The first part of an unusual Miami basketball-football doubleheader worked out well for the basketball RedHawks on Wednesday.
Sophomore forward Josh Brewer came off the bench to score a career-high 15 points in just under 19 minutes, leading four players in double figures during Miami’s 80-45 win over NCAA Division II Central State in a game that tipped off at noon.
All 12 players who were available to coach Jack Owens saw the court for Miami, which is 3-1 for the second time in Owens’s three seasons. Junior Nike Sibande scored 14 points, third-year sophomore Isaiah Coleman-Lands added 11 and junior forward Dalonte Brown logged his second straight double-double with 11 points and 12 rebounds.
“Any time you can give guys valuable minutes, it’s very important,” Owens said. “We’re going to need those guys at some point this season.”
Brown helped the RedHawks finish with a whopping 52-38 rebound advantage, the first time Miami has piled up 50 rebounds since grabbing 58 against Midway last season. The margin was even more impressive with 6-foot-8, 275-pound senior Bam Bowman and 6-8, 189-pound freshman Javin Etzler still sidelined with injuries.
“I come into the games with crushing the glass in mind,” the 6-7, 200-pound Brown said. “That’s my job on the team anyway.”
“Rebounding is about effort,” Owens said. “He’s always flying around. He’s got a high, nonstop motor. That translates to any level.”
Wednesday’s basketball game, witnessed by a crowd of 1,013, was due to be followed by a 7:30 p.m. Mid-American Conference East Division football game against Akron.
It was the second in fewer than 24 hours for Central State (2-2), which beat Urbana on Tuesday night. Freshman Darweshi Hunter scored 17 points to lead the Marauders against Miami. Wednesday’s game was an exhibition game for CSU.
“Playing a hard fought game on Tuesday night, it was a big adjustment for our guys to comeback for (Wednesday’s) noon tipoff,” Central State coach Joseph Price said. “I thought we started the game off with a high level of energy, but we were unable to sustain for the full 40 minutes.
Miami is a very well-coached team with a lot of talent. They were able to expose a lot of our weaknesses (Wednesday) and did a great job of scoring in the paint. We had a game earlier this month against a Division I opponent (Wright State) and again (Wednesday) against Miami. We will use these experiences against top-level programs to get better as we move forward with the rest of our season.”
The Marauders a will return to action on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at home against Goshen. The RedHawks are off until Monday at 1:30 p.m., when they will tip off against Drake in the first round of the eight-team Gulf Coast Showcase in Estero, Fla. They could face Wright State in Wednesday’s championship game in what would be a rematch of Miami’s season opener, an 88-81 loss at Millett Hall.
“We wanted to make sure we went into the tournament feeling good,” Brown said. “I think we accomplished that.”
Miami took the lead for good against Central State on fourth-year junior forward Milos Jovic’s 3-pointer from the right wing that snapped a 9-9 tie with 14:09 left in the first half. That shot sparked a 12-0 run, and the RedHawks went on to lead by as many as 37 late in the second half. Miami outscored the Marauders in the paint, 38-14, and 12-3 on second-chance points.
The RedHawks committed 13 turnovers in the first half before buckling down to finish the game with just 15, but taking better care of the ball wasn’t exactly a focus of Owens’s halftime talk.
“We just talked about playing the right way,” he said. “I was happy with our guys. They were able to finish the game off, and we were injury-free.”
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