Miami tops Eastern Michigan for 2nd straight MAC win

Credit: David A. Moodie

Credit: David A. Moodie

OXFORD — Granted, it’s too soon to say that Miami is primed to contend for a Mid-American Conference championship, but the youthful RedHawks are showing signs of maturation.

Miami trailed just once at 3-2 and shook off being tied, 45-45, with 10:57 left in the game to pull away from Eastern Michigan for a 71-54 win before a crowd of 929 at Millett Hall in Oxford.

“I thought the first half was kind of choppy,” second-year RedHawks coach Travis Steele said. “We were a lot better in the second half. We had a better response in the second half. They stuck with it.”

Freshman wing Eian Elmer, one of seven freshmen on the roster, scored a team season-high 23 points and 8-8 Miami limited the 8-8 Eagles to 31 percent shooting from the field (18-of-58) while leading the RedHawks to their  second straight conference win after an 0-2 start.

“We started off 0-2, but we didn’t let that keep us down,” the 6-foot-6 Elmer said. “We got into a rhythm. I have confidence in myself and the team.”

Graduate-student and forward Bryce Bultman added 14 points and senior center Anderson Mirambeaux came off the bench to finish with 11 points for Miami.

Junior guard Tyson Acuff, a second-team MAC pre-season pick, led the Eagles with 19 points, but Elmer the RedHawks accomplished their defensive mission, led by graduate-student and wing Darweshi Hunter.

“They have one really good player, and we wanted to keep the ball out of hands and make their other players beat us,” Elmer said.

Hunter left the game in the second half with a head injury, but Steele didn’t expect him to be sidelined for any length of time.

Elmer helped out with an eye-catching chasedown blocked shot in the second half.

“I’m a high-flyer,” he said. “I said, ‘I’ve got to go get that.’”

Bultman also grabbed a team-high eight rebounds as Miami piled up a 39-30 rebounding advantage while committing just 11 turnovers. The RedHawks’ usual goal is no more than 12 turnovers in a game. Miami enjoyed a 26-18 advantage on points in the paint.

“We felt like they were going to try to get us on the glass,” Steele said.

The RedHawks host Bowling Green on Tuesday at Millett Hall. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. The Falcons, who tied Miami for sixth in the pre-season MAC coaches’ poll, went into Saturday 11-4 overall and 2-1 in the MAC.

Miami and Eastern Michigan went into the game tied with Ohio and Kent State for sixth in the MAC, all with 1-2 conference records. Akron, picked atop the pre-season coaches’ poll, was in first place at 4-0, followed by Toledo and Western Michigan at 3-0.

“I keep telling the guy that the MAC is very, very, very jumbled,” Steele said.

The Eagles went almost nine minutes without a field goal and shot 29.6 percent (8-of-27) from the field, including 28.6 percent (2-of-7) on 3-pointers, in the first half, helping Miami open up a 31-18 lead before EMU ended the half on a 10-2 run and cut the RedHawks’ lead to 33-28 by halftime. Bultman scored 10 points to lead Miami in the first half. The RedHawks were equally as ineffective on 3-pointers, but made up for it by outscoring the Eagles, 16-8, in the paint, even though EMU enjoyed a 7-0 advantage in second-chance points.


Bowling Green at Miami, 7 p.m., ESPN+, 980, 1450

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