MIAMI — For everything that went right for Miami in the first half of its game with Inola Friday night at the NEO Field House, things did a 180 in the second.
The Longhorns used a 21-13 run in the third quarter and it resulted in a 48-44 loss for MHS at the NEO Field House.
“We had a stretch there in the late third and early fourth where we just didn’t get it done on the defensive end,” Miami coach Rusty Mercer said. “It was just too many easy baskets and too many mistakes.”
After trailing 27-22 at the break, Inola ran off six straight points to take a 28-27 advantage with 6:20 left in the third.
That would be the first of 10 lead changes and two ties in a quarter that saw the visitors go up 43-40.
The Wardogs couldn’t recover as Inola held a 5-4 edge over the final eight minutes.
“We just weren’t as sharp in the second half as far as rotations, alertness — just made too many mistakes defensively,” Mercer said.
“In the first half, we did a pretty good job of not letting them really get going, so defensively, they were probably a little less energized. Then all of a sudden, they do and they are scoring. Their defense is a little more active and it takes the wind out of your sails. It reversed on us (in the second half) and we just made too many mistakes.”
Guard Jayden Biggs gave Miami fits in the second half and especially in the third quarter.
The 6-2 junior forward had a game-high 18 points, but he had 12 in the critical third quarter and 16 during the second half turnaround. “They are tough. They put a lot of guys around that can score,” Mercer said. “Their guards are so tough. He (Biggs) is a guy and 2 (Carson Thompson) is a guy that benefit from the fact that (Jordan) Spurlock and Bell command so much attention.”
Bell added 10 points. Thompson only had five, but he drained a key 3-point goal in the third.
‘They won the first four minutes (of the second half) and we didn’t,” Mercer said. “They came out quick.’
Kaleb Jinks headed up the Miami scoring with 11.
Kai Hamilton chipped in with nine, followed by Eli Lewis, seven; Brant Morris, five; Conner Womack and Eli Chenoweth, four each, and Grant Nolte and Drew Williams, two each.
“I am proud of these guys,” Mercer said. “I am proud of where we’ve come the last two weeks. There is a long ways left. This team can continue to get better and better. I see way, way more bright spots than I do anything negative.
“We just have to get better and more aware in crucial situations consistently.”
Miami is idle until Jan. 2, when it hosts Pittsburg (Kansas) St. Mary’s-Colgan at the Miami Activity Center.