Defense, turnovers block RedHawks challenge
Miami's 49.2 percent from field not enough
By MIKE SMITH
DAYTON, OH -- With 10 contests in the book and just two more non-conference games left on the 2023-24 schedule, Miami Head Coach Travis Steele has a pretty good idea of what his super-young team needs to do in order to compete during upcoming MAC play.
Tuesday's 92-82 loss at Wright State (5-6) re-emphasized MU's issues as it had a somewhat familiar ring to it. Specifically, the opponent shot a very high field goal percentage (67% for the night) and did most of its damage inside (64 points).
Tanner Holden, a 6-6 senior guard, led the way, hitting 13 of 14 from the field on the way to 27 points. Sophomore forward Brandon Noel, meanwhile, connected on 9 of 14 from the field and all seven free throws to tally 25 points. Junior Alex Huibregtse also reached double figures with 16 points.
Miami, which fell to 4-6 while losing the last three of a tough four-game road trip, also had three players in double figures. Bryce Bultman and Bradley Dean contributed 12 apiece, while Anderson Mirambeau chipped in 11. It was Mirambeaux's first action of the campaign. While he showed some rust, including three turnovers, he played 14 minutes and showed glimpses of the powerful inside game that made him a key RedHawk weapon last year.
As a team, the RedHawks shot a solid 49.2 percent (31 of 63) from the field, including 44.0 percent (11 of 25) outside the arc. With WSU hitting just 2 of 9 from long distance, MU was able to take a 43-39 lead into halftime and build a 52-43 advantage early in the second stanza. However, Wright State then took the lead during an 11-0 run that Noel finished at 14:40 with an and-one following a steal.
Although MU had just one more turnover (13-12) overall, the Raiders had a 9-4 edge in steals and it was a flurry of steals that eventually ended Miami's challenge.
The RedHawks were down 80-78 after Jaquel Morris' dunk at 3:26. Holden hit one of two free throws for WSU before Miami committed three straight turnovers. That led to six straight points -- two on dunks. Leading by nine with 2:07 to play, the hosts never allowed MU closer that six after that.
Editor-Publisher Mike Smith
Mike grew up in Mid-American Conference football and basketball territory and returned there after military service. He has been covering MAC football and men's basketball for much of the last several decades.