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Miami never trails, blows out Rio Grande

Jordan Herald - Miami Athletics
Jordan Herald - Miami Athletics

The Miami RedHawks (7-4) rode strong inside play on offense and defense to a 109-70 blowout victory over the NAIA Division II Rio Grande RedStorm (5-10, 2-2) at Millett Hall on Sunday. The RedHawks shot 33-for-45 (73 percent) on two-point field goal attempts and won the rebounding margin 46-28.

"It was great to get this win," MU head coach Jack Owens said. "It was finals week this past week, so they guys were obviously preparing for that. We were only able to practice every other day. I thought the guys came out and followed the game plan and we were able to get this win."

Sophomore forward Bam Bowman played a big role in the 'Hawks inside success, leading the team with 10 rebounds and adding 20 points for his first career double-double. Bowman's point and rebounding totals were both career-highs.

"I try to go into every game with the same approach and same strategy," Bowman said. "But it feels great to finally get my first career double-double at Miami."

The RedHawks won the opening tip-off and started the game with a 4-0 run on a jumper by freshman guard Isaiah Coleman-Lands and a layup by freshman guard Jalen Adaway. Rio Grande would never recover as MU held the lead for the remainder of the game.

The first half showcased rare outside shooting struggles for both teams. Both Miami and Rio Grande came into Sunday's contest shooting over 34 percent on three-point attempts, but shot a combined 2-for-19 from three in the opening period. The RedHawks had two makes on 10 attempts, while the RedStorm missed all nine of their first-half three-pointers.

Miami rectified their shooting woes by dominating inside. It secured 11 first-half offensive rebounds and scored 15 second chance points, compared to the RedStorm pulling down only 14 total boards in the half.

"Every game, we try to penetrate inside-out, so we try to get going on the inside first and then look for kickouts," Bowman said.

With 10:24 left in the half and Miami holding a 22-12 lead, Bowman hit a three to spark a 14-1 run over the next five minutes. The RedHawks held this edge and went into halftime up 54-25.

The onslaught continued in the second half, as Miami finally caught fire from outside. After missing their first two threes of the half, the RedHawks unloaded a three point barrage and hit eight of their last nine.

The RedStorm also bounced back from deep, and as they made seven of their 15 attempts in the second. They were led by senior guard Will Hill, who paced all scorers with 27 points.

Miami continued to extended its lead, and sealed a 109-70 win.

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The RedHawks featured a team-wide offensive attack, as five players finished with double-digit points and two more came within one basket of reaching 10 points.

Freshman guard Nike Sibande had a team-high 21 points.

Junior guard Darrian Ringo, who was originally supposed to start before coming down with an illness last week, put up 12 points and dished out a team-high assists. He finished a perfect 5-for-5 from the field.

Ringo's absence from the starting lineup resulted in coach Owens starting four freshmen. Senior forward Logan McLane was the lone upperclassman starter.

Miami freshman guard Michael Ritche scored the first point of his collegiate career on a second half free throw.

The win marks the first time Miami has started 7-4 since the 2008-2009 season. It also concluded the RedHawks' non-conference home schedule, as they've started the season 4-0 in the friendly confines of Millett Hall.

This was the first ever meeting between Miami and Rio Grande. Miami put up a historical offensive output in a win against Midway, Rio Grande's conference mate, last month.

Miami will travel to Chicago as it takes on DePaul (6-5) Thursday, Dec. 21. The game is slated for a 9 p.m. tip-off and will be broadcast on FS1.