“Jack’s Maniacs” made their collective 2018-2019 Miami men’s basketball debut on Monday night, but the RedHawks game against Midway (Ky.) University didn’t give them much cause for excitement.
Miami, which set program single-game records for points and winning margin with a 123-40 win over Midway last season, again was barely tested by the Eagles. Sophomore Nike Sibande scored 21 points and Dalonte Brown added 18, capping his night with back-to-back dunks, as the RedHawks rolled to a 91-42 win.
“Jack’s Maniacs,” coined as a connection to Miami coach Jack Owens, is this season’s effort to drum up enthusiasm for RedHawks’ basketball. The cheerleaders wore white T-shirts with the slogan printed in red, and the plan is to apply the name to the student section.
Midway (3-3), a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Division II program, plays in the River States Conference and is in just its third year of men’s basketball. The school was an all-women’s institution until three years ago.
The Eagles’ roster includes junior guard and Monroe graduate Braden Hatton, who saw his first action of the season and sank a 3-pointer late in the game.
The RedHawks, coming off a 90-68 loss at Butler’s historic Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis in their season opener Saturday, took control with a 20-2 run that left them leading, 34-14, with 8:11 left in the first half. They led, 47-24, at halftime. Ten of the 11 players who played in the first half scored at least two points, led by Brown’s 12.
The Eagles didn’t score in the second half until Kwon Evans sank a free throw with 13:20 left. They didn’t make their first field goal until Jose Bustamante connected with 9:46 remaining in the game.
Sophomore walk-on Benjamin Litteken got into the scoring act late in the game for the RedHawks. Miami’s largest lead was 56 points with 5:45 left in the game.
Sibande, last season’s Mid-American Conference Freshman of the year, was coming off a 24-point effort against the Bulldogs. Brown scored 16 in the loss.
Miami (1-1) will travel to Nassau, Bahamas, to participate in the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase, starting the eight-team tournament with a game against North Dakota State on Friday at 2 p.m. They will face either Montana or Incarnate Word on Saturday in either a second-round game at 5 p.m. or a consolation game at 11 a.m.
Pepperdine, Georgia Southern, Florida Atlantic and Towson also are playing in the three-day tournament.
Miami’s next home game is scheduled for Nov. 24 at 2 p.m. against Army.
Miami vs. North Dakota State, 2 p.m., 980, 1450
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