Late turnovers hurt Miami in loss to Wright State

Credit: David A. Moodie

Credit: David A. Moodie

FAIRBORN — Miami couldn’t have hoped for more for most of its game at Wright State on Tuesday night.

Ten players were all contributing, shots were going in at a high rate, and the young RedHawks trailed by only three points with just over three minutes to go.

“I told these guys, ‘We’re not going to out-pretty Wright State on their court. They’ve got all these fifth-year seniors. They’ve got all these old guys. We have to be grittier than them,’” coach Travis Steele said.

The RedHawks brought plenty of grit to the Nutter Center, but it wasn’t enough to hold off their more experienced foes when it mattered most.

The Raiders forced three turnovers in a 58-second span and converted them into six points — a bucket by Trey Calvin and two transition dunks by Tanner Holden — and pulled away for a 92-82 win.

“It was a three-point game, and that’s right where we wanted to be,” said Steele, who plays five freshmen and two sophomores in his 10-man rotation.

“We’ll learn from it. We’ll continue to get better. We’ve got a lot of room for growth. Our team’s got a really high ceiling.”

The RedHawks (4-6) were 27th in the nation in 3-point shooting at 38.5%. And they were simmering most of the game.

They went 5 of 9 in the first half while building a 43-39 lead. And then Darweshi Hunter, Evan Ipsaro and Bryson Bultman swished 3′s in the first 1:38 of the second half to build a 52-43 edge.

But the Raiders (5-6) didn’t get rattled. They went on an 18-2 surge to get in front to stay.

“Whenever a team has made a run against us in the past, we’ve folded and crumbled. But I thought today we stayed together,” said Holden, who had a game-high 27 points.

The RedHawks had a big edge from 3, finishing 11 of 25, while the Raiders were a mere 2 of 9.

Miami also had a 38-4 advantage in bench points.

Bultman and Bradley Dean had 12 points each. And Anderson Mirambeaux had 11 in his season debut, though the 6-8, 305-pound senior needed frequent breaks to catch his wind.

The Raiders won their fifth straight game in the series, and Wright State coach Scott Nagy improved to 6-2 against Miami.

“They hung around and hung around, but then you get steals by Trey, and it changes the whole game,” Nagy said.

“That’s what we need from him more than anything. Their guards are so young and inexperienced, and how many games have ours been in like that? We just took advantage of it.”

To the chagrin of the defensive-minded Nagy, the Raiders are allowing 80.2 points per game, which is one of the worst marks in the nation.

But they’re averaging a robust 82.5 points themselves, and they put stress on defenses at every position.

Holden flirted with a school record for single-game field-goal percentage by going a staggering 13 of 14 from the floor.

Two Raiders from several decades ago went 11 of 11 to share the all-time mark.

Holden made his first 10 attempts and then had his 11th shot blocked inside.

Forward Brandon Noel had his second double-double of the year with 25 points and 12 rebounds. He had 11 double-doubles last season.

The Raiders, who shot a season-best 66.7%, didn’t need Calvin to carry them for a change. Averaging 22.4 points, the seventh-best mark in the nation, he had just 11 and went only 4 of 8 from the field.

But experience probably was the difference in the end.

Wright State’s top six players have all been enrolled at the school at least four years.

“They can really score,” Steele said. “Obviously, Holden had a heck of a night, and Noel had a heck of a night.

“Calvin is, I think, the best mid-major point guard in the country. We did a good job on him, but then they hurt us with other guys. They scored in a lot of different ways.”


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