By MIKE SMITH
Tuesday's Miami loss to Bowling Green was a tough one to swallow. The RedHawks appeared to be in position for the victory -- their third straight -- until a late scoring drought allowed BGSU to overtake the hosts. Miami scored just two points -- a Mabry bucket at 4:01 -- over the last 5:35.
Miami head coach Travis Steele was particularly upset in post-game, citing among other things a 31-15 Falcons advantage in foul shot opportunities. MU might well have survived that had it been able to convert on at least a few possessions down the stretch.
To get back in the win column Saturday, Miami will need to beat a Ball State team that is favored (espn) despite a current MAC record of 1-4. The Cardinals, who are 9-8 overall, broke a six-game losing streak Tuesday when they posted a 76-62 road win at Eastern Michigan.
Here's more . . .
-- After opening MAC play with a 13-point loss at Kent State, BSU fell to Central Michigan, Akron and Toledo -- all by six points or less.
-- Ball State connected on 26 of 52 (50%) from the field and 36.8 percent outside the arc in its win over Eastern Michigan. The Cardinals also recorded 11 steals and hit 17 of 22 free throws. The Eagles registered six steals and hit 12 of 17 at the line.
-- BSU got just six points from its bench -- all by Ben Hendricks.
-- Junior guard Davion Bailey paced the Cardinals with 23 points and seven rebounds.He was 4 of 8 on threes and hit all seven free throws. Guard Jalin Anderson tallied 15 points, followed by 6-9 forward Bashear Jihad (14) and forward Mason Jones (10). All four players are averaging in double figures. Jihad tops the quartet with an 18.4 ppg and 7.6 rpg average. He is fourth among all MAC scorers. Anderson is ninth.
-- As a team, the Cardinals rank ninth among MAC teams in scoring (74.0 ppg) and third in scoring defense (69.6 ppg).
-- Head coach Michael Lewis led Ball State to a 20-12 record in 2022-23 -- his first year at the helm. It was BSU's first 20-win season in six years.
-- Miami ranks seventh in scoring (74.5 ppg) and is fourth in scoring defense (71.0 ppg).
-- The RedHawks have a young and relatively balanced offense, with different players frequently topping a given game's scoring list. Overall, Anderson Mirambeaux leads MU with an average of 13.6 ppg. Darweshi Hunter (12.3 ppg) is the only other RedHawk averaging in double figures.
-- Although they missed much of the early season, Mirambeaux and Reece Potter have joined Jaquel Morris to give MU more depth in the middle than it has had in many years. Potter is a 7-1 freshman who can score inside or out and is probably just scratching the surface of his potential. Morris is a 6-8 sophomore with great leaping ability. He has improved on his freshman campaign in several areas.
-- Guards Evan Ipsaro and Bradley Dean did not play against EMU. The latter has been completely out of the lineup since an injury against Western Michigan Jan. 2. Ipsaro saw limited action in two contests after WMU but did not suit up Tuesday. Steele, however, is hopeful for his return soon.
-- Miami ranks third in field goal percentage (47.1%) and is first in 3-point goal percentage (37.9%). The RedHawks top all MAC teams in 3-point goal defense (28.9%).
- The RedHawks are last among MAC teams in rebounding (32.4 rpg). However, some of that owes to early games when neither Potter not Mirarambeaux were available. In its most recent outing, MU was outrebounded by Bowling Green by just one. Four days earlier, the RedHawks outrebounded Eastern Michigan 39-31.
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.