Miami Advances to the MAC Finals With a 69-63 Win Over Marshall

Updated 3/6/2000
  • TotalCast

    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 Marshall.

    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 tournament.

    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 game couldn't 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 rangy 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 had 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 over the 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 was 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 Thundering 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 shots.

    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 RedHawks shot only 33 percent from the floor in the half but made 6-of-12 3s.