Lairy leads RedHawk rally, but Raiders prevail
By MIKE SMITH
OXFORD, OH -- After trailing by 22 points with under seven minutes to play, the Miami RedHawks rallied to within four before falling to Wright State 88-80 Tuesday at Millett Hall.
Despite missing some first half time due to foul issues, point guard Mekhi Lairy led the way for Miami (5-7) with 32 points. He knocked down 12-of-15 from the field overall and six of eight outside the arc.
Joining him in double figures were . . .
. . . Morgan Safford (14), Billy Smith (10) and Ryan Mabry (10). Forward Andrew Mirambeaux added seven points and six rebounds. However, the RedHawks also totaled just seven points from the bench -- all by Kamari Williams.
Wright State, on the other hand, got 50 of its 88 points off the bench. Senior guard Trey Calvin, who averages 16.2 ppg., led the Raiders (7-6) with 27 points. He connected on 10-of-14 from the floor and two-of-three treys. Alex Huibregtse, also coming off the bench, tallied 11 points, while starting forward Brandon Noel dropped in 11 of his own.
Wright State shot 54.8 percent from the field overall, including 63.3 percent in the second half. The Raiders were good on 71 percent of their post-intermission trey attempts and hit eight-of-nine free throws over the final stanza.
The visiting Raiders feasted off MU turnovers (12-5) and dominated in the paint (24-10) to earn a 37-32 halftime edge. When play resumed, Miami pulled within two points twice, but WSU went on a 9-0 run for a 50-39 lead following Tim Finke's bucket at 14:25.
A 17-3 Raiders run later in the period gave WSU its largest lead of the night, 76-54, with 6:47 left. Led by Lairy, Miami then embarked on a frantic final run. Mabry started the spurt with an and-one. Lairy then scored 16 of the next 19 RedHawk points before Safford closed the run with a layup at 1:25. That brought the hosts to within four at 82-78, but Wright State tallied six of the final eight points to preserve its second straight win.
~~ Miami connected on 49.2 percent from the field overall and made 13-of-31 3-point attempts (41.9%). The RedHawks sank seven-of-eight free throws. Wright State was successful on 13-of-15 from the line.
~~ WSU outscored Miami 44-32 in the paint and owned a 22-13 edge in points off turnovers.
~~ Miami has one more non-conference game on the schedule. The RedHawks host Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College Thursday, Dec. 29. They open MAC play at Central Michigan Tuesday, Jan. 3. Both games are at 7 p.m. ET.
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.