Miami Hosts Buffalo Tuesday Night MAC action



TUESDAY’S GAME: The RedHawks host conference opponent University at Buffalo this Tuesday, Jan. 10. This is Miami’s 16th game of the season, and tip time is set for 7:00 p.m. at Millett Hall in Oxford, Ohio. Fans can tune in on ESPN+ or by listening to one of Miami’s game day radio affiliates which consists of WFMG-FM 101.3 (Richmond, Ind.), WMOH-AM 1450 (Hamilton, Ohio), and WONE-AM 980 (Dayton, Ohio).

ABOUT BUFFALO: Jim Whitesell enters his 4th season as the head coach of the Bulls. Coach Whitesell was named the head coach on April 6, 2019. Prior to becoming the head coach, he spent four seasons as the associate head coach. Buffalo currently stands at 8-7 and hold a 2-0 record in conference play. The Bulls most recently defeated Ohio University 75-72 and Northern Illinois University 80-62. Guard Curtis Jones (15.2), guard Zid Powell (12.5), and forward Isaiah Adams (10.6) currently lead them in scoring. 

THE SERIES WITH THE BULLS: Miami and Buffalo first faced off over 20 years ago, dating back to 1999. This Tuesday, will mark the 54th meeting between Miami and Buffalo. The RedHawks hold a 14-10 home record, 11-14 away record, and 2-2 neutral record when facing the Bulls. 

UP NEXT: Miami continues conference play against Ball State this Saturday, Jan. 14. Tip time is set for 2 p.m. in Muncie, Ind.

KENT STATE RECAP: Morgan Safford put up a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds, but a valiant effort from the Miami University men’s basketball team came up just short in a 69-66 loss to Kent State Saturday afternoon at Millett Hall. Mekhi Lairy led the RedHawks (6-9, 0-2 MAC) with 17 points, while Anderson Mirambeaux (13 points) and Ryan Mabrey (10) also finished in double figures. Sincere Carry had 31 points to lead Kent State (12-3, 2-0 MAC) to its sixth straight victory. 

LOCKED IN AT THE LINE: Miami University currently ranks fifth in the nation in free throw shooting percentage. As a team, the RedHawks are shooting 80.1%. Mekhi Lairy leads the way (90.7%), ranking 14th in the nation and second in the MAC. Anderson Mirambeaux finds himself ranked 146th nationally and 11th in the MAC (82.0%). 

MEKHI LAIRY: Among the returners is fifth-year senior Mekhi Lairy, who set Miami’s single-season free-throw percentage record a year ago and currently holds the career free-throw percentage record. Lairy, who averaged 13.6 ppg in 2021-22, posted his 1,000th career point last season and is on pace to break Miami’s career games played record this season. Lairy now has 1,451 career points. He is in 12th place on the program’s all-time list after passing Julian Mavunga, Wayne Embry, David Scott, and Tim Pollitz versus Wright State. Lairy also surpassed Randy Ayers on the career assists list to take the ninth spot all-time against Calumet College. This season against Georgia, Lairy set a new career-high in points (34) and produced the first 30-point game for a RedHawk since Mar. 9, 2020 (Nike Sibande, 31). He has also recorded two other 30-point scoring performances against Wright State and Bellarmine this year. 

STAND AND DELIVER: One of the most efficient free throw shooters in the conference, fifth-year senior guard Mekhi Lairy ranked first in the MAC in free-throw percentage in the 2021-22 season. Lairy hit 29 consecutive free throws from Nov. 27 through Jan. 29. He was perfect from the free-throw line in 18 of the 25 games where he attempted a free-throw shot. His .915 (2021-22) free throw percentage ranks first on Miami’s single-season list and his .862 career free-throw percentage also ranks first. Mekhi has started the 2022-23 season 68-75 from the free throw line. 

MABREY MAGIC: After returning to the starting lineup versus Bellarmine, Ryan Mabrey knocked down the biggest shot of his collegiate career. With 18 seconds left in the game, Mabrey scored the game clenching three-point shot to take a 69-65 lead over Bellarmine. This propelled the RedHawks to their first road victory of the season.

SAFFORDS RETURN: Since returning from injury, Morgan Safford has started in every game he’s played. In the last seven games he has averaged 15.8 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game. In his second game back from injury, he set a new career-high 26-points against Jackson State to lead the RedHawks to a 95-78 win. He has now reached double-figures in scoring the last nine games. 

SHOWING OUT: Against Jackson State, six RedHawks put up double-figures in scoring for the first time since Nov. 23, 2021. This included Morgan Safford (26), Ryan Mabrey (15), Billy Smith (14), Julian Lewis (13), Anderson Mirambeaux (12), and Mekhi Lairy (11). Overall, Miami shot 60% (33-55) from the field. The Red and White also shot 50% (14-28) from the three-point line. Each shooting percentage was the most for a RedHawk team since Nov. 13, 2021. Against Calumet College, the RedHawks shot a season-high 59.3% from beyond the arc.

DEFENSIVE STAND: In the second game of the season against Goshen College Miami forced 27 turnovers. This is the most for a RedHawk opponent since Nov. 17, 2015 (Kenyon, 24 turnovers). Miami recorded 18 steals (second highest in program history), led by freshman Billy Smith with six total.

NEW FACES, NEW PLACES: Two RedHawks recorded double-doubles in Miami’s first win of the season versus Goshen College. Sophomore transfer Julian Lewis made his season debut, tying his career-high of 17 points and setting a new career-high of 10 rebounds. Freshman Billy Smith recorded 11 points, 12 rebounds, six steals, and four assists. This year the RedHawks boast five freshmen, three sophomores, three juniors, three seniors, and a fifth-year senior.

INCOMING TALENT:Julian Lewis is a guard from William & Mary where he averaged 7.2 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. He recorded a career-high of 17 points versus Delaware and a career-high of eight assists against Valparaiso. As a freshman, Lewis was named to the CAA All-Rookie Team. This season Lewis has averaged 9.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 2.1 assists. 

Morgan Safford is a guard from Wofford College. During his tenure he averaged 7.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 1.2 assists. He recorded his previous career-high 21 points versus Coastal Carolina as a redshirt freshman. During his first campaign, Safford was named to the 2020-2021 Southern Conference All-Freshman Team. He was named a captain at the beginning of the season for the RedHawks. This season Safford has averaged 15.7 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.8 assists. 

Anderson Mirambeaux is a forward from Cleveland State University. While attending he averaged 1.5 pts, 1.7 rebounds, and 0.7 assists with the Vikings. Prior to Cleveland State, Mirambeaux attended Trinity Valley Community College. At TVCC he averaged 13.4 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists. He was named a captain at the beginning of the season for the RedHawks. In Anderson Mirambeaux’s first game with Miami, he set a career-high 27 points. In the game versus Jackson State, he also set a career-high in assists with seven. Up to this point, Mirambeaux is averaging 12.5 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 2.5 assists.