WATCH: Miami tops Vermont on buzzer-beating 3-pointer

OXFORD — Darweshi Hunter delivered an early Christmas present to the Miami basketball team on Friday/.

The 6-foot-5 graduate-student wing banked in a 30-foot 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the RedHawks a 70-69 win over Vermont before a crowd of 1,196 at Miami’s Millett Hall.

“Never,” Hunter said when asked if he’d ever hit a game-winning shot like that.

“On any level?” he was asked.

“No,” he said, wearing a gold-colored chain and plate around his neck. “It feels great. We played for 40 minutes. It was a hard-fought game. It was like a dream come true, making the game-winning shot and running off the court.”

Hunter got the ball after senior Anderson Mirambeaux rebounded a missed free throw by Vermont’s TJ Long with 4.5 seconds left. Hunter dribbled across the halfcourt line and launched his shot right in front of second-year Miami coach Travis Steele.

The shot survived a officials’ video review.

“It’ll make my Christmas a lot better,” Steele said. “When he dribbled up the court, I said, ‘Merry Christmas.’ I knew it was going in. Thank God they missed that free throw.”

Hunter’s shot completed Miami’s comeback from a nine-point deficit with 3:31 to play. The RedHawks still were down by eight, 66-58, with 1:16 to go before their game-closing 12-3 run that started with one free throw by the 6-8 Mirambeaux and two by 6-4 sophomore guard Ryan Mabrey, a Hunter 3-pointer from the right corner and 6-foot freshman guard Evan Ipsaro’s 3-pointer from the right wing with 4.5 seconds left in the game.

Hunter scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half to tie Mirambeaux for the team lead. Miami survived shooting 43.6 percent from the field (24-of-55), including 35.7 percent on 3-pointers, and 63.2 percent on free throws (12-of-19) to escape with the thrilling win.

“Sticking with it,” Hunter said about his second-half turnaround. “I was getting good shots. They just weren’t falling. In the second half, they started to fall.”

“We hung around and hung around,” Steele said. “We didn’t shoot the ball well, but good teams find a way to win ugly. I loved our guys’ resolve. We scored 70 on a good Vermont team and we didn’t shoot well.”

“Darweshi loves those corners, but it takes everybody,” he added. “There’s strength in numbers. Our team is deep. We have a high, high ceiling.”

Ipsaro finished with 13 points and Mabrey added 11 for the RedHawks.

The 5-6 RedHawks, who snapped a three-game losing streak, get the week off before meeting Wilberforce, an NAIA squad, on Friday at 7 p.m. at Millett Hall in their final non-conference game of the season. Miami is scheduled to open Mid-American Conference play with a home game against Western Michigan on Jan. 2 at 7 p.m.

Vermont, the defending America East champion, went into the first-ever game between the two programs coming off an 86-60 win at Toledo — another Mid-American Conference team — on Wednesday. The win over the Rockets snapped a two-game losing streak for the Catamounts (9-5).

“Our confidence is as high as it’s ever been,” Hunter said. “We feel like we can play with anybody.”

The RedHawks went into the game ranked among the top 15 teams in the nation with a 39.1 three-point shooting percentage, but they missed their first five tries and finished the first half 5-of-16 (31.3 percent) while falling behind, 34-32, by halftime. The two teams combined to shoot 8-of-27 (29.6 percent) from long range and 6-of-13 (46.2 percent) on free throws.

Isparo scored 10 points and Mabrey added nine before halftime. Mirambeaux scored eight in the first half of his second game of the season.


Wilberforce at MIami, 7 p.m., ESPN+, 980, 1450

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