The Miami RedHawks men’s basketball team lit up Lamar University at Millett Hall in its first home game of the 2021-22 season. The two programs had never faced each other on the hardwood before Saturday.
After a huge win on the road at Georgia Tech, there was concern that the RedHawks would come out flat against the Cardinals. However, Miami came out firing from beyond the arch.
The ‘Hawks fell in love with the 3-point shot early in the game. Five triples in the first four minutes gave Miami a 15-7 lead.
Junior guard Dae Dae Grant, who added two 3-pointers of his own to that early spark, was the star of the show. The pre-season Second-Team All-Mid-American Conference (MAC) hooper shook off his 1-of-8 3PT outing in the last contest, knocking down 6-of-9 from downtown in the first half.
The 3-point weapon was the clear reason why the RedHawks claimed victory over the Cardinals. The Cardinals failed to lock down the perimeter, giving wide-open looks for the RedHawks to capitalize on.
Miami took five more 3-pointers than 2-pointers in the first half. They shot 12-of-20 from 3-point land in that half compared to 4-of-10 by Lamar.
The first two-point shot from the RedHawks came from senior forward Elijah McNamara. He turned back the clock with an old-school post-move to put his team up 17-7. The RedHawks’ lead never fell under double digits.
In the two minutes following his first bucket, McNamara assisted a Grant 3-point attempt, recorded a block, and nailed a jumper. The Pickerington native had 10 points in 18 minutes of play.
The RedHawks went up by 21 after converting a Cardinal turnover to fastbreak points. Senior forward Precious Ayah threw a beautiful outlet dime to junior guard Myja White for a layup. The team led by 27 at one time during the first half.
Senior guard Isaiah Coleman-Lands delivered a triple from a Grant pass with 24 seconds left to go into the locker room with a 58-32 lead.
The RedHawks turned their focus in the second half to a more inside-out game, finding a number of good opportunities at the rim.
After taking only deep shots in the first half, Grant reached in his bag and used a eurostep to score, giving the RedHawks an over 30-point advantage. Grant finished with 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the field.
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There was no chance for Lamar to cut the lead down as Miami continued putting the ball in the basket.
Forward Curtis Harrison IV did not look like a freshman when he dropped in an impressive left-handed layup, and Ayah held down the block with 7 points down low.
Junior walk-on forward Jackson Kenyon’s long corner jumper put the RedHawks over the 100-point mark.
Although not as prominent, the 3-pointer still rained in the second half for the RedHawks. Five of them were added to a game total of 17, one shy of tying the single-game school record of 18.
Ending the game how the team started, junior guard Wil Stevens splashed a deep three with 29 seconds remaining.
The final score of the afternoon: 104-75, Miami.
The RedHawks will look to build on its 2-0 start at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 17 at Millett Hall against Stetson University. The game will be broadcast on ESPN3.