RedHawks still searching for second-half confidence

The second-half blues have been a painful part of Miami University’s men’s basketball season. And they just won’t go away.

The RedHawks couldn’t hold a 12-point lead in the second half at Ohio’s Convocation Center on Saturday, allowing 15 straight points to lose their advantage en route to a 58-54 defeat.

“As I watch it and we get into the second half, there are times when I think we have lost confidence,” MU coach John Cooper said. “I think a better way to say it is, we’re not as confident as we need to be late in the second half of games.

“One of the hardest things to do is to break out of a losing culture and understand how you do that and what it takes. Quite frankly, there’s some guys on our team that don’t know what it takes to win.

“Being a successful team, being successful in life, in many ways is about being confident in what you’re doing and understanding that it’s the little things that are the most important. I always say anybody can hit a big 3, but how many guys can go get a big boxout? How many guys can go take a charge? How many guys can dive and get a loose ball? Those are the things that make you a good team.”

Miami seemed to smother its own momentum in the second half by holding the ball deep into the shot clock too often. That led to some bad, desperation shots.

Point guard Quinten Rollins said that wasn’t the plan. It just happened that way.

“We definitely weren’t trying to milk the clock because if you’re doing that, you’re just playing to lose,” Rollins said. “We just wanted to get a good shot and keep our poise because the crowd got into it and the environment got loud. We wanted to be patient, that’s all it was. Give credit when credit’s due. They were playing good defense.”

The crowd of 8,428 definitely aided the Bobcats during their comeback. Ohio coach Jim Christian said it’s been that way all season.

“For students not fully being back, we had an unbelievable student section,” Christian said. “I’m amazed by it every time. We just needed to go on a run to get them into the game. Once we did, I think they got into it, and Miami looked a little different.”

Record book: Miami's nine-game losing streak is its longest since losing 12 consecutive games to close the 1932-33 campaign under coach John Mauer.

This is the program’s worst Mid-American Conference season. MU finished 3-13 and has won just three games four other times (3-9 in 1961-62, 3-7 in 1949-50 and 1948-49, and 3-5 in 1947-48).

Those low-water marks are excluding the forfeit-laced season of 1988-89.

Leading the way: Will Felder and Jon Harris scored 20 and 13 points, respectively, for the RedHawks. Felder was 7 of 10 from the floor with five rebounds, while Harris was 6 of 11 from the field and grabbed nine boards.

Felder tallied Miami’s final nine points in the first half.

“I was able to get open on a couple plays, and (Rollins) was able to give me the ball in a position to score,” Felder said. “That was good on both of our parts.”

Rollins dished out nine assists, one short of his career high.