Harris raising his game at right time for RedHawks

Miami University’s junior forward put up 14 first-half points Monday night at Bowling Green, then didn’t score the rest of the way in the RedHawk men’s basketball team’s 63-52 Mid-American Conference tournament triumph.

“You know what? He was still a factor. He rebounded. He did other things,” MU coach John Cooper said. “I was proud of him because I knew he was out there.”

Harris drained 4 of 5 treys in the opening 20 minutes while collecting three rebounds and an assist. He finished with six boards and two assists, misfiring on all three of his field-goal attempts in the second half.

“Points are nice, but whatever it takes to win is all that matters,” Harris said. “I could tell they were focusing on me more in the second half, so other guys were getting open. Reggie (Johnson) stepped up and made some big shots, (Will) Felder inside, Allen (Roberts). If I could even be a decoy to help other guys get open, that’s fine.”

Harris is averaging 16.0 points over the last four games after going 15 straight contests without reaching double digits. He’s raised his average to 8.3 and is shooting 38.3 percent from 3-point range.

The 6-foot-8 Twinsburg native said he wasn’t surprised the RedHawks maintained their composure down the stretch, even after losing nine consecutive games.

“It was just the will to survive,” Harris said. “I’m proud of my guys. We didn’t want to send (senior center Vince Legarza) home early. He doesn’t deserve to go home yet. We’ve been through so much this season, especially with all these blown leads and stuff, we just couldn’t let that one get away from us.”

Eastern Michigan is up next Wednesday night at Quicken Loans Arena.

“Playing at the Q is going to be fun,” Harris said. “I told the young guys it’s going to be the funnest game of their lives. It all starts with your focus and not taking it for granted. We could be doing other things. We could be working. We’re blessed to be able to play basketball.”

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