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Second Half Burst By No. 17 UNOH Sends Men’s Basketball to Fourth Straight Loss

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LIVONIA, Mich. — An 11-2 run over the first two minutes of the second half was the difference in a tightly-contested battle between WHAC counterparts Northwestern Ohio and Marygrove as the Racers used the burst to win by three possessions, 72-64, despite 19 points out of Mustangs’ sophomore guard Kenneth Miller. The Racers’ 11-2 run created separation in a game that saw visitors eventually lead by as many as 14 points, twice, in the latter stanza before holding on late.

The Mustangs made a run of their own in the second half, getting to within five points on two occasions before the Racers hit key free throws down the stretch to secure the victory. The narrow setback marks the fourth-straight loss for third-year head coach Craig Covington and the Mustangs, now 1-8 overall and 1-5 in WHAC action.

UNOH, the preseason No. 17 in the NAIA Division II Coaches’ Poll, earned their first WHAC win of the season to move to 1-2 in the league and 3-3 overall.

The Mustangs were able to get the upper-hand early, jumping on top of the Racers 12-5 after sophomore guard Tyler Sykes (Sterling Heights, Mich./Stevenson High School) knocked down a three from the top of the wing. Sykes’ three gave the Mustangs a seven-point lead at the 13:10 mark of the first half, forcing a Racers timeout in the process.

After Kenneth Miller (Flint, Mich./Grand Blanc High School) connected on a layup to give the Mustangs their biggest lead of the game at nine points, 14-5, the Racers bounced back by pouring in 10-straight points over a three-minute stretch.

The 10-0 run lifted the Racers back into the driver’s seat as the visitors held a 15-14 lead with just over nine minutes remaining on the first-half clock. The team’s traded buckets for the remainder of the half with the Racers taking momentum into the break by draining a three at the buzzer.

As the buzzer sounded, the Racers turned a one-possession game into a 34-29 edge as Lawrence Jackson knocked down three of his seven first-half points. Miller paced the Mustangs with a career-best 15 first-half points. The sophomore guard connected on 6-of-10 shots, including three triples, adding four assists and steals to his impressive opening half line.

The Racers opened the latter half on an 11-2 burst, led by back-to-back three pointers from Jackson, to take a commanding lead and never look back in a game that was decided by three possessions. Playing with grit, the Mustangs battled throughout but could not overcome the Racers’ initial second-half scoring barrage despite putting forth one of their best defensive efforts of the season.

Miller led the Mustangs with 19 points to go along with a season-high eight assists and five rebounds. Isaac Gillum (Milwaukee, Wis./Holy Redeemer High School) poured in 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting, followed by Sykes and Elijah Ingram (Detroit, Mich./Consortium High School) with nine points each.

Sirafino Davis (Flint, Mich./Tiffin University) led the Mustangs on the glass with nine rebounds, adding three blocks, while lone senior Diante Taylor (Battle Creek, Mich./Central High School) reeled in eight boards of his own.

Despite only going eight-deep, Covington’s bench outscored the Racers by a 23-12 clip and also took home the battle in points off turnovers, 15-12.

Jackson ended with a game-high tying 19 points and was accompanied in double digits by fellow guards Davon Payne and Josh Scott with 15 points each. Ray Beatty pulled down a game-best 13 rebounds to help the Racers earn their first conference win of the campaign.

The Mustangs face a quick turnaround as they head to NCAA Division I Eastern Michigan University Wednesday (Nov. 25) at 2 p.m. The game will be an exhibition for the Mustangs and will be streamed live on ESPN3 with 97.1 The Ticket’s Ryan Wooley handling play-by-play duties alongside EMU’s Assistant Athletics Director for Media Relations, Greg Steiner.

MEN’S BASKETBALL CONTACT: Tim Johnston | [email protected]/* */ | @tjohnston56
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Category: Men's Basketball

Today - 16 November 2018