Cardinals Battle RedHawks to Final Minute

UNIVERSITY CENTER, Mich. - The Saginaw Valley State University men's basketball team battled the Division I Miami University RedHawks until the final minute of the regulation before dropping the 71-61 decision. The match-up brought longtime Miami head coach Charlie Coles back to the city of Saginaw where he started his coaching career.

The Cardinals jumped out to the early lead as Greg Foster received the opening tip and took it straight to the hoop for a quick two and the first points of the night.

The RedHawks would then go on a 14-0 run over the next seven minutes as they built their lead to 14-2.  The Cardinals kept their poise and slowly fought back when Michael Fugate scored on a driving layup to cut the Miami lead to 30-22 with a minute to go in the half. The RedHawks would take a 32-22 advantage into the intermission.

The Cardinals fell behind by as many as 20 points in the second half, but stayed tough and cut the deficit to 49-34 on a Fugate layup with 12:59 remaining in regulation. Sophomore forward Mike Schaaf got SVSU closer when he hit a jumper with 7:48 left to close the gap to 53-40. Fugate finished the game with 12 points while Schaaf chipped in six points.

The Cardinals cut the deficit to single digits at 61-52 with 2:50 to play in the second half as Meijer "Player of the Game" Chris Webb knocked down two free throws. Webb would hit two more free throws after Miami split at the line to cut the lead to 62-54. Webb finished the contest with a game-high 19 points. He finished the game 10-for-11 from the charity stripe.

Saginaw Valley would have an opportunity late to cut the lead even closer, but could not get the shots to fall as Miami went on to the 71-61 victory.

The Cardinals forced 20 RedHawk turnovers on the evening, while turning over the ball just ten times. SVSU shot 90 percent from the free throw line (20-of-22) on the night. 

Junior guard Brett Beland added ten points for the Cardinals, while junior forward Jay Thames tallied a team high seven rebounds on the evening.

With the loss SVSU falls to 1-3 overall on the season, while Miami improves to 2-1.  The Cardinals will attempt to bounce back after the holiday break as they play host to the Cedarville University Yellow Jackets on Saturday for a 3:00 PM contest.