‘Little things’ doom Middies in double-OT loss to Princeton

MIDDLETOWN -- The Middletown Middies hit some big shots, but it was the little things that cost them a Greater Miami Conference win over Princeton on Friday.

The Middies, playing on their home court in front of a crowd that included baseball star and halftime honoree Kyle Schwarber, committed 21 turnovers that the Vikings turned into 31 points and missed several key free throw opportunities in a 76-71, double-overtime loss.

“We told them to keep their heads up,” coach Kelven Moss said after the game. “We talked about the little things – 50-50 balls, not sliding over picks.

“We average 12 turnovers a game, so we were a little heavy on that,” he added. “We did a better job of executing down the stretch. We missed some big free throw opportunities. I thought we rushed too many 3-pointers instead of working the ball around.

“We did tell them that they competed against one of the best teams in the GMC. It shows we can compete down the stretch and have a nice tournament run.

“This was a good game. We had some great opportunities.”

Senior guard-forward Tywan Hall hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to force the first overtime, prompting some fans to run on to the court, only to be pushed away by officials. That matched the 3-pointer he hit with 50 seconds left to give the Middies their first lead since late in the first quarter.

Classmate Braylon Bailey hit another 3-pointer to give Middletown a 66-65 lead early in the first overtime, but Princeton sophomore Dorian Williams gave the Vikings the lead for good on a 3-pointer with 3:18 left in the second overtime.

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

Senior guard Jayden Bennett score 27 points, 21 in the second half, to lead Middletown (7-7, 4-5). Hall finished with 20, 15 in the second half as the Middies chipped away at a 10-point, third-quarter lead. Junior guard Izaiah Day added 17, all in the first half while Middletown was committing 12 turnovers.

Princeton (11-5,7-3) senior guard Isaiah Myers led both teams with 30 points. The Vikings also committed 21 turnovers, 13 in the second half, but Middletown could squeeze only 14 points out of them.

Middletown went into Friday’s game fifth in the GMC, one rung below fourth-place Princeton and one spot ahead of Hamilton.

Friday’s game was the second of four straight for the Middies on their home court at Wade E. Miller Gym. After losing to Lakota East on Tuesday, a 59-38 setback that snapped a four-game winning streak, they are scheduled to meet Mason on Tuesday and Colerain on Friday before traveling on Saturday to St. Xavier for a non-conference game against the Bombers.

The game at St. Xavier was postponed from earlier in the season. An earlier game at Hamilton was postponed and rescheduled for Feb. 5. Tipoff for both rescheduled games is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

That stretch of four wins followed streaks of three losses and three wins for Middletown.

The win was Princeton’s second of the season over Middletown.

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