College basketball: Ohio extends win streak over Miami to five

Miami University's head coach Jack Owens cheers on his team during their basketball game against University of Cincinnati Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 at Millett Hall. Nick Graham/STAFF

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Miami University's head coach Jack Owens cheers on his team during their basketball game against University of Cincinnati Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021 at Millett Hall. Nick Graham/STAFF

OXFORD -- Ohio went into Miami’s Millett Hall on Tuesday with the the Mid-American Conference’s best record and an eight-game win streak.

The RedHawks did little to knock the Bobcats down a peg in the latest installment of the “Battle of the Bricks” rivalry.

Ohio shot 50.9 percent from the field, including 39.4 on 3-pointers, and disrupted the Miami offense almost from tipoff to final buzzer in an 86-63 MAC East Division before a crowd of 1,311.

Junior guard Dae Dae Grant and freshman guard Matt Avance were the only RedHawks to reach double figures. Grant scored 11 and Avance added a career-high 10 in Miami’s worst loss since a 24-point loss at Buffalo on Feb. 8, 2021.

Ohio’s aggressive man-to-man defense had Miami’s offense anxiously off-stride all night, forcing the RedHawks to settle mostly for off-balance, contested shots or 3-pointers while prying 15 turnovers out of the their hands. They went into the game leading the MAC with an average of 9.3 made 3-pointers per game, and settled for eight in 27 tries (29.6 percent) from long range.

“I think we came out flat,” Miami coach Jack Owens said. “We had too any early turnovers, and that allowed them to get out in their transition game. We didn’t execute offensively. We’d get into the lane – the paint – and turn it over. They were really denying the entry pass. We were a step slow.”

Ohio went into the game 13-2 overall and leading the MAC East with a 4-0 record, just ahead of 3-2 Buffalo. Miami was tied with Akron for second, both at 2-2.

The Bobcats also led the combined standings, ahead of West-leading Toledo. The RedHawks were tied with the Zips and Eastern Michigan for sixth.

The RedHawks are scheduled to face Northern Illinois, the West’s second-place team, on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. as part of the second game of a women’s-men’s doubleheader at Millett Hall. The Miami women are due to meet Western Michigan (8-4, 2-1 MAC West) in the opener with a 1 p.m. tipoff.

The RedHawk women already have surpassed last season’s four wins, improving to 5-7 overall and 1-2 in the conference with a 63-60 win over Ohio on Monday.

On Tuesday night, Ohio, the only MAC team to lead a series against Miami (8-8, 2-3), opened up a 115-94 lead in the all-time series and extended its current winning streak against the RedHawks to five games.

Ohio (14-2, 5-0) needed fewer than 11 minutes to put a stranglehold on the game. The Bobcats put together a 19-4 run to open up a 22-8 lead with 9:21 left in the first half. The RedHawks regrouped to cut that lead to eight points, 31-23, on freshman forward Curtis Harrison IV’s tip-in of his own miss with 4:26 left in the half, but that triggered a 14-4 Ohio run to go into halftime with its largest lead, 45-27 – by far, the largest halftime deficit faced by Miami this season, surpassing the 11-point hole the RedHawks faced in their last home game on January 11 against Toledo.

Ohio went 8-for-18 on 3-pointers in the half while forcing nine turnovers from a team that went into the game with a MAC-best average of 9.6 turnovers per game. Ohio shot a blistering 53.1 percent (17-of-32) overall from the field, while Miami could manage just three 3-pointers on 12 tries.

“I wouldn’t say that was the most aggressive defense we’ve seen,” Grant said. “They have a very good defense and a very good team, but we’ve seen some good defenses this year.”

Akron game reshuffled: Miami’s schedule against MAC Eastrival Akron has been shuffled again. The RedHawks announced on Monday that their game at Akron, originally scheduled for Feb. 5, was moved to Feb. 4 at 6:30 p.m. in order to be televised by the CBS Sports Network.

That prompted a change in Miami’s home game against the Zips from Feb. 3 to Feb. 6 at 4 p.m.

Fans with tickets to the home game against Akron should look for an email on how best to transfer tickets to a future game, according to the Miami athletic department. Season ticket holders’ tickets should automatically be updated for use on February 6, the program said. Season ticket holders with physical tickets will find their bar codes valid for the Feb. 6 game.

Miami and Akron originally were scheduled to play in Oxford on Jan. 8. Pandemic protocols prompted the postponement of that game.

SATURDAY’S GAME

Northern Illinois at MIami, 3:30 p.m., ESPN3, 980, 1450

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