Miami’s field-goal percentage was hovering around 33 percent for most of the game before finishing at 39.2. The RedHawks were 6-for-25 (24 percent) on 3-pointers, including 1-of-11 in the second half. Their single-game season lows are five 3-pointers and a 23.8 percentage.
“I just think we weren’t executing and hitting shots we normally hit,” said Sibande, who finished 3-of-9 overall and 0-for-5 on 3-pointers.
Miami has been focusing on free throws in practice, Sibande said.
“We’re definitely more comfortable,” he said. “The more reps you get, the more comfortable you are.”
Owens didn’t think rust was an issue in Miami’s first game since Dec. 8, a layoff for finals.
“It is what it is,” Owens said. “Every team goes through it. For the most part, I thought we did a good executing our offense. Some shots just didn’t go down.”
The RedHawks are scheduled to return to their home court at Millett Hall on Thursday for the first of four straight home games. After meeting South Carolina State, Miami is off until taking on Evansville on Dece. 30 in the non-conference regular-season finale. Then the RedHawks open Mid-American Conference play with home games against Central Michigan on Jan. 5 and Northern Illinois on Jan. 8.
The Norse, a former NCAA Division II team who reached the Division I tournament last season, are the second Horizon League faced this season by Miami. The RedHawks edged Wright State, 65-62, on Dec. 5.
NKU led by as many as seven points twice in the second half, the second while Robinson was personally outscoring Miami, 7-3. The RedHawks cut the lead to 66-64 before the Norse went 6-for-6 from the line in the final 41.3 seconds.
Junior Bam Bowman, already wearing a black sleeve on his right knee, left the game in the first minute of the second half after being injured while chasing a loose ball. He returned after the under-16 minute media timeout and immediately contributed an offensive rebound and layup to cut the Norse lead to 42-39 with 15:02 left in the game.
“I think he just banged his knee,” Owens said.
Miami enjoyed a seven-point lead midway through the first half before NKU put together a 9-2 run for a 22-22 tie in a first half that featured 10 lead changes and six ties before ending with the RedHawks leading, 34-33. Harouna came off the bench to lead Miami with eight points. Sharpe sank three 3-pointers, two shy of matching his single-game career high, on his way to 11 points before halftime.
South Carolina State at Miami, 7 p.m., 980, 1450