By Jack Brewer, For The Miami Student
Miami University men's basketball overcame a 19-point second-half deficit to stun Kent State University in an overtime thriller.
"There was a point in the second half where we had felt a bit exhausted, somewhat defeated," Sullivan said. "All of our energy was just kind of gone, and we had a substitution where we subbed out four or five guys out early in the second half, and that just kind of gave us a spark."
Junior guard Eric Washington anchored the RedHawk (12-16, 7-8 Mid-American Conference) offense with 24 points, while three other RedHawks also reached double figures in scoring. Senior guard Will Sullivan put up 16, junior guard Geovonie McKnight notched 14 and junior guard Willie Moore came off the bench to contribute 12 points. The game looked out of reach after the Golden Flashes (19-9, 10-5 MAC) went on a 12-0 run to go up 64-45 with 8:21 remaining in the game. The RedHawks then went on a 26-9 run to close the gap, which was fueled by seven points from Washington and back-to-back 3-pointers from Sullivan and sophomore guard Jaryd Eustace in the final minutes. Eustace hit a 3 with eight seconds left, and after Kent State missed a free throw with six seconds left, McKnight converted a lay-up to tie up the game at 79 at the end of regulation.
"We've been there before as a team," Washington said. "I feel like when that opportunity arises our guys, at this point, don't shy away from that. I think that's what kind of gave us the edge tonight. I think you can see when it got thick and the game started to get tight you could see Kent State start to tighten up, and that's where we excel."
The RedHawks shot a blistering 60.7 percent from the field in the second half, compared to just 28.6 percent in the first half. Miami was able to get to the free throw line for 23 attempts in the first half, making 17 of those, which helped them keep the deficit at just eight at halftime.
The RedHawks have now won four games in a row, including back-to-back overtime games. The 'Hawks look to extend their hot streak at home Saturday against Bowling Green State University. For the third time in four weeks, Miami faces off against the MAC East leader. The last time the RedHawks and Falcons played, the 'Hawks defeated BG 67-56 on the road.
With three games left in the regular season, the MAC Tournament is rapidly approaching. Bowling Green is battling for a top-four seed and an opening round bye. Miami is fighting for an opening round home game. If the season ended today, the RedHawks would be the last team to get that home game.
Tip off against the Falcons 3:30 p.m. Saturday in Millett Hall.