Miami cruises past Pomeroys in final non-conference tilt
By MIKE SMITH
OXFORD, OH -- Miami connected on 65.5 percent from the field in the first half and 55 percent for the night as the RedHawks cruised past St. Mary-of-the-Woods College (6-9) 90-51 Thursday at Millett Hall.
Morgan Safford scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed a team-best seven rebounds to lead Miami (6-7). Sophomore guard Julian Lewis returned . . .
. . . to the lineup and scored 13 points in 25 minutes of action. Point guard Mekhi Lairy played just under 18 minutes and tallied 13 points, while Ryan Mabry contributed 12 points.
Forward Davin Miller (12 points) was one of two Pomeroy players to reach double figures. Keith Germain contributed 11 points and six rebounds.
It was the last non-conference game for Miami, which opens MAC play at Central Michigan Tuesday. (Note: The Chippewas posted a 63-61 upset at Michigan Thursday). RedHawks Head Coach Travis Steele used the opportunity to tweak the lineup and playing time, as well as look at different combinations.
"We haven't seen a lot of our guys altogether this year," Steele said. "There are some different combinations that we've kind of got to look at moving forward."
Sophomore forward Curtis Harrison IV made his season debut, scoring four points in 8:28 of action. "I thought he played hard." Steele said. "His aggressiveness and his mentality really helped our team. I thought he gave us a great spark."
Eleven MU players saw at least eight minutes of action. None played more than 27 minutes. The Pomeroys likewise substituted heavily, with 11 players getting at least 10 minutes of action and none plaing more than 25 minutes.
The ebb-and-flow of players, especially some less experienced team members, may have contributed to a grand total of 39 turnovers -- 15 by Miami and 24 by the Pomeroys. The RedHawks, who had 15 steals, went on to score 29 points off turnovers. St. Mary's tallied 16 off miscues.
The visitors pressed early and led 13-10 after a Elkin Ramirez's triple at 15:34. After Miami went back in front, the Pomeroys enjoyed their last lead (16-15) following a Jesse Burdick triple at 11:43. Two Safford free throws and a dunk started a 8-0 RedHawks run as MU grabbed the lead for good.
When Miami finished the period on a 21-6 run, it took a 51-25 advantage to the locker room. The Pomeroys recorded just nine field goals (4 teys) while shooting 33.3 percent before intermission. Miami also hit four triples, but connected on 21 field goals overall.
The RedHawks continued to expand their lead when play resumed, reaching 38 points for the first time after a Lairy layup at 6:39. Mitchell Riley's layup completed scoring and gave MU its largest lead of the evening -- 39 points (90-51).
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.