Buffalo Recap: Miami Picks up First Conference Win of 2024
By: Jack Mueller
The Miami RedHawks picked up their first MAC victory of 2024 on Tuesday night after an offensive explosion, defeating Buffalo 86-65 to register their second road win of the campaign.
Anderson Mirambeaux continued his impressive scoring stretch since returning to the RedHawks rotation, dominating the paint and leaving the Bulls with no answers. The senior center scored 21 points on 77% shooting from the field, both of which marked season highs for the veteran big man. Mirambeaux leads Miami in scoring this season so far, averaging 14.3 points per game.
Back to back buckets at the rim by Mirambeaux capped off a 9-0 run early in the second half that Buffalo could never rebound from. Miami would not stop there, as Mirambeaux and fellow center Jaquel Morris consistently got to the rim for easy looks, and shooters Ryan Mabrey and Bryce Bultman were knocking down shots from the perimeter. A dunk by Morris, followed by two buckets from Mabrey set up a 9-2 run with eight minutes to go after Bultman connected from three point range. Bultman was near flawless, adding 14 points on a perfect 6-6 from the field, also adding six assists in the win.
In just his second start of the season, Eian Elmer was excellent on both sides of the ball. The true freshman wing registered his third game with a double-digit point total, adding ten points and showing his ability to get to and finish at the rim. Elmer was even more impressive defensively, stealing the ball four times. On the season, the Cincinnati native is creating almost one steal or block per game, which will only improve as he matures and adapts to the college game.
Miami was able to dominate the game in the areas that they had previously struggled with this season. Against Buffalo they scored more than double than their opponents in points off turnovers (22 to 10) and dominated the lane, scoring 65% of their points from within the paint. Interior presence had been a concern early in the season, but the return of Mirambeaux parlayed with the solid play of Jaquel Morris and the emergence of Reece Potter has made the paint a strength for the RedHawks.
Coach Travis Steele has been set on playing his freshman, and in turn Miami has been one of the youngest teams in the country in 2024. However, his young guns are showing why their coach has so much faith in them. Reece Potter and Mekhi Cooper combined for another solid outing on tuesday, adding 15 points on 50% shooting between the pair. Potter has proven to be especially effective receiving the ball in the high post and finding a cutting guard in the paint for easy looks. The 7’1 big man has also shown a developing ability to step out and hit shots from range. Both Potter and Cooper have lots to improve on, but will no doubt benefit from the exposure to the collegiate level of play as their careers go on. Evan Ipsaro and Jackson Kotecki have also been impressive in this campaign, but injuries limited their contributions against Buffalo.
Miami improves to 1-2 in the MAC with the win, and are one of five teams in the conference with one win so far. The RedHawks will have a chance to even up their conference record on Saturday when Eastern Michigan comes to Oxford. The Eagles and RedHawks are tied in the standings and will hope to assert themselves as conference contenders with a win.