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Men's basketball drops fourth in a row to WMU

Brianna Nixon - The Miami Student
Brianna Nixon - The Miami Student

Miami men's basketball dropped another Mid-American Conference game on Tuesday -- this time to Western Michigan University. The RedHawks lost 72-55 to the Broncos at home in front of a spirited crowd.

This is the fourth loss in a row for the RedHawks and they fall to well below .500 at 9-15 overall, 2-9 in the MAC and 9-6 at home.

The Broncos, who are also well below .500, improve their record to 8-15 overall and 4-7 in the MAC. However, they picked up their first win on the road and are now 1-10 away from home.

"It wasn't acceptable what happened out there on the court," head coach, John Cooper said. "One of the things is, we played some games where we haven't played well, but typically we will compete and play it out."

The RedHawks' initial play looked promising as they traded baskets with WMU. Freshman center Darius Harper had all six points of his game before the halfway point of the first half. With a little over 10 minutes gone, the RedHawks managed to pull ahead to 18-14.

A six minute drought from the 'Hawks allowed the Broncos to go up 22-18. Miami found themselves back on the board after two good free throws from freshman guard Milos Jovic. WMU's freshman guard Reggie Jones stunted Miami's momentum by answering with two good free throws of his own.

In the final seconds of the half, freshman forward Marcus Weathers put Miami within four after making two shots at the line. The half ended 28-24 and the 'Hawks avoided their past mistake of falling into an early double-digit deficit.

The signs that were handed out to students with bold, red "3"s on them were never used during the first half, as the RedHawks didn't make a single three-pointer. The crowd at Millett Hall thinned noticeably during halftime.

Jovic started the half with a sunk three-pointer to bring Miami within one. The RedHawks managed to keep the Bronco's lead to under 10 until 11 minutes into the half. Marcus Weathers rebounded relentlessly, but a lack of offensive production left Miami struggling.

WMU's offense then ran away with the game, putting up a score of 62-45 with five minutes left. Missed shots and turnovers ultimately hurt Miami, and the game ended with a final layup from Redshirt sophomore guard Jake Wright. The final count left the Broncos with a 17-point win.

"We never found a rhythm in the second half," Cooper said. "You can attribute some of that to their defense but certainly I think a great portion of that can be attributed to our lack of execution in the second half."

Marcus Weathers ended the game with 13 points and a team high of six rebounds. Jovic ended with a career high of nine points. Miami struggled with 16 turnovers and made only two three-pointers from the 12 attempted. WMU's Jones had an impressive 26 points.

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On Saturday the RedHawks look for their first win in five games. They play Central Michigan at 3:30 pm at Millett Hall. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.