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'Hawks end season with loss to Ohio University

By Zach Maciaszek
On March 13, 2014

The season has come to an end for the Miami University men's basketball team.

The No. 8 seed RedHawks (13-18) lost to No. 5 seed Ohio University (23-10) 63-55 in the second round of the Mid-American Conference Tournament at Quicken Loans Arena Wednesday.

It was the third time MU faced the Bobcats this season and it was the third time they came up short against their rivals.

Sophomore guard Willie Moore recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman guard Jaryd Eustace was the only other RedHawk to score in double-digits, amassing 15 points and adding seven boards.

Senior guard Nick Kellogg led the Bobcats with 20 points. He also recorded seven rebounds and dished out four assists with no turnovers. Junior guard Willis Javarez followed him with 13 points.

The RedHawks were in foul trouble soon after the opening tip, as three of their starting five found themselves on the bench for large stretches of the first half. Senior forward and leading team scorer Will Felder and sophomore guard Geovonie McKnight each earned two quick whistles in the game's first four minutes. Senior guard Quinten Rollins was saddled with three fouls in the opening period.

The foul trouble forced Miami head coach John Cooper to dig deep into his bench and play little-used reserves like sophomore forward Brian Oddo and sophomore center John Hawkins.

"We really struggled in the first half with foul trouble," Cooper said. "I looked down at the court and at one point we had two walk-ons out there, guys that haven't played and one of them steps up and knocks in a big shot for us."

Left to pick up the scoring slack, Moore did most of his damage in the first half, scoring 14 of Miami's 23 points in the opening 20 minutes.

After a Moore bucket at the 9:46 mark, MU took a 14-12 lead. After that, the Bobcats went on a 9-0 run over the next three minutes. After building a 27-19 advantage with just over three minutes to go in the first half, Oddo hit a three and Moore split a pair of free throws to pull MU within four heading into the locker room, 27-23.

Miami chipped away at the Ohio lead in the opening minutes of the second half. Felder sored two quick baskets to tie the game at 27 with 17:34 remaining. The 'Hawks took their first lead since the first half on a McKnight layup with 13:36 left on the clock, 38-36. The Bobcats regained the lead 51-47 off a pair of 3-pointers by junior guard Stevie Taylor with just over five minutes left.

The 'Hawks got back within a point, 56-55, with 38 seconds left after a pair of free throws by McKnight. It was as close as Miami would get however, as the Bobcats scored seven straight points to close the book on the game and the RedHawks' season.

Cooper said it was difficult losing to the Bobcats three times in the same year, especially considering the RedHawks held the lead in the closing minutes of the second half in all three contests.

"It's our rival and I don't like losing to them," Cooper said. "We have to face the reality of where we are as a program; we were not where they were. Now did we compete our tails off for three games? Yes we did. Did we put ourselves in a position to win? Yes we did. We did not close it out. The first part of that responsibility has to fall on me."

Despite the disheartening loss, Moore said he will have fond memories of this season, particularly of the graduating seniors.

"[I] played with a great team," Moore said. "Giving it their all, being coachable. We just tried to help the seniors out. We're going to miss the seniors a lot. We just have to get back to it starting this year."

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