CLEVELAND (AP) -- Jason Stewart's conference record 10 3-pointers sent
Miami of Ohio to another upset and into the Mid-American Conference
Tournament championship Monday night with a 69-63 semifinal win over
Stewart made 10-of-12 3s and scored 32 points to lead the No. 9 seeded
RedHawks (15-14), who will play the winner of Monday's second
semifinal between Ball State and Ohio in Wednesday night's title game.
The MAC's tournament champion receives an automatic bid to the NCAA
Stewart was nearly automatic himself.
He drilled 3s from every angle on the floor, keying a 33-5 run that
bridged the first and second half for the RedHawks, who early in the
buy a basket.
After draining his 10th trey _ and third on three straight possessions
_ to give the RedHawks a 52-35 lead with 9:00 remaining, Stewart, a
left-hander, looked amazed by his own marksmanship and laughed when he
got back down the floor to play defense.
The next time he touched the ball, Miami's fans began screaming,
'Shoot, Shoot' at Stewart, who was about 30 feet from the basket. But he
already done enough damage to No. 5 seed Marshall (21-9).
Jason Grunkemeyer added 17 points for the RedHawks, who were 14-of-20
on 3s but just 6-of-20 elsewhere. Stewart's 10 3s were also a school
and MAC tournament record.
Travis Young had 15 points, and Tamar Slay and Cornelius Jackson 12
apiece for the Thundering Herd.
Miami opened the second half by making it first seven shots, including
three 3s by Stewart and one by Grunkemeyer to open a 43-27 lead. Slay's
basket with 10:46 left brought Marshall within 10, but Stewart, who
made seven 3s in a loss to Marshall last month, drained three in a row
next 1:24 to put it out of reach.
Miami, which shocked No. 1 Bowling Green in the quarterfinals, will be
making its fourth straight MAC title game appearance. Last year's trip
expected with All-American Wally Szczerbiak leading the RedHawks.
But this year's squad struggled most of the season and lost seven of
nine before winning at Eastern Michigan in the first round.
Marshall, which beat Miami by nine points on Feb. 23, appeared to be on
its way to an easy win. Slay scored on an alley-oop dunk as the
Herd ran off 11 straight points to take a 19-8 lead with 10:08 left in
the first half.
Meanwhile, the RedHawks were struggling with Marshall's full-court
pressure and couldn't get anything to drop, missing 13 of their first 17
But Miami didn't commit a turnover in the final 10 minutes of the half
and closed with a 16-5 run to pull even at 24-all at halftime. The
only 33 percent from the floor in the half but made 6-of-12 3s.