Miami Classic Recap: Miami Impresses at Home, goes 2-0 on the Weekend
By: Jack Mueller
The Miami University RedHawks put on a show for their home fans over the weekend, defeating Coppin State and Eastern Illinois University at Millett Hall to bring their record back to even at 2-2.
The story of the weekend was the emergence of freshman point guard Evan Ipsaro, who put up double digit points totals in both games this weekend. Against Coppin State, the “true point guard” registered 13 points on 60% shooting (75% from behind the arc) and added four assists, two boards and a steal. Ipsaro led the team in scoring on Sunday, putting up 18 against EIU on 75% shooting from the field, as well as converting all 11 of his attempts from the charity stripe.
Graduate Transfer Bryce Bultman also asserted himself as a key player for the RedHawks this weekend. Bultman was quiet in the first two games of the campaign, only scoring seven points in 70 combined minutes. Against Coppin State though, he broke out and showed why the coaching staff was so excited for his arrival, scoring 21 points on efficient shooting splits (67%/67%/75%). The experienced forward wasn’t quite as dominant against EIU, but he still managed to put together a solid performance, scoring 11 while adding four assists and rebounds.
Four games into the season, we are beginning to see what kind of team the RedHawks will be. Up to this point, the RedHawks have been reliant on getting to the free throw line and getting hot from three point range. Shooters like Darweshi Hunter, Ryan Mabrey and Bryce Bultman have been able to give this team a spark when they start to sink shots, and have led to some impressive stretches where they are able to pull away from their opponents. Bradley Dean has started slow so far (5.8 ppg, 39% shooting) after transferring to Miami, but once he is able to assert himself into the offense a bit more, it will give the Redhawks a fourth three-level scoring threat (arguably fifth now with the emergence of Ipsaro).
Something to keep an eye on going forward for the RedHawks is their performances in the rebounding game. Despite coming out victorious in both contests, Miami was less than stellar on the glass. The RedHawks only outrebounded Coppin State by six rebounds, and allowed 11 offensive rebounds, a trend that would continue against EIU. The Panthers outrebounded Miami on the offensive glass 12-5, and while it did not end up being detrimental, the lack of dominance on the glass could be an area of concern. The absence of the 7’1 center, Reece Potter, and 6’8 forward Anderson Mirambeaux has no doubt played a part in the rebounding struggles, so for now the responsibility falls to Jaquel Morris and Jackson Kotecki to fill that void.
Miami has five days to recover, reset and prepare for a tough matchup on Saturday, November 25th against St. Bonaventure. The Bonnies have been quietly putting together some impressive wins over the past year, beating Notre Dame by double digits in November 2022, as well as toppling VCU, Richmond and Dayton consecutively in conference play that same season. Looking to take a leap forward this year, the Bonnies defeated Oklahoma State before falling to Auburn in the Legends Classic Championship. Keep an eye out for Mika Adams-Woods, who’s leading the team in scoring and scored 17 against the Cowboys.
Miami 76 Coppin State 48
This result was never in doubt, Coppin State came into Millett as the 360th best team in division one college basketball according to the KenPom rankings (out of 362) and outside of the first ten minutes, never really got close to the RedHawks. Bryce Bultman hit a three pointer to give Miami a three point lead at the ten-minute mark, a lead they would never relinquish. Miami would end the half on a 13-1 run, highlighted by a three point barrage by Bultman and four straight points by freshman Eian Elmer, including a dunk, to end the half.
It was more of the same after the break, as Bultman would come out firing to start, adding five consecutive points for the RedHawks. Bradley Dean (2-6 on 3pt FG), Evan Ipsaro (3-4) and Ryan Mabrey (2-6) would all find the bottom of the bucket from three point range in the second half, and the RedHawks ability to get to the rim showed, as Jackson Kotecki would land two consecutive dunks midway through the half to put the RedHawks up by 30. Three pointers by Dean and Ipsaro at the end of the game served as the exclamation point on the Redhawks first win of the year.
Miami 76 Eastern Illinois 64
At first it looked like Miami would register their second blowout win in as many games, as EIU looked shellshocked to start, as buckets by Cooper, Bultman and a three by Ryan Mabrey gave the home team a nine point lead less than three minutes into the game. Miami would lead by as many as 18 in the first half behind more threes from Bultman, Cooper and Bradley Dean, as well as some stingy defense on the Panthers, who would not score from the field for over four minutes midway through the first half, which allowed Miami to pull away.
The second half was a completely different story however, as despite Miami opening up a lead as big as 19 points after a four point play by Evan Ipsaro, the Panthers just would not quit. Junior guards Nakyel Shelton, Dan Luers and Kyndall Davis all hit huge shots and put pressure on the RedHawks throughout the half to shrink the lead to just five points with seven minutes left to play. However, that's as close as they would get, as EIU’s foul trouble caught up to them. The RedHawks were awarded 39(!!) free throws after EIU spent the majority of the second half in the bonus+, and the RedHawks showed no signs of their early season troubles from the stripe, converting 80% of those attempts for 31 points from the line. Evan Ipsaro would hit four of those attempts to stretch the lead to 12 with thirty seconds on the clock, ensuring that the Redhawks would walk away from the weekend undefeated.
NEXT GAME: Saturday, November 25th @ St. Bonaventure (2 p.m. ET)