How much time has passed since Miami’s last men’s basketball win over Toledo?
Here’s a hint. The late Charlie Coles still was coaching the RedHawks – and it wasn’t even his last season.
The RedHawks were on the verge of snapping the losing streak in Tuesday’s rematch with the Rockets at Millett Hall, leading by two with 1:43 left, before Toledo put together a 5-0 run to finish the game and pull out a 66-63 Mid-American Conference win.
The Rockets (17-4, 5-3), tied for first in the MAC West Division going into the game, extended their winning streak in the series to 12 games, including a 71-59 win at Toledo on Jan. 15. The RedHawks haven’t beaten the Rockets since a 68-66 win at Toledo on Feb. 12, 2011.
“Our guys battled,” second-year coach Jack Owens said. “We were in position to win. We just had some unfortunate breaks.”
Senior guard Darrian Ringo, who went into the game leading the MAC with an average of 2.6 steals per game and second in the conference with an average of 5.3 assists per game, didn’t start for just the second time this season, but he scored all 10 of his points in the second half, five during Miami’s 12-2 run that left the RedHawks (11-10, 3-5 MAC East) leading, 63-61.
“There’s a lot of frustration,” Ringo said. “We’re definitely down on ourselves. We’ve got to get better – come to practice and get ready to go.”
Ringo, who almost didn’t return to Miami for his senior season, didn’t start because he violated at least one team rule, Owens said.
“He has to continue to stay the course,” Owens said. “When he’s aggressive and working downhill, he’s a tough load to handle, but we have rules. He has to take responsibility. No one is above it.
“He played a good second half. He just needs to keep it simple.”
Sophomore guard Nike Sibande scored 12 of his team-high 18 points in the second half. Junior forward Bam Bowman tied his single-game career high with five 3-pointers on his way to 17 points, but the RedHawks were badly outrebounded, 42-28, and made just 10-of-18 free throws.
The most crucial missed rebound was after Toledo’s Nate Navigato missed a 3-pointer with 1:27 left. Marreon Jackson got credit for the rebound after the Rockets were granted a timeout during a scrum on the floor for the loose ball. Navigato converted the second chance with a go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:06 left in the game.
“We’ve got to get better at the free throw line and rebounding,” Owens said. “Those hurt us. I give the guys credit for competing, but we’ve got to find a way to win that game. We’ve got to get rebounds and finish it off. We’ve got to be scrappy enough to get rebounds.”
The RedHawks still had a chance to at least tie the score. Following a timeout with 11 seconds left, the best shot they could come up with was sophomore forward Dalonte Brown’s contested 3-pointer from right in front of the Miami bench. The shot rimmed out.
The Rockets had the MAC’s best 3-point field-goal percentage (.379) going into the game, but the RedHawks limited the them to .296 (8-for-27), including 11 straight misfires in one second-half slump.
Miami is scheduled to travel to Eastern Michigan on Saturday for a noon tipoff and to Kent State on Tuesday for a 7 p.m. game before returning home on Feb. 9 to face Ohio at 2 p.m. on “Miami Pro Alumni Day” and “Wayne Embry Day.” Embry, who graduated in 1958, still holds the program record for career rebound average and the top two single-season rebound totals. His uniform No. 23 was retired in 1995.
Bowman finished the first half with a single-game season-high four 3-point shots and 12 points, helping the RedHawks lead by as many as seven points, but sophomore guard Milos Jovic made a careless turnover while Miami was trying to go for the last shot and Jackson converted with a wide-open layup and a 31-29 Toledo halftime lead.