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Texas State overpowers Miami in RedHawks’ home-opener

Senior guard Darweshi Hunter handles against a double-team late in the second half against Texas State. Hunter led all scorers with 21 in the RedHawks' home opening loss on Saturday.
Senior guard Darweshi Hunter handles against a double-team late in the second half against Texas State. Hunter led all scorers with 21 in the RedHawks' home opening loss on Saturday.

On Nov. 11, 1918, at 11 a.m., the armistice ending World War I came into effect. On Nov. 11, 2023, at 11 a.m., a different war began — Miami University basketball against the Texas State University Bobcats at Millett Hall.

Both teams came into the RedHawks’ home opener with a record of 0-1. Miami lost at the University of Evansville 72-64 on Nov. 6. Texas State lost 71-66 to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock that same day. 

According to the Pomeroy College Basketball Ratings, Texas State came into the game as the 204th best team in the nation, and Miami came in ranked at 245.

The RedHawks lost 75-65.

“The game went about how I thought it would,” Steele said. “... They’re a really good rebounding team … We don’t have the ability to play two bigs right now — I wish we did.”

Senior forward Anderson Mirambeaux is not currently available to the team. Steele said he expects him back sometime in December, but he’s not sure. First-year center Reece Potter, who is listed at 7-foot-1 on Miami’s roster, wasn’t dressed for the game due to an injury. Steele said he led the team in scoring at the team’s preseason scrimmages in San Juan, Puerto Rico, but by last week’s game he wasn’t able to play.

“Reece tried to play at Evansville and he couldn’t move,” Steele said.

The beginning of the early-season contest was sloppy. In the first five minutes, the RedHawks scored three points. Texas State matched with eight. Each team had four turnovers in those five minutes.

“We got to take care of the ball,” head coach Travis Steele said. “Our guys have a little deer-in-the headlights look.”

The RedHawks went down 18-8 shortly after that, but thanks to a 12-2 run, they battled all the way back to a tie score with about six minutes left in the first half. The RedHawk defense was tenacious during that 12-2 run, but as soon as they battled back to a tie, Miami appeared to relax. Miami allowed 10 points on Texas State’s next six shots from the floor. 

By the time the halftime break rolled around, the RedHawks were down 40-31.

In the second half, Miami cut the score to within two possessions a few times, but the cuts were fleeting. Miami couldn’t get closer than that.

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With less than a minute left and Miami down just five points, Texas State missed a layup and grabbed its own rebound. The Bobcats threw it up again, missed again and then grabbed another board. Finally, they scored. When Miami gave up two offensive rebounds and two points on that possession, instead of taking the opportunity to cut its deficit to one score, it became clear that the game was over. 

Miami got outrebounded 44-26. The Bobcats grabbed 20 offensive boards to the RedHawks’ six (Miami had 20 defensive rebounds in the game). Texas State recorded 25 personal fouls to Miami’s 14. The Bobcats pushed the RedHawks around at Millett Hall.

After turning the ball over eight times in the game’s first 10 minutes, the RedHawks tightened up and gave up just six turnovers the rest of the way. It wouldn’t matter, the RedHawks still didn’t lead for a second. 

“Those were the two big issues in the game tonight,” Steele said. “Got to keep them off the glass, got to take care of the ball.”

The RedHawks did experience a few positives in the disappointing home loss. 

Sophomore center Jaquel Morris looked like a different player from last season. He’s a force on the defensive end — he had two blocks and changed shots by the rim all game — and he’s good on the boards (eight rebounds Saturday). Morris averaged 1.6 points per game in 2022-23, but on Saturday, he scored 12 points on 83% shooting and looked far more poised going up for layups than he would have last season.

“He’s really talented,” Steele said. “He’s made a big jump.”

Both of the RedHawks primary ball carriers — Evan Ipsaro and Mekhi Cooper — are first-years. Neither made it too apparent that it was only his second collegiate game, and the pair only turned the ball over two times total. Cooper had eight points on 60% shooting, and Ipsaro had six points on 29% shooting. 

“I think they did real well,” graduate-student wing Darweshi Hunter said. “They’re young guys trying to find their way in college basketball. They brought a lot of energy. I thought they did real well.”

Miami takes the court next on Friday, Nov. 17, at 7 p.m. against Coppin State University at Millett Hall.