History meant nothing between the lines Saturday afternoon.
Miami University’s men’s basketball team brought a 16-game winning streak against Eastern Michigan into the Eagles’ Convocation Center, but got sent home with an ‘L’ as EMU registered a 65-58 triumph.
“There it is … it’s history,” said RedHawks coach John Cooper, whose program’s last loss to Eastern came on March 4, 1998. “We did some good things, but we didn’t shoot well enough to get it done.”
Will Felder collected 12 points and nine rebounds for MU, and Allen Roberts added 11 points and five steals. The visitors opened the game with a 4-0 advantage, then gave up 10 straight points and never led again.
Miami shot 43.1 percent from the field and drained only 6 of 24 treys against EMU’s 2-3 zone defense, falling to 7-9 overall and 2-2 in the Mid-American Conference East Division.
“It’s frustrating when you don’t make your shots and you practice that over and over,” said Roberts, who was 1 of 8 behind the arc. “Their zone really affected us, and teams in their home gym, that’s tough anywhere you go.”
Eastern (9-9, 2-2 MAC West) was strong right out of the gate, sinking 15 of 26 field goals and 7 of 11 treys in the opening 20 minutes. The hosts held a 40-25 lead early in the second half, then weathered a storm that saw MU shrink the margin to 60-58 with 1:48 left.
Derek Thompson (16), Glenn Bryant (13) and Daylen Harrison (10) topped the scoring for the winners. EMU coach Rob Murphy said he was happy to end Miami’s domination in this series.
“We talked about that,” Murphy said. “Last year we went down there, and with 2:11 to go, we were up nine with the ball and lost. So I was beginning to think there was some kind of jinx or hoax going on that we couldn’t beat Miami. To know they had beaten us 16 straight times leaves a nasty taste in your mouth, and we wanted to erase it.”
The Eagles tallied the game’s last five points, hitting 5 of 9 free throws in the final 93 seconds. MU misfired on five consecutive 3-pointers to close the contest.
The RedHawks’ Jon Harris showed signs of emerging from his slump, scoring nine points on a trio of 3-balls. Reggie Johnson chipped in eight points and four assists.
“I’m not pleased with losing the game, but I’m pleased with the effort,” Cooper said. “It’s an effort that we can continue to build on.”
Ohio at Miami, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Time Warner Cable SportsChannel, 1450, 1230, 980, 101.3