POSTGAME NOTES: Buffalo at Miami
~~ One of the biggest challenges for Miami Tuesday was limiting damage from Buffalo's uptempo game. The Bulls ranked fifth nationally in . . .
. . . fastbreak points, averaging 18 per game. Given that transition defense was one of MU's biggest problems in non-conference play, the RedHawks were facing a particularly tough matchup.
Although UB ultimately managed 19 fast break points against Miami, head coach Travis Steele knows it would have been much worse a month ago when uptempo teams like Marshall and Indiana State blitzed MU. Since then, Steele has dedicated many practice hours to improving the team's transition defense.
Asked about the value of that practice against Buffalo, Steele said, "We've gotten much better in the last month. . . . That is a good Buffalo team. They play fast and furious and they are aggressive. . . . They would have scored 110, 120 points against us a month ago."
~~ Steele feels strong about using a man-to-man defense. However, he noted Tuesday was one of those times when circumstances forced him to employ a variety of looks -- partly in response to foul problems.
The RedHawks also needed to be somewhat deliberate on the offensive end. Buffalo was still going to run as soon as it got the ball, so Miami needed to run at least some clock on offense to protect its players in foul trouble. As it was, three starters eventually fouled out, but Steele was able to manage the situation enough for MU to pick up the win.
~~ Mabry was on the court for less than 23 minutes, but he scored 15 points while hitting 5-of-7 3-point tries. "We've got a lot of guys that can shoot the ball," Steele said.
~~ Miami had a 34-31 edge in rebounds.
~~ Buffalo ranks second among MAC teams in steals (9.13 per game). The Bulls notched 13 steals against MU.
~~ UB is 11th among MAC teams in 3-point percentage (33.2%). The Bulls made just 3-of-17 (17.6%) in Tuesday's action.
~~ Buffalo is also 11th (next to last) in free throw shooting (67.7%). It made 28-of-38 (60.5%) against Miami.
~~ The RedHawks lead the MAC, sinking 80.8 percent from the line. They had just two free throw opportunities in the first half but made 17-of-19 in the final period.
~~ Mekhi Lairy is fourth among MAC players with 4.3 assists per outing.
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.