Miami season ends in MAC-tourney loss to Toledo

Credit: David A. Moodie

Credit: David A. Moodie

Just when the Miami RedHawks seemed to be getting hot at the right time, they proved to be unable to sustain.

The men’s basketball team won four straight late-season games, their longest winning streak since opening the 2021-2022 season with a five-game winning streak, to clinch a berth in the eight-team Mid-American Conference post-season tournament before losing, 68-63, at Buffalo in the regular-season finale on Friday.

They followed up as the eighth seed with a 91-75 loss to top-seeded Toledo on Thursday afternoon in the first round of the MAC tournament at Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage Arena.

Junior guard Morgan Safford, a transfer from Wofford, led four RedHawks in double figures with a game-high 21 points. Senior forward Anderson Mirambeaux, a transfer from Cleveland State, added 16. Sophomore guard and William and Mary transfer Julian Lewis finished with 13 points and a game-high eight rebounds, while fifth-year senior guard Mekhi Lairy scored 12 points.

The Rockets never trailed after getting off to a 5-0 lead while sending the RedHawks to their third straight first-round MAC tournament loss. Miami’s last tournament win was over Buffalo, 85-79, on March 9, 2020, in the team’s last game before post-season play was cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Toledo outscored Miami, 15-7, in points off turnovers, 38-30 in points in the paint and 23-10 in bench points.

The RedHawks haven’t won a MAC tournament championship since edging Akron, 53-52, on Alter-graduate Doug Penno’s banked-in 3-pointer at the buzzer in 2007.

The RedHawks finished Travis Steele’s first season as Miami’s coach with a 12-20 record, including 6-12 in the MAC.