MIAMI — Still suffering a hangover from a heartbreaking loss to Jay the night before, Miami fell behind early and never could make up the difference during a 46-39 loss to Hilldale here Friday, Feb. 9.
“They hit a couple big shots to keep us at arms’ length,” Miami coach Rusty Mercer said. “We cut it to four at one time and missed a free throw to cut it to three, but we couldn’t get anything going offensively consistently.”
The Wardogs suffered a gut-wrenching 55-53 loss in overtime to Jay here Thursday, Feb. 8 — a game that saw Miami let a 19-point lead slip away.
After falling behind by nine in the first quarter, the Wardogs played on even terms the rest of the way.
Both teams got 12 points in the second period then Miami (9-12) held 9-8 and 13-12 advantages the rest of the way.
A free throw by Eli Lewis cut the deficit to three, 37-33, in the fourth quarter, but he missed the second by Hilldale (8-13) got a field goal and two free throws to pull away again late in the game.
“I think we were ready, but we just didn’t get off to a very good start,” Mercer said “They came out in a box-and-one on Kaleb. It slowed us offensively and didn’t allow us to have the start we needed.”
Jinks, who had 17 in the loss to Jay, managed only two points against the Hornets.
“We just never had that run that we needed,” Mercer said. “We kept hanging around, but just never quite got there”
Grant Nolte was Miami’s leading scorer with 12 points against the Hornets.
He was followed by Eli Lewis with nine, Eli Chenoweth, six; Kai Hamilton, five, and Conner Womack and Drew Williams, three each.
“We had trouble finding the energy level after last night,” Mercer said. “The fact that we struggled on offense, combined with the game we were coming off, it just made it real tough. I think we were trying, but we just couldn’t get over the hump.”
Dawson Neighbors and Tre Mitchell had 12 and 10 points, respectively, for the Hornets.
The Wardogs wrap up the regular season Monday, Feb. 12 at home against Claremore Sequoyah.