Four RedHawks in Double-Digits in Home Win vs. Ball State

By: Jack Mueller 

The Miami RedHawks completed their season sweep of Ball State on Saturday, defeating the Cardinals 80-59 in front of a packed Millett Hall. Over 7,000 fans came out to celebrate One Miami Day and support the ‘Hawks.

“That’s the best crowd we’ve had since I’ve been here” said Head Coach Travis Steele, “Fans don’t know how much that’s appreciated.”

The two teams were deadlocked at the break, with Miami going to the locker room with a slender one-point lead. The RedHawks found their groove in the second half, exploding for 50 points after the break. With ten minutes to go, Bradley Dean gave the RedHawks a double-digit lead, which they would maintain down the stretch to secure a lopsided victory. 

Miami’s defense was key against the Cardinals, as they looked like a completely different team than the one that allowed 80 points when the teams first met. The RedHawks took away 12 steals from the Cardinals, stifling any attempt at a comeback. Dean, Eian Elmer and Reece Potter all ended with multiple steals, and as a team Miami would convert these takeaways into 12 points at the other end. 

“We were flying around, we were being aggressive.” said Steele “Our best offense is playing off of our defense.”

Coming off a three-game losing skid, Steele opted to make a change, starting senior center Anderson Mirambeaux for the first time this season. Mirambeaux rewarded his coach's faith with a big game, putting up 16 points and four boards. He was also tasked with guarding Ball State’s Basheer Jihad, who was dominant in the first matchup between the two teams (29 points, 100% shooting). 

“We knew he wanted to go to the right, and we adjusted to that and came out with some good results,” said Mirambeaux. He, along with his team, held Jihad to 18 points and forced him into nine turnovers. Steele acknowledged how beneficial it was to keep Ball State’s leading scorer in check. 

“Basheer is the hardest cover In our league” said Steele, “he can do everything, he’s a matchup problem.”

Four RedHawks ended the game with double digit scoring totals, showcasing the depth that Miami has relied on all season to get results. Eian Elmer continued his stellar freshman season, putting up 18 points and also creating two steals. Darweshi Hunter added 13 of his own, connecting on three shots from behind the arc and pulling down eight rebounds. 

“We’ve got one of the deepest teams in the league, and we have to take advantage by maxing out every time we’re out there.” said Steele. 

Bradley Dean put up a season-high 15 points off the bench, often acting as the conductor of an offense that exploded in the second half. Dean showcased a deep scoring repertoire, connecting on some tough shots from behind the arc, and also going up strong at the rim. His defensive presence was also palpable, grabbing two steals. 

“I was waiting on it, and he was waiting on it.” said Steele. “It’s different guys on different nights for us, and that was on full display tonight.”

Miami will hope to ride their newfound momentum into a win in Kalamazoo on Tuesday. The RedHawks take on Western Michigan hoping to avenge their 83-74 loss at home just after the turn of the new year. Miami sits just above Western Michigan in the MAC standings, and a win will take them two games above the Broncos. 

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