MIAMI — Second-half offensive struggles led to Miami’s downfall during a 51-48 decision to Cassville, Missouri, Saturday, Jan. 9 at the Miami Activity Center.
“We didn’t score near the clip we had in the first half — 34 points in the first half and 14 in the second,” Miami coach Rusty Mercer said. “It was kind of a strange stat sheet. We were 17 of 25 from two-point range, but where we lost the game was we were 8 of 19 from the free throw line and 2 of 19 from the 3-point line.
“Eight of 19 from the free throw line hurt us as much as anything. Give them credit: they switched defenses (packed into a zone), which kinda forced us to shoot a little bit and cut off our penetration. We had been pretty good at getting to the basket and spreading the floor.”
The game was the second in three days for the Wardogs, who slipped to 1-4 on the season.
They rolled to a 55-39 win against Seneca on Thursday.
Miami faces another busy week by hosting Wagoner on Tuesday, and then it travels to Vinita next Friday.
“Against Seneca, we were able to force some turnovers and speed them up out of our trapping defense,” Mercer said. “They did a really good job of handling it and we just couldn't force tempo enough to get turnovers against them to get out in transition and get some points that way.”
Miami had taken a 48-46 lead with three free throws, but a clutch 3-pointer by Caleb Leach gave Cassville the lead for good with 1:05 remaining.
Aiden Cook tacked on a pair of free throws at the 13.0-second mark to seal the win.
“When you are not scoring on one end for a long period, it creeps into your defense,” Mercer said. “The wind comes out of your sails and you don’t have the same bounce and enthusiasm. It was kind of a perfect storm because at the same time, we had only seven turnovers in the game. I would take that every game.”
Miami had led 17-9 after the first quarter and was up 34-26 at intermission.
The Wildcats rallied to forge a 38-38-tie heading into the final stanza.
Bo Leach and Keaton Jinks scored 14 points and Trey Tanner added 10 for Miami.
The rest of the Dogs’ points came from Karson Jinks, who scored eight, and Spencer Smith, who chipped in with two.
Isaac Hadlow and Cook were Cassville’s scoring leader with 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Miami 55, Seneca 39
A 13-2 run in the third quarter gave the Wardogs some separation in a game that saw Seneca pull to within 25-24 midway through the frame.
MHS was up 38-26 after three, then outscored the Indians 17-13 over the final eight minutes.
Three players scored in double figures for the Dogs: Leach had 17, Keaton Jinks 15 and Luke Hackett 12.
Karson Jinks and Tanner added six and five, respectively.
Conner Ackerson paced Seneca with 15 points.