Miami (9-9, 6-7) at least showed signs of being able to successfully navigate the road this past weekend. Sophomore guard Dae Dae Grant scored 26 points, two shy of matching his career high, and senior forward Dalonte Brown logged his second straight double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds as the RedHawks journeyed to one of the MAC’s farthest-flung outposts – DeKalb, Ill. – and edged Northern Illinois, 69-64, on Saturday. The win completed a regular-season sweep of a Huskies team that goes into the week with the MAC’s worst record and left Miami with one more conference win than last season.
The 6-foot-7 Brown has reached double figures in rebounds in each of the RedHawks’ last three games, and with limited practice opportunities, Owens hopes the Toledo native can use the last five regular-season games to finish his Miami career with a flourish.
“Just stay the course,” Owens said. “We’re not practicing as much, so it’s going to have to be in games that we have to continue to stay the course. I thought Dalonte set the tone by crashing the boards and rebounding at a high level. Dae Dae Grant played extremely well. Isaiah Coleman-Lands does things that don’t show up on the box sheet. Mekhi Lairy played at a high level, and Precious Ayah did some good things.
“Guys are playing hard at a high level, and that’s what it takes.”
Miami goes into the week seventh in the 12-team MAC standings, owning a one-game lead over Ball State by virtue of an 81-71 win over the Cardinals on Jan. 19 at Millett Hall. The top eight teams qualify for the MAC Tournament, which is scheduled to open on March 11 at Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse.
The RedHawks have faced four of the five teams remaining on their schedule, losing at home to Akron and on the road at Kent State and logging home wins over Bowling Green and Western Michigan. The only team they haven’t faced is Central Michigan (6-12, 2-9), which hasn’t played since Feb. 6.
“We’ll dive into the film and do the best we can as regards to preparation – like everyone else who’s dealt with COVID,” Owens said. “It’s about us competing and playing at a high level.”
Miami at Central Michigan, 5 p.m., 980, 1450