When Ohio (5-5, 2-3 Mid-American Conference) welcomes archrival Miami (4-3, 1-1 MAC) to The Convo on Tuesday night, it’ll be the 209th time the two schools face each other in The Battle of the Bricks.
Of all those meetings, only two have gone into triple overtime. The last time was in 2011 — a Miami 92-88 victory. But the first time happened almost 29 years ago, and nobody felt the time move slower than current Ohio coach Jeff Boals.
A redshirt freshman at the time, Boals guzzled down oranges and water at halftime while Lewis Geter and Dan Aloi battled the RedHawks.
With the score tied at the end of regulation, Boals thought it would be a good time to head to the locker room to use the bathroom. Unfortunately for him, he’d have to wait.
And boy did he wait.
“I had to go to the bathroom, and overtime happens,” Boals said. “Then boom, second overtime. I really had to go to the bathroom, so I tried to go to the locker room, but the doors were locked.”
Ohio lost 91-86 and Boals gave up his halftime snack for good.
“I had to go to the bathroom so bad,” Boals said. “And I never ate any oranges after that.”
The Battle of the Bricks is a rivalry near and dear to Boals’ heart. He remembers Larry Hunter forcing the team to do the three-on-two, two-on-one drill for an hour-and-a-half after a loss in Oxford. Boals hopes to instill that same refuse-to-fail attitude into his team when they face the RedHawks.
“I don’t think it ever changes, no matter what the records are, it’s always one of those type of games,” Boals said. “I’ve been involved with some great rivalries, and you know there is always something a little extra when you play each other.”
The Bobcats are coming off one of their worst performances of the season, and a win could be the pickup Ohio needs. The Miami game that was supposed to be played in Oxford on Dec.29 was postponed due to COVID-19 related issues with the RedHawks. Even though The Convo will be mostly empty when the two rivals play Tuesday, the history and excitement of the rivalry will be in full force.
One player the Bobcats may have that they wouldn’t of had for the first meeting is point guard Jason Preston. Preston has missed the last four games due to a lower leg injury. Boals put the chance of Preston playing Tuesday at “50/50.” Preston practiced on Sunday and was set to be re-evaluated following Monday’s practice.
Despite the success of backup point guard Mark Sears, if Preston can play on Tuesday, Boals expects Preston to play his usual range of minutes. In Preston’s absence, the freshman Sears has shined and is coming off a game-high 20-point performance against Toledo.
Depending on the status of Preston, Ohio will have most of its roster available against the RedHawks. Nolan Foster is out with a leg injury, but players like Dwight Wilson, Ben Roderick and Miles Brown will be ready to go.
Some may remember that Brown had a big part in Ohio’s 67-65 comeback win last year at Millett Hall. Brown might have only had four points, but his final two won Ohio the game and secured the Bobcats a first-round home game in the MAC Tournament.
“Miami vs OU is a great rivalry, and it’s been a great rivalry,” Boals said. “I’ve been fortunate enough to play in and coach in both situations, and it never gets old.”