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Men’s basketball routs Wilberforce, turns attention to MAC schedule

Swat.

After a booming first-half block by Bam Bowman, the senior forward glared at his victim, puffed out his upper body and walked in a circle with his biceps flexing.

Bowman was the big man.

And for the entire game against Wilberforce, so were the rest of his teammates.

The RedHawks swatted away the Bulldogs all afternoon, dominating, 119-52, Monday at Millett Hall. Miami’s point total ranks second in single-game program history.

“Our confidence level is extremely high,” sophomore guard Mekhi Lairy said. “We feel like we’re playing our best basketball right now, and it’s the perfect time for that.”

The contest ended the RedHawks’ out-of-conference schedule. They finished that portion of their calendar with a 7-6 record, their third consecutive winning record in non-conference play under head coach Jack Owens. 

Miami grabbed the opening tipoff, and with a Bowman offensive rebound and layup on the first possession, took a lead it never lost. 

Six minutes into the game, the RedHawks went up 25-3 on a two-handed slam dunk by junior guard Nike Sibande.

More of the same followed.

Alley-oops, 3-pointers, defense forcing turnovers and fueling transition — it was the epitome of a get-right game ahead of Mid-American Conference play for Miami.

The RedHawks shot a season-high 67 percent from the field and 46 percent from three, out-rebounded Wilberforce, 50-27, and forced 13 turnovers. 

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Seven Miami players finished with double-digit point outputs, including Lairy’s game-high 18. 

His six assists trailed only redshirt sophomore guard Isaiah Coleman-Lands’ seven. As a team, the Bulldogs dished out five.

“It felt great,” Lairy said. “All the guys, including myself, we were all unselfish. We wanted to get the best shot for the team, and that’s what we focused on today.”

Wilberforce featured only one player who scored more than 10 points. Junior guard Jabril Hunter tallied 12.

The margin of victory (67 points) is the second widest in Miami history, trailing only a November 2017 victory over Midway (83 points). The RedHawks’ largest advantage on Monday was 71 points with a minute left.

“It’s big for us from a momentum standpoint,” Owens said. “We just want to continue to create good habits.

“I’m excited [about starting the league schedule].”

Miami travels to Central Michigan and opens January against the Chippewas on Saturday. Tipoff is scheduled for 2 p.m., and the game will air on ESPN+.

“It’s going to be huge,” Owens said.

@ChrisAVinel

vinelca@miamioh.edu

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