BRONX, N.Y.– Trailing most of the way, the Miami University men’s basketball team got the Jack Owens era off to a successful start with a 55-54 victory over Fordham. A layup by freshman guard Jalen Adaway with four seconds left proved to be the game winner and gave the RedHawks a 1-0 start to the 2017-18 campaign.
Miami was down 54-48 with 2:10 remaining in the contest and did not allow the Rams to score again. Redshirt junior guard Jake Wright drained a three-pointer with 1:31 to go to cut the deficit to three. After a defensive stop, senior forward Logan McLane made a layup to make it 54-53 at the 42 second mark. Good defense allowed the RedHawks to make the stop and senior forward Rod Mills Jr. corralled the rebound with 15 seconds remaining, which set the stage for Adaway’s layup. Fordham called timeout with 2.3 seconds to go after getting the ball to half court, but their final play came up short as Miami took the victory.
“These guys were just so resilient,” said Owens. “They continued to fight hard throughout the comeback. During the final timeout I told them to relax as they were getting tense. I reminded them that if we just stuck to the game plan we could make that shot. Ultimately we found a way to get it done.”
Adaway had a terrific debut for the RedHawks, recording a double-double and leading the way with 15 points and 14 rebounds. McLane just missed out on a double-double, finishing with nine points and 11 rebounds. Miami struggled from the field, shooting only 33.9 percent (20-for-59), but made up for it by dominating the Rams on the glass, 53-25. That included bringing in 20 offensive rebounds.
A slow start for both teams saw the score tied at six with 11:36 remaining in the first half. A three-pointer from sophomore center Bam Bowman, followed by a pair of free throws from freshman forward Dalonte Brown gave Miami an 11-6 advantage at the 10:25 mark. Fordham eventually took the lead back at 15-13 before a three-pointer from freshman guard Nike Sibande put MU on top, 16-15 with 5:31 to go.
The Rams responded with a 5-1 run to take control at 20-16. Bowman had a layup, while freshman guard Isaiah Coleman-Lands hit a jumper, but Fordham was able to take a 25-21 lead into the break.
An old-fashioned three-point play from McLane and back-to-back layups from Brown helped Miami close to within one at 29-28 with 17:46 to go in the game. The RedHawks were unable to score for the next seven minutes and Fordham took advantage with an 11-0 run to build its largest lead at 40-28.
Adaway finally got Miami on the board again with a layup that pulled it to within 10 with 10:55 to go. Adaway had back-to-back dunks, while McLane put in a layup to make it 40-36 with 8:44 remaining. The RedHawks continued to pull within four points, but each time the Rams were able to extend the lead. Trailing 48-41, a three-pointer by Adaway, a layup from McLane and a pair of free throws from Mills were part of a 7-2 run that closed the deficit to two at 50-48 with 3:14 to go. Fordham responded with back-to-back buckets that made it 54-48 and set the RedHawks up to close out the game on the 7-0 run over the last 2:10.
Brown finished his first career collegiate game with eight points and seven rebounds. Mills brought in eight rebounds. Junior point guard Darrian Ringo had a strong performance in his Miami debut, finishing with five points, five rebounds and a team-high six assists. Fordham was led by Will Tavares, who scored 15 points.
The RedHawks have their home opener on Tuesday when they welcome Wright State to Millett Hall for a 7 p.m. contest. It is Heroes Night and all active military, veterans and first responders (heroes) can attend at a special discounted rate. The game will air live on ESPN3.