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RedHawks look to extend three-game win streak vs. Toledo

<p>Dalonte Brown has stepped up his game for the RedHawks, averaging 12.6 points per game.</p>

Dalonte Brown has stepped up his game for the RedHawks, averaging 12.6 points per game.

It’s no secret that for the past decade, the play of the Miami RedHawks men’s basketball team has been, to put it lightly, lackluster. 

The last time the team put together a winning record was 2009, when then-head coach Charlie Coles led the ’Hawks to a 17-13 record.

This year’s Miami team seems poised to change all of that, however. The RedHawks are 7-4 so far on the season, including an 85-63 blowout against Eastern Michigan last Saturday. 

It’s been a tale of two halves of the season so far for the RedHawks, as the team started the season just 3-3. After a 69-68 loss against Bradley University on Dec. 19, Miami’s next four games were postponed, as the team was dealing with issues from COVID-19. The RedHawks didn’t play for another three weeks.

After coming out of quarantine, Miami got its first conference win of the season against Northern Illinois. After the next game, a loss at Ohio, the RedHawks have won three games in a row. 

The offense has been a key element in the ’Hawks’ success, as the team has averaged 87.3 points per game during the winning streak. Combining the recent hot streak with a defense that’s allowing a MAC-best 69.5 points per game, it looks like the RedHawks have found an effective two-way attack at the right time.

Miami will have its first big test of the season against the Toledo Rockets, which has been the best team in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) so far. The Rockets are 13-4 and have an 8-1 MAC record. 

On Tuesday night, we’ll see if the RedHawks can pass the test.

Players to Watch

For Miami, the duo of Dae Dae Grant and Dalonte Brown has been instrumental so far. Grant, a sophomore guard, has been the best scorer so far, and also leads the team with a blistering 46.6% 3-point field goal percentage. Grant’s career high 28 points against Eastern Michigan last Saturday was enough for him to earn the MAC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week award.

Brown, a senior forward who’s had an up-and-down career with the RedHawks, looks like he’s in the midst of a breakout season. In his first six games, Brown scored in double digits only twice. In his last five, he’s reached double digits four times. Improved shooting has been a huge key for Brown, as he raised his 3-point field goal percentage from 29% last year to 42% so far this season.

So far, Toledo’s guards have led the team’s attack this season. Senior guard Mareon Jackson and freshman guard Ryan Rollins have been the team’s two leading scorers this season, each averaging at least 15 points per game. Senior guard Spencer Littleson, the team’s third-leading scorer, has shot a scorching 46.7% from behind the arc on a high volume of shots.

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SCOUTING REPORT

The Game

Tipoff: 7 p.m. Tuesday at Millett Hall

TV/Radio: ESPN+ and Miami Radio Network

MIAMI REDHAWKS

Record: 7-4, 4-2 MAC

Offense: 72.5 ppg

Defense: 69.5 ppg

PROJECTED LINEUP

Player (position, height, key stat)

Mekhi Lairy (guard, 5’8”, 11.2 ppg)

Dae Dae Grant (guard, 6’2”, 13.4 ppg)

Myja White (guard, 6’1”, 40.7 3fg%)

Dalonte Brown (forward, 6’7”, 12.6 ppg)

Elijah McNamara (forward, 6’9”, 5.1 ppg)

TOLEDO ROCKETS

Record: 13-4, 8-1 MAC

Offense: 79.8 ppg

Defense: 70.3 ppg

PROJECTED LINEUP

Player (position, height, key stat)

Mareon Jackson (guard, 6’1”, still 17.5 ppg)

Ryan Rollins (guard, 6’4, 15 ppg)

Spencer Littleson (guard, 6’4”, 13.2)

Setric Millner Jr. (forward, 6’6”, 13.0 ppg)

JT Shumate (forward, 6’7”, 9.6 ppg)

@LukasTheDream

nelso156@miamioh.edu

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