Halftime lead evaporates as Rockets rally past Miami
With MU's Ipsaro out, UT pressure turns the tide
By MIKE SMITH
TOLEDO, OH -- Miami held a 14-point early second half lead, but Toledo turned up its defense after intermission and the effort paid off with a 68-64 Rockets victory Friday at Savage Arena. It was UT's 21st straight win against the RedHawks, who fell to 6-8 overall (0-2 MAC). Toledo is now 8-6 (2-0 MAC).
Miami, which was playing without injured point guard Evan Ipsaro and guard Bradley Dean, committed just one turnover and shot 51.6 percent from the field before intermission. That helped the RedHawks build a 40-29 halftime advantage.
It was, however, a different story in the second half when UT tightened its defense. As it did, the RedHawks struggled, slipping from 51.6 percent shooting from the field before intermission to 37.0 percent after the break. Toledo also pressured the RedHawks into . . .
. . . nine turnovers in the final 20 minutes and finished with a 13-6 edge in points off turnovers. Overall, the hosts outscored Miami 39-24 in the final stanza.
Junior guard Ra'Heim Moss led four Rockets in double figures with 18 points, six rebounds and four steals. Tyler Cochran netted 15 points, while Dante Maddox Jr scored 13, including a 3-point goal at 2:46 to move UT in front. Forward Javon Simmons chipped in 10 points.
Miami's Darweshi Hunter hit 4 of 8 treys while tying Moss for game-high honors with 18 points. Ryan Mabry tallied 14 and Reese Potter scored all of his career-high 12 points before intermission. Bryce Bultman led MU on the boards with 11 of the team's 30 rebounds. Toledo grabbed 32 caroms on the night.
Miami was off target early, misisng its first seven treys and hitting just four of its first 13 shots from the field. However, it stayed close and when Mabry finally hit a triple at 9:56, the RedHawks trailed just 15-13. His shot also awakened MU's offense as the visitors hit five more threes while outscoring Toledo 27-14 through halftime. Potter's tip-in with less than a second remaining capped an 18-6 run to close the period.
Hunter's quick trey to open the second half got MU off to a good start, and the RedHawks were still up 13 (52-39) with 14:23 remaining. However, Toledo then ran off nine straight points.
Miami remained in front until 2:46 when Maddox drained a three to put the hosts in front 61-59. It was their first lead since 6:47 of the first period.
The RedHawks trailed 65-64 after Mekhi Cooper's layup at 0:54 and got a break when Toledo turned the ball over with 27 seconds left. After a timeout, MU worked the ball down to Mirambeaux, who put up a close range shot. While there was contact, no foul was called and Bultman drew a foul on the resulting rebound scramble.
When Moss made both ends of the bonus with 9.3 remaining, Miami was down three and Toledo had two fouls to give. They used both to keep MU from launching any effective three. One more foul then put Mirambeaux at the line for a one-and-one. His first shot missed and Miami fouled Lorentsson, who made one free throw for the final 68-64 margin.
Editor-Publisher Mike Smith
Mike grew up in Mid-American Conference football and basketball territory and returned there after military service. He has been covering MAC football and men's basketball for much of the last several decades.