No letdown for RedHawks in big home-opening win

Miami's Myja White goes up for a layup during Saturday's game vs. Lamar at Millett Hall. Miami Athletics photo
Miami's Myja White goes up for a layup during Saturday's game vs. Lamar at Millett Hall. Miami Athletics photo

OXFORD -- After Tuesday’s stimulating 72-69 win at defending Atlantic Coast Conference-champion Georgia Tech, the possibility of a Miami letdown in its home opener on Saturday against Lamar was distinct.

Unfortunately for the visiting Cardinals, the RedHawks remained motivated. They went 12-for-20 on 3-pointers in the first half and 17-of-32 in the game while leading by as many as 38 points before settling for a 104-75 non-conference win.

Junior guard Dae Dae Grant, a pre-season second-team all-Mid-American Conference pick, sank six 3-point shots and scored a game-high 20 points.

“We talked about it a little bit,” Grant said, referring to the Georgia Tech game. “That was a great win, but we have to move on to the next game.”

“Our guys have a mature approach,” coach Jack Owens said. “We talked about it a little bit. We talked about how we have to play at a high level every time out. We always talk playing at a high level at all times.”

Senior guard Mekhi Lairy, who led Miami with 23 points at Georgia Tech, scored 15 on Saturday. Fifth-year senior forward Dalonte Brown added 13 for the RedHawks in the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

Sophomore forward Kamari Williams scored 12 and senior forward Elijah McNamara also reached double figures with 10 points. Senior guard Isaiah Coleman-Lands just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 assists, tying his career high.

Miami shot 53.1 percent on 3-pointers against Lamar after making just 6-of-31 19.4 percent at Georgia Tech.

“We have great shooters,” Grant said. “That’s a strength, but that’s not our bread-and-butter. That’s not our cup of tea. We always try to get to the basket.”

Owens, starting his fifth season at Miami, was impressed that the RedHawks racked up 27 assists on 39 made field goals.

“We talk about playing the right way,” Owens said. “It’s great to see guys pass up shots to get better shots. It’s always about one more (pass). They don’t care about scoring. They play the right way, but we still have a lot of things we can correct on offense.”

Most of the starters were on the bench midway through the second half, but the RedHawks still reached triple figures in scoring for the first time since their 109-70 win over Rio Grande on Dec. 17, 2017.

Miami, 2-0 for the first time since winning the first three games of the 2017-2018 season, is scheduled to continue its run of four consecutive home games on Wednesday against Stetson.

The RedHawks never trailed and Grant went 6-for-9 from the field, all of them 3-pointers, on his way to 18 first half points. The RedHawks actually were more effective from beyond the arc in the first half, shooting 60 percent while managing only 54 percent (7-of-13) from inside the line. Miami led in the first half by as many as 28 points while scoring at least 50 in a half for the first time since the second of a 96-54 win at Central Michigan last February 23.

On hand for the game was Miami graduate and Pulitzer Prize-winner Wil Haygood, whose Washington Post article and subsequent book about White House butler Eugene Allen became the basis for the movie, “The Butler.” Haygood sat courtside with Miami President Gregory Crawford.

Junior Jackson Kenyon’s bucket with 1:20 left in the game gave Miami 101 points and prompted Crawford to hop up and down a couple of times.

True freshman Marr Avance, a 6-foot-1, 178-pound guard from Indianapolis Lawrence North, did not dress and is going to redshirt this season.


Stetson at Miami, 7 p.m., ESPN3, 980, 1450

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