Miami of Ohio moves into MAC semifinals by beating Ohio 74-61
CLEVELAND (AP)—Michael Bramos scored 23 points and Miami of Ohio, playing while coach Charlie Coles remains hospitalized following a heart procedure, advanced to the semifinals with a 74-61 win over Ohio in the Mid-American Conference tournament on Thursday night.
The defending champion RedHawks moved on despite an off-night from senior forward Tim Pollitz, their leading scorer averaging 16 points. Pollitz scored a season-low 4 points, missing all six shots—some from point-blank range—in the second half.
But with Miami leading by just 63-59, Pollitz’s twin brother, Eric, came up big. He dropped a floater in the lane and then made a free throw to give Miami a 66-59 lead with 1:20 remaining. Kenny Hayes made four free throws and Bramos added two more as Miami closed with an 11-2 run.
Miami, the No. 5 seed, will play top-seeded Kent State in Friday’s second semifinal. The Golden Flashes advanced by blowing out Toledo 77-57.
In the first semifinal, Akron will face Western Michigan.
Coles, Miami’s gregarious 66-year-old coach, underwent an unspecified procedure on his heart earlier this week. He had bypass surgery in 1986 and went into cardiac arrest at the MAC tournament in 1998.
Jerome Tillman scored 17 points and senior Leon Williams had 15 for the Bobcats, who shot just 29 percent (9-of-31) in the second half.
Tyler Dierkers scored 11 points with a career-high 13 rebounds for Miami.
The longtime southern Ohio rivals were meeting for the fourth straight year in the tournament and sixth time in eight years.
Freshman Nick Winbush, who started just once all season, came off the bench and scored 10 points—matching his career-high—in the first half as Miami opened a 39-35 lead at the break.
The RedHawks fell behind by nine points in the first three minutes before getting three straight 3-pointers and scoring 13 consecutive points to take their first lead.