Nike Sibande stepped back, flicked his wrist and held the pose as his 3-pointer swished through the net.
With his second three of the second half, the junior guard started a trend.
Dae Dae Grant, Isaiah Coleman-Lands and Dalonte Brown all got in on the action — hitting long jump shots and celebrating with their right hands up — during a game-changing 29-9 run to open the second half.
After a sluggish end to the first, Miami (2-1) needed the stretch. It held on for a 79-63 victory over Alabama A&M Saturday at Millett Hall.
“We really just maintained ourselves and continued to play the way we play, but in a better way,” Grant, a freshman guard, said. “We just made our shots.”
Although Alabama A&M (0-4) won the tip, Miami broke the 0-0 tie with an and-one dunk by redshirt junior guard Milos Jovic. Jovic missed the ensuing free throw, but the RedHawks stayed hot.
Grant and redshirt sophomore guard Isaiah Coleman-Lands each hit a 3-pointer to put them ahead, 11-3.
Then, the MU offense froze.
The Bulldogs went on an 18-7 run and took the lead on a three by freshman guard Garrett Hicks. Hicks added a layup to make it 23-20 before Coleman-Lands knotted it with a three.
Junior forward Dalonte Brown displayed his muscles and put Miami back on top. He grabbed an offensive rebound, converted an and-one layup and made his shot at the charity stripe.
In the last two minutes of the half, Alabama A&M re-gained the lead and bolstered it with a layup by freshman guard Cameron Alford at the halftime buzzer.
The Bulldogs led, 32-29, at intermission. That was their last advantage.
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“At times, I thought we rushed shots, or we got in the lane and didn’t make a play or the right decision,” head coach Jack Owens said. “Then, in the second half, we flipped that.”
Sibande started the half by hitting back-to-back threes, as the RedHawks punched the gas pedal.
Sibande, Grant, Coleman-Lands, Brown, Jovic and sophomore forward Eli McNamara all scored during Miami’s 29-9 run.
“I wouldn’t say ‘star of the team,’ but I was feeling comfortable,” said Grant, who finished with a career-high 15 points.
In the first 12 minutes of the second half, the RedHawks tallied 11 more points than they had the entire first half. They grabbed their biggest lead of the contest (23 points) with 3:46 remaining.
Miami had four scorers in double-digits. Brown recorded a team-high 16 points.
Despite missing two injured big men — senior Bam Bowman and freshman Javin Etzler — the RedHawks out-rebounded Alabama A&M, 47-31. Brown also had a game-high 14 boards to complete a double-double.
“This is the most we’ve been banged up since we’ve been here,” Owens said. “The rotations aren’t set yet, because Bam and Javin will be in the rotations.”
Graduate transfer forward TJ Parham led the Bulldogs and the game with 17 points.
Miami stays at Millett Hall for its next game. The RedHawks host Central State Wednesday at noon.