Don’t bury Miami University’s men’s basketball team just yet.
That was the message from junior guard Quinten Rollins on Wednesday night after the RedHawks suffered their sixth straight defeat and 10th loss in 11 games with a 52-44 setback at Bowling Green.
“Losing does get contagious, but at the same time, we’re not losers,” Rollins said. “We’ve got a bunch of winners in that locker room that want to win. We believe in ourselves. We’re going to keep fighting.”
MU slid to 8-18 with its latest loss and closes the regular season with a difficult stretch of games: at home against Kent State on Saturday, then on the road against Akron and Ohio next week.
“We’re going to embrace it,” Rollins said. “We’ll find some good in those games and get one of them, or all of them, and get rolling into the tournament. That’s arguably the best three teams in the MAC, and I wouldn’t want it any other way going into the tournament because then we’ve seen the best.”
The RedHawks’ second-half shooting was instrumental in Wednesday’s loss. The visitors shot 20 percent from the field and 12.5 percent from the charity stripe.
Allen Roberts, an 83.5-percent free-throw shooter, was 1 of 5. Rollins entered the game with a 46.2 percentage at the line and was 0 of 2.
“It’s just all mental,” Rollins said. “I’ve never shot this bad in my life from the free-throw line, so I don’t know what’s going on.”
RedHawks coach John Cooper said most of his team’s performance after halftime was unacceptable.
“I didn’t like our start to the second half,” Cooper said. “Then we were taking bad shots and being selfish. We miss layups, we miss free throws, so how do you win? I thought we played well in the first half.”
Playing without redshirt junior center Drew McGhee didn’t help. His season ended with a torn ACL in practice Monday, and McGhee was shooting 56.6 percent from the floor and 79.2 percent from the stripe.
He scored a season-high 14 points in Miami’s 63-60 win over BGSU in January.
“Certainly we miss him, but Drew’s not going to help us make the bunnies that we’re missing,” said Cooper, noting that McGhee is expected to undergo surgery in the next week or so.
Notebook: The RedHawks had season-low totals in assists (four) and turnovers (seven). … Senior Vince Legarza made his fifth career start in place of McGhee and collected four points and four boards. … Will Felder paced Miami with seven rebounds.