Raven Lee hit a three-point fade-away shot with 14 seconds left in regulation to send the Eastern Michigan men's basketball team in the first round of the MAC tournament, into overtime and jump-start a 62-61 victory in over the University of Miami (Ohio).
The Eagles move on in the MAC tournament after struggling for most of the game Monday and still being able to complete a 12-point comeback with less than ten minutes to go. Lee’s shot tied the score to extend the game and Brandon Nazione converted a layup with 36 seconds left in the overtime period to complete the comeback victory.
“That was March Madness at its best,” EMU coach Rob Murphy said. “Very fortunate to be moving on. Throughout the game I thought Miami made it tough for us to score. Going into halftime we wanted to make adjustments, make more contested shots and to play better defense. Throughout the game, we just continued to believe.”
EMU fell behind in the first half trailing at halftime 33-29 and only held one lead in the second half after another three-pointer from Lee rattled in at the 18:38 point in the period for a 34-33 advantage. Miami then went on a 19-6 run over the course of the following 9 minutes, led by Geovonie McKnight, to give the Redhawks a 52-40 lead.
While Miami finished the last 9:03 of the contest only scoring two more points, the Eagles had their fair share of struggles shooting 34 percent from the field in the half. The Eagles – despite the poor shooting and the smothering press coverage Miami played on defense – persevered and gave Lee the opportunity to hit his game-tying shot.
“I just wanted to stay confident,” Lee said of his shot. “I’ve shot a lot of jumpers in my life, so I just wanted to keep good mechanics and everything and hope it went, which it did.”
During overtime, the Eagles and Miami traded baskets for the 5-minute period when forward Brandon Nazione converted on a layup with 36 seconds to give the Eagles the 62-61 lead. The Eagles then held off four Miami shots in the final 10 seconds to seal the win and punch their tickets to Cleveland.
“Give a lot of credit to Miami; they gave us all we could handle tonight,” Murphy said. “They deserved to win as much as we did, but fortunately we were on the winning side tonight.”
The Eagles move on to the second round of the MAC Tournament and will next play Bowling Green Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio.