Miami basketball: Golden Flashes snap RedHawks three-game winning streak

Miami Redhawks guard Myja White looks for a teammate while covered by Western Michigan guard Jason Whitens during Mid-American Conference play at Millett Hall in Oxford Jan. 30, 2021. Contributed photo by E.L. Hubbard
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Miami Redhawks guard Myja White looks for a teammate while covered by Western Michigan guard Jason Whitens during Mid-American Conference play at Millett Hall in Oxford Jan. 30, 2021. Contributed photo by E.L. Hubbard

OXFORD -- The Miami RedHawks went into their Mid-American Conference game against Kent State on Saturday hoping to earn a fourth consecutive MAC win for the first time since winning four straight in February 2015.

They couldn’t make it happen against a Golden Flashes team that enjoyed a size advantage and put it to good use. Kent State closed the first half with a 10-2 run and rode a massive rebounding edge to pull away for a 64-51 win at Millett Hall in Miami’s final home game of the season.

Kent State (15-6, 12-5) outrebounded Miami (11-10, 8-8) by a whopping 45-27, leading to advantages of 34-18 on points in the paint and 20-5 on second-chance points.

Tervell Beck, a 6-foot-7 senior forward, led both teams with 19 points and 12 rebounds, while 6-9 senior forward Danny Pippen also logged a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Justyn Hamilton, a 6-11 senior forward, added 14 points for the Golden Flashes, who led by as many as 16 points in the second half.

“They obviously play extremely big,” Miami fourth-year coach Jack Owens said during the post-game Zoom media session. “You’ve got to be able to match it – continue to block out, come up with the 50-50 balls. We weren’t as efficient on offense as we could be, We just didn’t have it. We didn’t have the pop to sustain runs.

“They were quicker to the ball. They got more 50-50 balls. Offensively, the ball didn’t go in for us as much as we’re used to. We gave up too many second-chance points. We have to do a better job of finishing the game in the second half.”

Third-year sophomore guard Myja White led the RedHawks – who wore cream-colored uniforms with red pinstripes and “Miami” in script across the jerseys – with a career-high 14 points. Senior forward Dalonte Brown and fourth-year junior forward James Beck each added 11 for the RedHawks.

“It took a while to adjust to their pace,” White said. “They don’t play as fast as we do. It took a while to get back on our pace. We have to be able to overcome obstacles. We have to be better next time.”

White especially was disappointed to lose the final home game of the season.

“It’s pretty painful,” he said. “We put in a lot of hard work this week. We were grinding in and out. We wanted to finish with a win. We just have to keep our heads high and focus on the next one now.”

The game was Miami’s fourth in eight days, the first three on the road. The MAC added games at Central Michigan on Tuesday and Western Michigan on Thursday to makeup for games that were postponed earlier in the season due to COVID-19 protocols, but White didn’t think that played a role on Saturday.

“I don’t think so,” said White, who also coaxed the Golden Flashes into committing four offensive fouls. “We’re pretty good at taking care of our bodies and getting rest. We just have to get better as a team.”

“I just know this – we weren’t at our best,” Owens said. “We have to be better. You can’t give in. When you play that many games in a short period of time, we didn’t have the same pop we normally have. We would go on a run, but we couldn’t sustain it. The schedule is what it is. It’s what we have to go through to finish out the conference race.”

The RedHawks, who clinched one of the MAC’s eight postseason tournament berths with their 74-66 win at Western Michigan on Thursday, are scheduled to wrap up the regular season with games at Bowling Green on Tuesday and at Akron on Friday.

The MAC’s men’s tournament is scheduled to start on March 11 in Cleveland.