aggressive as possible,” Miami guard Geovonie McKnight said. “We wanted to speed them up to play at our pace.”
Miami made 18 of its 26 free throw attempts. In contrast, Ohio only reached the line three times in the game and not once in the second half.
“You go down 16 points at the free throw line, you’re gonna have to make a lot of shots to make up for that,” Phillips said. “You’re not going to win with that.”
Tony Campbell led Ohio with 17 points and 10 rebounds. The sophomore reached his double-double by scoring 11 of the Bobcats’ final 13 points.
Bean Willis added 14 points and Maurice Ndour came one rebound short of a double-double with 11 points and nine boards.
McKnight recorded 17 points, six rebounds and three steals in the win. Eric Washington matched McKnight with 17 points in addition to seven assists. Senior guard Will Sullivan tallied 15 points for the RedHawks.
Ohio was outscored 38-18 in the paint by the RedHawks.
Miami retired former player and coach Charlie Coles’ #10 at halftime and honored the legendary head coach throughout the game. Coles recorded 266 wins and coached the RedHawks to three NCAA Tournaments while at Miami.
Saul Phillips was none too pleased with his team’s effort as the game swung in the RedHawks favor.
“In a hostile environment when things start going bad, I would rather see guys trying to pick each other up,” Phillips said. “I don’t know if that was the case tonight. That’s disappointing.”
The loss drops Ohio to 1-7 on the road this season and last place in the MAC East. The Bobcats will travel to Kalamazoo on Wednesday to take on Western Michigan.