Some of Charlie Coles’ most memorable moments, as a Miami player and coach, were against Ohio University.
His widow, Delores, acknowledged this while saluting the Bobcat fans on hand Saturday for the ceremonies at which Charlie’s No 10 jersey was retired.
“He probably hated you the best,” Delores Coles said, looking at the corner of Millett Hall where the Ohio fans were grouped at halftime of the men’s game. “He also probably loved you the best.”
“Our family is happy and blessed today,” she added after a red version of her late husband’s jersey was unveiled and the family was presented with a framed white version.
Charlie Coles would have relished the defensive effort displayed by Miami in the second half. Before a crowd of 2,196, second-largest at Millett this season, the RedHawks forced seven turnovers and outscored the Bobcats 13-0 on points off turnovers after halftime to come from behind for a 77-66 Mid-American Conference East Division win.
Junior Geovonie McKnight scored 13 of his 17 points and freshman Zach McCormick added all 10 of his points in the second half, while Miami (9-14, 4-8) was riding breakaways to a whopping 22-8 advantage in points in the paint after halftime. Miami shot 58.3 percent (14-of-24) in the second half.
“We were really speeding things up,” McKnight said. “We wanted them to play at our pace. We were able to trap them and get turnovers.”
“I think we were more focused in the second half,” McCormick said. “Overall, we just played well in the second half.”
McKnight’s personal 6-0 run sparked a 17-2 Miami surge that left the RedHawks leading 64-50 with 9:29 left.
“That’s the first time since I’ve been here that we beat them,” said McKnight, a Middletown product. “It feels good to get a win like that, especially on a special day like this.”
Junior guard Eric Washington also scored 17 points and senior guard Will Sullivan added 15 for the RedHawks, who snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Bobcats. Miami’s last win over Ohio was a 76-66 victory on March 4, 2011.
“In many ways, we didn’t start out the right way,” Miami coach John Cooper said. “We had energy, but we weren’t locked in or focused defensively. We decided to go small, and that group got us pressure and a tremendous amount of energy.
“That was a good game for us. It’s been a long time since we beat them.”
Alter products Jaaron Simmons, a transfer to Ohio from Houston, and Allen Jemison didn’t play for the Bobcats.
Khari Harley scored five of his seven points — all in the first half — during a 13-2 Ohio run that left the Bobcats leading 27-14 with 9:52 left in the first half. The RedHawks whittled that lead down to 41-38 by halftime with Washington capping the comeback on a contested drive down the lane that led to a twisting layup he banked through at the buzzer.
Miami faces two challenging back-to-back road games, on Wednesday at 7 p.m. against East-leading Bowling Green (17-6, 9-3) and Saturday at Akron (17-8, 8-4), which is tied with Kent State for second in the division.
• In the opener of the men’s-women’s doubleheader, freshman guard Baleigh Reid was the only Miami player to reach double figures as the RedHawks fell, 67-45, to Ohio. Miami (4-19, 1-11) shot 26.9 percent (7-of-26) while Ohio was hitting at a 40-percent clip (12-of-30) to open up a 30-20 lead by halftime and expanded that to as many as 24 points late in the second half.