A wickedly effective start from beyond the arc gave the Miami RedHawks the start it needed to assert dominance over the visiting Longwood Lancers on its way to a 71-60 win in Millett Hall on Wednesday.
Miami started 5-7 from beyond the arc on its way to an early 22-5 lead over the Lancers, who were outmatched from the outset. Guard play was the difference early as Eric Washington and Geovonie McKnight secured Miami's first 12 points. Washington and McKnight combined for 37 points on the night, with McKnight knocking down eight of his ten shots.
Ryan Badowski and Quincy Taylor came alive a little bit in the second half, but it proved not enough to put up much of a fight against the 'Hawks, who looked dominant for the first time this season. The Lancers pieced together a 15-2 run over a six-minute span that ran until there was just over 7:00 remaining. A Will Sullivan jumper and a couple baskets from McKnight helped Miami to push back on the Lancers, and ultimately provide the comfortable cushion for the win.
Freshman forward Rod Mills gave the RedHawks a spark in the first half with eight points off the bench, though he only helped a little bit on the boards. Overall, Miami was outrebounded by a total of 38-27 but helped create its own points by causing 21 Lancer turnovers. McKnight finished with five steals, as did Zach McCormick, combining for ten of the team's fifteen steals on the evening. On this night, John Cooper reaped the benefits from starting a small lineup.
After a hot start from three-land, Miami finished ice-cold from behind the arc, shooting 7 of 25. It was the defensive pressure and guard play that won the night. It's the same formula that Miami will have to employ moving forward. Free throws down the stretch (the RedHawks went 18-25 from the charity stripe) helped Miami stave off the Lancer storm.