OXFORD, Ohio—Senior forward Will Felder hit a 10-foot jumper with 25 seconds remaining and Will Sullivan added a pair of free throws as the Miami RedHawks posted a 65-61 win over Eastern Michigan Saturday at Millett Hall.
With the victory, Miami equaled its win total from a season ago, which ironically ended with a 58-47 loss to the Eagles in MAC tournament play.
In winning for the fourth time in their last five outings, the RedHawks climbed to within one game of the .500 mark with a 9-10 record. The RedHawks are 5-3 in MAC play. Eastern Michigan, meanwhile, dropped its third decision in the last four games. The Eagles are 12-9 overall and 4-4 in the MAC.
Miami struggled early against the Eastern Michigan zone, shooting 29.6 percent in the first half and committing nine turnovers. The Eagles had seven turnovers themselves, but they managed to shoot 40 percent from the field and picked up six points at the free throw line to MU's two. Karrington Ward's trey with 38 seconds remaining allowed the Eagles to take a 30-22 lead into intermission.
Ward, who entered the contest with a 13.3 ppg average, tallied 12 points in the first half. The 6-7 junior forward connected on 5 of 8 shots from the field, including both three-point attempts. He also had four rebounds, a block ,and two steals.
Miami was led in the first half by Sullivan, who hit 3 of 4 three-point attempts for nine points. While they trailed at the break, the RedHawks were at least having some success beyond the arc. In a loss to Toledo earlier in the week, they made just 1 of 17 from distance.
There were plenty more threes in the second half - for both teams. Eastern Michigan eventually launched 24 attempts, making 10 (41.7%) over the entire 40 minutes. Miami made 8 of 16 overall after connecting on 4 of 6 in the second stanza.
Eastern Michigan held a game-high nine point lead at 16:57 after a ward dunk. Miami, however, scored eight straight on a jumper by Felder and treys by Sullivan and Jaryd Eustace.
The RedHawks earned their first lead of the game when Sullivan scored on a layup to make it 40-38 with 13:07 remaining.
A three by Darell Combs pushed EMU ahead at 46-45, and the visitors remained in front - leading by as many as five - until Sullivan drained a trey at 7:06 to give the RedHawks a 52-50 lead. They remained in front and were up six with 1:38 left following two Felder charity tosses. Miami made 11 of 13 free throws in the second half while EMU converted 3 of 4.
Miami made 13 of 16 (81.3%) from the line for the game while Eastern converted 9 of 13 (69.2%).
The RedHawks six-point lead didn't last long as Lee nailed two long three pointers to forge the game's fourth and final tie. Felder missed his first shot at the other end, but he got another chance after guard Quinten Rollins battled his way to a rebound. The ball went to Felder again, and he converted.
Miami outscored the Eagles 43-31 in the second half.
Despite the Eagles height advantage, Miami held a final 39-29 advantage in total boards. The RedHawks also had a 10-7 edge in offensive rebounds, although EMU led in second-chance points (10-8) and points off turnovers (17-8). Miami held a 20-16 edge in points in the paint.
Lee paced the Eagles with 18 points. Ward also made it into double figures with 16. Miami put three players in double figures. Sullivan, who hit 5 of 6 from outside the arc, led with 19 points. Felder scored 17 points and posted a career high of 15 rebounds.
Miami goes on the road next week, visiting Northern Illinois Tuesday (7 p.m.) and Ohio Saturday 2 p.m.. Eastern travels to Akron Wednesday (7 p.m.) and hosts Kent State Saturday (2 p.m.).