Two games, two wins, two slumps snapped for the Jack Owens Era at Miami.
The RedHawks’ win at Fordham on Friday was their first non-conference road win since Dec. 21, 2013, at Tennessee State.
Miami’s 73-67 overtime win over Wright State on Tuesday at Millett Hall left the RedHawks 2-0 for the first time since 2011, when they opened with wins over California (Penn.) and Dayton, and 2-0 against Division I teams for the first time since beating Xavier and South Alabama to open the 2007-2008 season.
“I was happy with the way the guys competed,” said Owens, in his first season as Miami’s coach. “I like our guys fight right now. Everybody contributed. That’s the sign of a good team.”
Senior forward Rod Mills sank a key 3-pointer to help Miami eliminate an eight-point deficit in the final four minutes and two more in overtime and the RedHawks pulled away to drop the Raiders to 0-2.
“We’re resilient,” the 6-foot-7 Mills said. “That’s what the coaches always preach – ‘Come together, don’t fall apart.’”
Junior guard Mark Hughes led four Raiders in double figures with 14 points, but Wright State was hampered when an already lean roster was further depleted with the loss of freshman guard Jaylon Hall, who got some “bad medical news” before the game, according to coach Scott Nagy.
“We only had eight guys,” Nagy said. “We were 1-for-8 (on field goals) in overtime. You could tell we were gassed. It’s hard to win non-conference games on the road. That’s why Miami’s win at Fordham was so big. We don’t have enough depth right now. Our depth wasn’t there. It will be.”
Mills opened overtime with back-to-back 3-pointers, the second giving Miami the lead for good at 69-66.
“That was a good feeling,” said Mills, who finished with nine points. “I’ve put a lot of work into my shot, and the coaches put me in position to score.”
Freshman guard Nike Sibande, who led both teams with 17 points, sank a free throw and then junior guard Darrian Ringo was fouled while grabbing a defensive rebound and added two free throws with 18.4 seconds remaining in overtime.
His clinching free throws came one possession after he watched what would have been a clinching 3-pointer go in-and-out. They left him with a double-double – 10 points and 10 assists.
“The coaches tell me I pass up too many layups, but I’m a pass-first point guard,” Ringo said.
“Ten points, 10 assists and only two turnovers,” Owens said. “That’s unbelievable for a point guard. I was a point guard, and I never did that.”
The RedHawks aren’t scheduled to return home until Nov. 29 when they play Midway at 7 p.m. following games against Long Island University-Brooklyn on Friday and Hartford on Sunday as part of the Jamaica Classic in Montego Bay and at Tulane on Nov. 22 and at Austin Peay on Nov. 26.
Wright State is due to open its home schedule on Saturday against Murray State at 7 p.m. at the Nutter Center.
Junior guard Tye Wilburn grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to start a 9-0 run that he ended with a pair of free throws, giving the Raiders a 53-49 lead with 7:08 left in the game. They increased the lead to 61-53 before the RedHawks put together an 8-0 run that Ringo finished with a floater to tie the score, 61-61, with 1:26 to go.
Wright St. regained a 63-61 lead, but Ringo tied it again with two free throws with 14.6 seconds left in regulation. Hughes missed a 10-foot jumper for the Raiders, and freshman guard Jalen Adaway’s shot from just inside halfcourt sailed wide left at the buzzer.
Regulation featured 10 lead changes and nine ties.
Note: Miami senior guard Abdoulaye Harouna is listed on Miami’s roster, but he is not on the team and is not enrolled, according to a team spokesman, who said no further information is available. The 6-5 Nigerian played in 30 games and started 28, averaging 6.7 points and 2.4 rebounds per game last season, and played in 33 while starting 18 and averaging 5.4 points per game two seasons ago.