OXFORD — Saturday afternoon’s Millett Hall matchup between Miami and Eastern Michigan probably wasn’t the most compelling in the Mid-American Conference, but it kept the crowd edgy for most of the game.
However, the RedHawks once again came up short, falling to the visiting Eagles, 74-69, before a crowd of 3,096.
Miami went into the game tied with Eastern Michigan for last place in the 12-team MAC. The visiting Eagles improved to 5-16 overall and 2-6 in the MAC while snapping a five-game losing streak and having lostlosses in seven of their last eight games.
“That was a tough game,” said senior forward Anderson Mirambeaux, who scored eight points with nine rebounds and for assists. “We’ve got to go out and execute. As a captain, I’m just trying to stay positive. We’ve got a big one on Tuesday.”
The loss was Miami’s second straight at home to a team with a losing record. The RedHawks lost, 81-77, to Northern Illinois on Jan. 17.
“Frustrating is the word to describe my emotions right now,” first-year coach Travis Steele said. “Consistency is what we need. When you’re losing, you have to change things. We need guys to step up.”
Miami committed 19 turnovers, allowing Eastern Michigan to roll up a bulging 21-4 advantage in points off turnovers, offsetting the Eagles going 4-of-24 on 3-pointer. Their bench outscored Miami’s 23-7, and they enjoyed a 14-3 advantage in fast break points.
“What sticks out like a sore thumb are the turnovers,” Steele said. “We waste possessions. You can’t be on autopilot. Autopilot loses. We’ve got to take better care of the ball.”
Miami freshman guard Ryan Mabrey set a career high with 16 points. Fifth-year senior guard Mekhi Lairy led the RedHawks with 23 points and redshirt-junior guard Morgan Safford, the transfer from Wofford, chipped in with 13 points.
Eastern Michigan guard Noah Farrahkan scored 20 points before fouling out with 4:47 left in the game. Eagles sophomore guard Emoni Bates, who went into the game second in the MAC with an average of 20.5 points per game, finished with 17 points.
The Eagles led by as many as 10 points, 71-61, with 3:59 left in the game.
Miami is scheduled to play the second of two straight home games on Tuesday against Toledo. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. against the Rockets, who are 15-6 overall, 6-2 in the MAC after Saturday’s win over Bowling Green.
In the opener of the Saturday afternoon women’s-men’s doubleheader, senior guard Peyton Scott led four RedHawks in double figures as they knocked off Central Michigan, 77-68. Sophomore guard Ivy Wolf scored 16 points and sophomore guard Maddi Cluse and senior forward Amani Freeman each added 12 for Miami (8-13, 3-5), which had lost two straight games and three of its last four games.
The RedHawk women went into Saturday’s game tied with CMU and Northern Illinois for ninth in the 12-team MAC. They are scheduled to face Buffalo on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at Millett Hall.
Eastern Michigan went into the men’s game averaging a MAC-worst 81.8 points per game and allowing opponents to sink 49.1 percent of their shots, also the worst in the conference. Miami was a tick behind, allowing opponents to make 46.7 percent of their shots.
The Eagles grabbed the lead for good at 43-40 on a Bates 3-pointer on from the right wing with 18:37 left in the second half. They led by as many 10 points
The Miami men sank five of their first eight shots on the way to an early 15-4 lead, but the RedHawks then went cold, going 9-for-23 while Eastern Michigan was shooting 59.3 percent (16-for-27) on the way to leading by as many as five points, 29-24, with five minutes left before settling for a 40-38 halftime lead. Lairy scored 12 points and Mabrey 10 in the first half, which ended with the two teams trading the lead four times in the last 1:36.
Miami helped itself by sinking five of 15 3-pointers while the Eagles were just 2-of-11.
Toledo at Miami, 7 p.m., ESPN+, 980, 1450