Miami notches biggest win of season on Darrell Hedric Day

Miami celebrated Saturday’s Darrell Hedric Day with its biggest win of the season

Before a crowd of 1,926 and several former Miami basketball players, the RedHawks put together a 16-0 second-half run and went on to hand Bowling Green – which went into the game with the Mid-American Conference’s best record – a convincing 73-55 loss.

“Just an exciting game,” Miami coach Jack Owens said. “To have Ron Harper and Wayne Embry and those other former players on hand – it was just a great day.”

Junior guard Nike Sibande scored 24 points to move past Embry into 10th place on Miami’s career scoring list and collected 11 rebounds. Sophomore forward Eli McNamara and freshman guard Dae Dae Grant each added 10 points. Grant scored all seven of his second-half points during the first nine of the 16-0 run that the RedHawks came up with after Bowling Green (21-8, 12-4) took its only lead of the game, 53-51 with 11:08 left in the game.

“We just turned up the pressure,” Grant said. “We just continued to play our way.”

“He’s a steady guy,” Owens said. “He’s going to be special player. Defense is what usually keeps true freshmen off the floor. We knew he could score, but he’s playing good defense.”

Miami (12-17, 5-11) shacked the Falcons in the second half, holding them to 17.4 percent from the field (4-for-23). Bowling Green would’ve clinched the top seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament with a win and an Akron loss at Buffalo. Instead, Miami pinned on the Falcons their worst loss of the season.

Honors for Hedric included a framed red jersey with the No. 12, which he wore as a then-Redskin in the mid-1950s. He delivered the game ball and was joined by several former Miami players who were introduced to the crowd at halftime. A video board recap of his career was shown early in the second half.

Former Dayton Flyers coach Don Donoher was on hand to help honor Hedric, who graduated from Miami in 1955 and piled up 216 wins in 14 seasons as coach, which ranks second in program history behind Charlie Coles and fourth in MAC History. He also served as an associate athletic director and interim athletic director in 1994. Hedric was inducted into the Miami Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978 and still assists the athletic department with special projects as associate athletic director emeritus.

Besides Harper and Embry, former players on hand to honor Hedric were Joe Barry, Damon Friersono, Richard Goins, Chuck Goodyear, John McKenna and Joe and Ron Niekamp.

The RedHawks wore white long-sleeved warmup T-shirts with “Miami” and “12” in red on the front and “Hedric” and “12” on the back. Miami’s coaches also wore similarly decorated T-shirts.

Miami, which lost at Bowling Green by two points on January 7, never trailed and the score was tied three times in the first half before Sibande scored on a layup with 16 seconds left to give the RedHawks a 38-36 halftime lead. Sibande finished the half with 14 points in 17 minutes. Dalonte Brown grabbed six rebounds in 10 minutes off the bench before halftime.

“We controlled 90 percent of that game at Bowling Green, but we had some breakdowns at the end,” Owens said. “You can’t do that against good teams.

“This is big for our confidence. We’ve talked a lot in the locker room about not finishing games off. Knowing how you’re going to respond and play together is important.”

The RedHawks are scheduled to travel to Buffalo to face a Bulls team that lost at home to Akron, 86-73, on Saturday. Buffalo (18-11, 9-7) beat Miami, 83-78, on January 10 in Oxford. The RedHawks are due to wrap up the regular season next Friday against Ohio (15-14, 7-9) at Millett Hall. The Bobcats romped to a 77-46 win over Miami on February 8 in Athens.

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