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RedHawks welcome Broncos for Tuesday night matchup

<p>Junior forward Dalonte Brown (No. 13) and sophomore forward Eli McNamara attempt to block a Northern Illinois shot during a 70-55 Miami loss to the Huskies Feb. 1.</p>

Junior forward Dalonte Brown (No. 13) and sophomore forward Eli McNamara attempt to block a Northern Illinois shot during a 70-55 Miami loss to the Huskies Feb. 1.

After a short sabbatical because of a coronavirus-induced, midweek cancellation, Miami men’s basketball returns to the court tonight against Western Michigan.

With the Broncos sporting the same record as the RedHawks (9-12, 2-6), both teams will be fighting to lunge themselves back into contention in the Mid-American Conference.

“(Western Michigan is) a solid team,” Miami head coach Jack Owens said. “I think it’s going to be two teams that are hungry for a win.”

The Broncos have struggled getting their offense going against MAC opponents away from home, averaging just more than 64 points per game. Their overall season average is 71.7.

The RedHawks last saw action Saturday afternoon — a loss to the Northern Illinois Huskies — when Owens gave a new look to the offense. 

The team’s leading scorer, junior guard Nike Sibande, and junior forward Milos Jovic came off the bench despite being usual starters. They were replaced by redshirt sophomore guard Isaiah Coleman-Lands and sophomore guard Mekhi Lairy. 

Jovic’s move to the bench worked out. He hit double figures in points, so it will be interesting to see what his role is going forward. Sibande was a non-factor until the final ten minutes due to foul trouble.

In a conference where most games are usually close, Owens’ decision about Sibande is quite the head scratcher. The ’Hawks are currently on the outside looking in with a 2-6 record in the conference, and bringing their main ball handler (and best player) off the bench is going to require an explanation. 

Looking ahead, Miami and Western Michigan both rely on two juniors to do the bulk of their scoring. Similarities continue with both teams having issues on the defensive side of the ball, giving up an average of 73 points per game. 

The question is, which team is now desperate enough to claw for a crucial conference win?

Player to watch

Nine straight games in double figures have thrust freshman guard Dae Dae Grant into being the No. 2 offensive option for the RedHawks. It couldn’t have come at a better time with Dalonte Brown struggling in conference play. It’s a pleasant sight to see Grant — who averaged 26 points per game in his senior year of high school — emerging as the future face of MU Basketball. 

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SCOUTING REPORT

The Game

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: 9-12, 2-6 MAC

Offense: 73.7 ppg

Defense: 72.7 ppg

PROJECTED LINEUP

Player (position, height, key stat)

Dae Dae Grant (guard, 6'2", 9.6 ppg)

Isaiah Coleman-Lands (guard, 6'0", 7.5 ppg)

Mekhi Lairy (guard, 5'8", 8.1 ppg)

Dalonte Brown (forward, 6'7", 11.6 ppg)

Bam Bowman (forward, 6'8", 7.0 ppg)

WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS

Record: 9-12, 2-6 MAC

Offense: 71.7 ppg

Defense: 73.6 ppg

PROJECTED LINEUP

Player (position, height, key stat)

B. Artis White (guard, 5’9", 8.9 ppg)

Michael Flowers (guard, 6'1", 17.9 ppg)

Jason Whitens (guard, 6’5", 5.1 ppg)

Titus Wright (forward, 6'8", 6.0 ppg)

Brandon Johnson (forward, 6’8”, 14.5 ppg)

guistom@miamioh.edu

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