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Spring semester opens in midst of MAC-sketball

While the students were away, the ’Hawks did play. 

And not very well.

While most of the student body was celebrating the holidays, the men’s basketball RedHawks were hard at work, trying to show their young core could hang with the rest of the Mid-American Conference. 

Miami started the break well — with a 3-1 record to finish out December — and  was able to show resilience in the face of its top scorer, junior guard Nike Sibande, going down with an injury for a short stint. 

Then, January opened MAC play with a heartbreaker against Central Michigan, and inconsistencies allowed close wins (with the exception of Akron) slip away from the RedHawks throughout the rest of the month.

 The ’Hawks now share the MAC East Division basement with Ohio, with the same in-conference record of 2-5. Tuesday’s rematch with Central Michigan will keep the RedHawks on their toes, as the Chippewas boast four players averaging double-digit points per game.

The RedHawks have also had struggles defending big men who shoulder the bulk of the scoring, and Central Michigan senior forward David DiLeo is exactly that. Miami also has to keep tabs on senior guard Dallas Morgan, who cooked the RedHawks’ defense and drained five threes in the last meeting between these squads.

Now, with Miami faithful at their backs, the RedHawks will get another crack at the Chippewas in a Tuesday evening MAC showdown at Millett Hall. 

Player to Watch

With his field goal percentage falling further and further away from where it was around finals week, Nike Sibande is ready to bring his class back in session. The scoring has been there for him, but not every game; lockdown defense fueled his latest performance against Eastern Michigan however, so we will see if Sibande can get Millett rocking with one or two of his incredible dunks. With revenge in the minds of the RedHawks, Sibande is primed to bounce back.

SCOUTING REPORT

The Game

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Tipoff: 7 p.m. Tuesday at Millett Hall

TV/Radio: ESPN+, Miami Sports Network from Van Wagner, RedHawk Radio on YouTube Live

MIAMI REDHAWKS

Record: 9-11, 2-5 MAC

Offense: 74.7 ppg

Defense: 73.1 ppg

PROJECTED LINEUP

Player (position, height, key stat)

Dae Dae Grant (guard, 6'2", 9.3 ppg)

Nike Sibande (guard, 6'4", 14.1 ppg)

Milos Jovic (guard, 6'4", 4.1 ppg)

Dalonte Brown (forward, 6'7", 12.2 ppg)

Bam Bowman (forward, 6'8", 7.1 ppg)

CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS

Record: 10-8, 4-2 MAC

Offense: 82.9 ppg

Defense: 76.5 ppg

PROJECTED LINEUP

Player (position, height, key stat)

Dallas Morgan (guard, 6’1", 8.1 ppg)

Devontae Lane (guard, 6'2", 9.6 ppg)

Kevin McCay (guard, 6’5", 15.4 ppg)

Rob Montgomery (forward, 6'6", 11.0 ppg)

David DiLeo (forward, 6’8”, 14.1 ppg)

guistom@miamioh.edu

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