Miami basketball: RedHawks top Capital in exhibition

Miami Redhawks guard Mekhi Lairy controls the ball against Western Michigan during Mid-American Conference play at Millett Hall in Oxford Jan. 30, 2021. Contributed photo by E.L. Hubbard
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Miami Redhawks guard Mekhi Lairy controls the ball against Western Michigan during Mid-American Conference play at Millett Hall in Oxford Jan. 30, 2021. Contributed photo by E.L. Hubbard

OXFORD -- Miami men’s basketball coach Jack Owens saw much of what he hoped to see in Thursday’s 69-44 exhibition-game tuneup win over Capital.

The stat that stood out most to the fifth-year RedHawks coach was the 18 points they allowed in the second half after giving up 26 before intermission. Miami led, 28-26, at halftime before outscoring the Crusaders, 41-18, in the second half at Millett Hall.

“They scored seven or nine points in the first half that we shouldn’t have given up,” Owens said in the hallway outside Miami’s locker room after the game.

Senior guard Mekhi Lairy scored 16 points, 14 in the second half, and fifth-year senior forward Dalonte Brown logged a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds before being helped off the court with an ankle injury with 6:35 left in the game. Owens wasn’t sure about Brown’s status after the game.

“Lairy got going in the second half,” Owens said.

Precious Ayah, a fifth-year senior forward, led both teams in rebounds with 11. He added eight points.

“It was great,” Owens said. “It was good. They ran some good stuff against us. It was good to get some guys some playing time. I liked the way we responded in the second half. We gave up some drives that we’ll look at on film, and we had 10 turnovers. We’re not a team that turns the ball over much.

“We had a scrimmage a where we had to play at a high level in the second half. I think we got better on both sides of the ball tonight.”

Junior guard Dae Dae Grant, who was named to the MAC pre-season all-conference second team on Tuesday, did not play against Capital because of a coach’s decision. The 6-foot-2 guard was a third-team all-conference pick last season. Grant is expected to play in Miami’s opener at Georgia Tech on Tuesday.

Miami returns 12 players, including all five starters, from the team that finished the 2020-2021 season 12-11 overall and 9-8 in the MAC, but the RedHawks were picked as the MAC’s seventh-best team in the conference preseason coaches’ poll.

The RedHawks are due to play Lamar in their home opener on Nov. 13 at Millett Hall. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Basketball will look a little different at Miami this season. Parking in the Millett Hall West Lot will be free. Tickets are digital, concessions are cashless, and fans are expected to wear face coverings in the arena.

Capital, an NCAA Division III team that competes in the Ohio Athletic Conference, is coached by former University of Dayton star Damon Goodwin. The Comets’ roster includes sophomore guard Carter Combs from Lakota West and sophomore point guard David Sanford from Springfield High School. Sanford scored seven points in just over 18 minutes.

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