Miami routs Ball State to snap three-game losing streak

OXFORD — Riding a three-game losing streak and with the Mid-American Conference stretch drive looming, Miami men’s basketball coach Travis Steele figured his team needed some tweaks.

One was giving senior center Anderson Mirambeaux his first start of the season on Saturday against Ball State.

The bulky, 6-foot-8 Mirambeaux, starting in place of 7-1 freshman center Reece Potter, responded with 16 points, 11 in the second half, as the RedHawks pulled away from the Cardinals for an 80-59 MAC win.

“We were struggling a little bit and coach started talking a week ago about making some changes,” said Mirambeaux, who was tied with 6-5 graduate wing for the team lead in scoring with an average of 12.5 points per game.

“We’d been having a tough time with consistency,” Steele said.

Freshman wing Eian Elmer led four Miami players in double figures with 18 points. Junior guard Bradley Dean scored 15 points, allowing Miami to build a whopping 29-2 advantage in points off the bench. Graduate wing Darwseshi Hunter added 13 points.

Miami celebrated “One Miami Day” with several of the 7,736 fans attending on complimentary tickets paid for by university President Gregory Crawford and his wife, Dr. Renata Crawford. The event featured several on-court recognitions, from 40-year volleyball coach Carolyn Condit receiving an honorary doctorate to the football ringing the Miami-Cincinnati Victory Bell to several former men’s basketball players and coaches being honored.

“That was our best crowd in my two years here,” Steele said. “We appreciated it. It gives us motivation and makes it tough on the opponent.”

The RedHawks improved to 12-13 overall and 6-6 in the MAC while bouncing back from a 73-53 loss at Georgia State in MAC-Sun Belt Challenge.

Miami took the lead for good at 25-24 with on Elmer’s 12-foot jumper from the left wing with 3:36 left in the first half. The final margin was the RedHawks’ largest lead of the game.

Miami also forced 15 turnovers while committing just nine, leading to a 12-4 lead in points off turnovers.

“Our defense was good, but the offense wasn’t thee same,” Mirambeaux said. “We fixed it a little better.”

Potter scored eight points in 10 minutes, including two 3-pointers, to lead the RedHawks to a 30-29 halftime lead. Mirambeaux, making his first start of the season, scored the first five points of tbe game and the RedHawks led by as many as six, 16-10, on an Eian Elmer jumper with 10:07 left before halftime.

There were eight lead changes in the first half.

“You always try to push a few buttons,” Steele said. “I told Reece that Andy’s a senior and we have seven regular-season games left. I told him this in no way reflects how I feel about how he’s been playing. He totally understood. Then I said, ‘You’ve got to respond the right way,’ so what’s he do? He scores eight points in the first half.”

In the first game of the women’s-men’s doubleheader, Miami freshman forward Amber Tretter logged her sixth straight double-double with 10 points and 17 rebounds to lead the 7-16 and 4-8 RedHawks to a 58-50 MAC win over the Western Michigan Broncos.

The men went into their game tied for sixth in the MAC with Western Michigan and Kent State.

Miami is scheduled to play at Western Michigan on Tuesday before returning home to meet Central Michigan on Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Miami lost to Western Michigan, 83-74, on Jan. 2 in the MAC opener. The RedHawks also lost at Central Michigan, 71-55, on Jan. 23.

The top eight teams qualify for the MAC Tournament at Rocket Mortgage Arena in Cleveland.


Western Michigan at Miami, 7 p.m., ESPN+, 980, 1450

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