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Men’s basketball looks to jump in standings during busy week

<p>Senior forward Dalonte Brown (pictured, no. 13) gets down in a defensive stance during a loss to Akron.</p>

Senior forward Dalonte Brown (pictured, no. 13) gets down in a defensive stance during a loss to Akron.

The Miami men’s basketball team will look to improve its position in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) standings this week. 

After a narrow victory over Northern Illinois on Saturday, the RedHawks come into the week seventh in the MAC with a 6-7 conference record. With wins this week, the team could jump as high as fourth; it trails Ohio, Buffalo and Bowling Green by fewer than two games each. 

On Tuesday, the RedHawks travel to Mount Pleasant, Mich. to play their only game of the season against the Central Michigan Chippewas. Central Michigan enters as one of the weakest teams in the MAC. The Chippewas are 2-9 in conference play and allow a conference-worst 77.7 points per game (ppg).

Thursday, Miami stays in Michigan, this time heading to Kalamazoo to tip off against the Western Michigan Broncos. The Broncos find themselves near the bottom of the MAC standings as well, with a record of 3-9 in conference play. When the two teams played late last month, the RedHawks came away with a 65-56 victory at Millett Hall. 

With two games and a realistic chance to move up in the conference standings, this week, Miami will look to show that it is truly a championship contender in the MAC.

Players To Watch

For Central Michigan, the offense runs through senior guard Travon Broadway Jr. Broadway Jr. has averaged nearly 18 ppg this year, shooting almost 40% from beyond the arc. 

Central Michigan also leans on junior guards Meikkel Murray and Caleb Huffman. Murray scores 14.2 ppg on better than 50% field goal shooting, and Huffman contributes 11.6 ppg, while shooting 49.7% from the field. 

Central Michigan relies on a very small, guard-heavy lineup. The Chippewas don’t have a forward among their top five minute-getters. The RedHawks will look to feed senior forward Dalonte Brown and take advantage of the lack of size down low for their opponent.

Thursday’s opponent, Western Michigan, comes into the week with the second-worst scoring offense in the MAC. It averages 63.5 ppg, better than only Northern Illinois’ 60.7. The RedHawks will have to focus on stopping sophomore guard B. Artis White (14.4 ppg) and senior forward Greg Lee (12.7 ppg).

When the Broncos visited Oxford late in January, Lee was arguably the best player on the floor for either team. He scored 20 points on an efficient 10-of-15 from the field, and added seven rebounds without turning the ball over. 

Miami got standout performances from Brown and junior guard Mekhi Lairy in that contest against the Broncos. Brown scored 16 points and added five rebounds, shooting 50% from three. Lairy tallied 15 points of his own and was active in the passing lanes, recording three steals in the game.

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As the RedHawks enter the stretch run of their season, they will look for continued contributions from top players like Brown and Lairy. 

SCOUTING REPORT

Game 1

Miami RedHawks vs. Central Michigan Chippewas 

Tipoff: 5 p.m. Tuesday at McGuirk Arena

Radio: Miami Radio Network

Miami RedHawks

Record: 9-9, 6-7 MAC

Offense: 71.9 ppg

Defense: 72.8 ppg

Projected Lineup

Player (position, height, key stat) 

Mekhi Lairy (guard, 5’8”, 12.9 ppg) 

Dae Dae Grant (guard, 6’2”, 14.3 ppg) 

Myja White (guard, 6’1”,  36.2% 3-pt fg) 

Dalonte Brown (forward, 6’7”, 12.3 ppg) 

Eli McNamara (forward, 6’9”, 3.8 ppg) 

Central Michigan Chippewas

Record: 6-12, 2-9 MAC

Offense: 77.4 ppg

Defense: 77.7 ppg

Projected Lineup

Travon Broadway Jr. (guard, 6’ 5”,  17.9 ppg)

Meikkel Murray (guard, 6’ 6”, 14.2 ppg)

Matt Beachler (guard, 6’ 4”, 6.5 ppg)

Devontae Lane (guard, 6’ 3”, 8.5 ppg)

Malik Muhammad (forward, 6’ 9”, 50.8% fg)

Game 2

Miami RedHawks vs. Western Michigan Broncos

Tipoff: 12:00 p.m. Thursday at Read Fieldhouse

TV: ESPN3

Radio: Miami Radio Network

MIAMI REDHAWKS

Record: 9-9, 6-7 MAC

Offense: 71.9 ppg

Defense: 72.8 ppg

PROJECTED LINEUP

Player (position, height, key stat) 

Mekhi Lairy (guard, 5’8”, 12.9 ppg) 

Dae Dae Grant (guard, 6’2”, 14.3 ppg) 

Myja White (guard, 6’1”,  36.2% 3-pt fg) 

Dalonte Brown (forward, 6’7”, 12.5 ppg) 

Eli McNamara (forward, 6’9”, 3.8 ppg) 

WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS

Record: 4-13, 3-9 MAC

Offense: 63.5 ppg

Defense: 71.7 ppg

PROJECTED LINEUP

B. Artis White (guard, 6’ 0”, 14.4 ppg)

Jason Whitens (guard, 6’ 4’, 5.7 ppg)

Adrian Martin (guard, 6’ 3”, 3.2 ppg)

Greg Lee (forward, 6’ 9”, 12.7 ppg)

Titus Wright (center, 6’ 8”, 55.2% fg)

schmelj2@miamioh.edu

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