“Midway” means different things to different people.
To some, it’s a Chicago airport. To others, it’s the pivotal World War II Pacific Theater aircraft carrier battle that ended in a crucial Allied victory.
Until last season, Midway never meant men’s college basketball to anybody. The central Kentucky NAIA Division II school created a men’s basketball program for the 2016-2017 season, and the second-year team visited Millett Hall to play Miami on Wednesday night.
As could be expected, the Eagles didn’t pose much of a challenge for the RedHawks, who set single-game program records for points and winning margin with a 123-40 win that snapped a three-game losing streak.
“It was good to get that out of our system,” said fourth-year junior guard Jake Wright, who set career highs with six made 3-point shots and 20 points. “We came out sharing the ball and playing the right way and getting everyone involved. This will help our confidence. We got our mojo back.”
“Today was cleanup day,” first-year coach Jack Owens said. “We had to clean up everything.”
Freshman guard Jalen Adaway scored 22 points to lead five RedHawks in double figures, including freshman Isaiah Coleman-Lands, who finished with a double-double – 12 points and 10 assists. Junior guard Darrian Ringo piled up 14 assists.
“They make the game easier, especially for me as a shooter,” said Wright, who hoisted 14 of Miami’s 33 3-point shots, which is the most in Millett history and tied for second overall. “The coaches are always telling up to play to our strengths. Me, as a 3-point shooter, playing to my strength is getting open shots and knocking them in.
“I don’t go into games thinking I’m going to take this many shots or that many shots. I just go into games with the mentality that I’m going to take open shots.”
Miami’s previous single-game scoring record was 114, set against Marshall on Dec. 14, 1964, and tied in a win over Findlay on Jan. 30, 1974. The previous widest winning margin was 57, set against Wright Field in an 89-32 win on Jan. 31, 1947.
The RedHawks also connected on a single-game record 17 made 3-pointers, one more than the 16 they picked up in an 89-75 win over Ball State on Feb. 1, 2011.
Junior guard Grant Pitman set the scoring record with his first point of the season on a free throw with 3:42 left in the game.
Miami reached triple-figures in points for the first time since a 100-94 Mid-American Conference win on Jan. 5, 2002. The RedHawks 64.0 field-goal percentage (48-of-75) was the eighth-best in program history.
“It was good to get home and play,” Owens said. “We had a great practice (Tuesday). The guys had life. It was good to see the ball going through the net.”
Miami (4-3) played at home for just the second time in the RedHawks’ first seven games. They return to the road for games at Western Illinois on Saturday and at Missouri on Tuesday before playing Fort Wayne in Oxford on Dec. 9.
“We’re glad to be back,” Wright said. “That was a long road trip. We had a lot of connecting flights and long layovers, but at the end of the day, you have take care of business between the lines, and we didn’t do that. We kind of got away from playing Miami basketball.”
Miami never trailed after Adaway sank a 3-pointer from the right wing for a 9-7 lead with 16:34 left in the first half. That was part of a 12-0 RedHawks run, and they took control with a 10-0 run that left them leading, 31-14, after Ringo completed a conventional three-point play with 8:53 left before halftime.