Second half surge sends MU past Maple Leafs
By MIKE SMITH
OXFORD, OH -- After struggling to a late first-half 21-all tie, the Miami RedHawks (1-1) went on to cruise past Goshen College (Ind) 87-44 Saturday afternoon at Millett Hall.
Former William & Mary player Julian Lewis and freshman Billy Smith led four RedHawks in double figures. Each registered a double-double, with Lewis scoring 17 points with grabbing 10 rebounds. The 17 tied his career high, while the rebounds were a new career high.
Point guard Mekhi Lewis . . .
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. . . tallied 13 points, while Eli Yofan added 12 as the Red and White gave new Head Coach Travis Steele his first Miami win. Senior Anderson Mirambeaux, who led MU with 27 points against Evansville in Monday's opening night loss, was limited to seven points, but he played just 16:38 this time out.
With Miami missing four key veteran pieces, Saturday's lineup included two freshmen and a sophomore. As they did Monday, the RedHawks sputtered early. Nine of MU's 11 turnovers on the day came during the first half. Miami also shot 27.8 percent from the field and 16.7 percent (2-of-12) on treys before intermission.
Kedrick Bibby's steal basket at 3:42 pulled the Maple Leafs even at 21-all. However, MU tacked on five more points while holding the visitors scoreless as the RedHawks took a 26-21 lead into halftime.
That turned out to be a very small preview of things to come. Miami outscored Goshen 38-4 on the way to a 60-25 lead with 11:01 remaining. With the outcome in hand, the RedHawks were able to spread out some game experience. Ten players scored and 10 of 11 logged at least 4:50 on the court. Miami recorded 18 steals on the day (second highest in program history). Smith accounted for six of them.
Overall, Miami generated 61 points and connected on 64.7 percent of its shots from the floor in the seond half. It was also good on 6-of-12 from beyond the arc and made 11-of-14 free throws.
~~ The game counted as a regular season game for Miami and an exhibition game for Goshen College.
~~ The Maple Leafs compete as an NAIA school and belong to the Crossroads League.
~~ Miami had a 45-33 edge in rebounding and 12-2 advantage in second chance points.
~~ MU outscored the visitors 34-12 on fast breaks, in part due to 18 RedHawk steals. After the game, Steele said the RedHawks are currently focusing a little more on their halfcourt offense while trying to get the roster back to full strength.
~~ Smith (3), Mabrey (2) and Eli Yofan (2) were the only RedHawks with more than one 3-point goal against Goshen.
~~ Yofan was on-target most of the day. He hit 4-of-5 shots overall, 2-of-3 from outside the arc and 2-of-2 at the charity striple.
~~ Goshen had just two free throw opportunities on the day and missed both. Miami went 15-of-19 at the line.
~~ Team/Staff sang Happy Birthday to coach Steele on court after the game.
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.