Miami RedHawks head North to Take on Toledo tonight




TUESDAY’S GAME: The RedHawks return to action by traveling to conference opponent Toledo this Tuesday, Feb. 14. This is Miami’s 26th game of the season, and tip time is set for 7:00 p.m. at John F. Savage Arena in Toledo, 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 TOLEDO: Tod Kowalczyk enters his 13th season as the head coach of the Rockets. Under his guidance, Toledo has reached 20 or more wins six times in the last nine years. Coach Kowalczyk recently won MAC Coach of the Year in the 2020-21 season. Prior to joining the Rockets in April of 2010, he spent eight seasons as the head coach of the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. Toledo is currently 19-6 and hold a 10-2 record in conference play. The Rockets are on a nine game winning streak and recently topped Eastern Michigan 70-63. Guard RayJ Dennis (18.5), forward JT Shumate (17.2) and forward Setric Millner Jr. (15.3) currently lead the team in scoring. Combined, these three are top-15 scorers in the MAC. This year their team is averaging 84.3 points per game on 48.4 percent shooting and have held their opponents to 76.8 points per game. The team also averages 15.1 assists and 35.4 rebounds in each game they play.

THE SERIES WITH THE ROCKETS: Miami and Toledo first faced off 102 years ago, dating back to 1921. This Tuesday, will mark the 136th meeting between both teams. In the series, Miami holds a 42-22 home record, 22-42 away record and 4-3 neutral site record. The Rockets have taken the last 18 games versus the RedHawks. The Red and White last defeated Toledo 68-66 in February of 2011. 

UP NEXT: Miami continues conference play by traveling to Northern Illinois University this Saturday, Feb. 18. Tip time is set for 4:30 p.m. in DeKalb, Ill.

CMU RECAP:Mekhi Lairy scored 18 points to lead four RedHawks in double figures, but the Miami University men’s basketball team was edged by Central Michigan 66-60 Saturday afternoon. Anderson Mirambeaux scored 14 points and Morgan Safford chipped in 12 before fouling out. Ryan Mabrey added 11 points for the RedHawks (8-17, 2-10 MAC). Brian Taylor led the Chippewas (9-16, 4-8 MAC) with 22 points.

REDHAWK TRIO: This season the RedHawks have three of the top-20 scorers in the MAC. This consists of team captains Mekhi Lairy (17.8, 5th overall), Morgan Safford (15.6, 12th overall) and Anderson Mirambeaux (13.5, 18th overall). Combined, the trio scores 47 of Miami’s 74 points per contest. 

LAIRY LEGEND: 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 1,636 career points. He is in 6th place on the program’s all-time scoring list after passing Dalonte Brown (2018-2022) against Akron. Against Central Michigan, Lairy tied Jamie Mercurio (1989-92) to move into the top three in career assists. 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 this season against Wright State and Bellarmine. 

CHART CLIMBER: Fifth year guard Mekhi Lairy is climbing several Miami career top 10 lists and continues to climb the points scored list. Here is where he stands entering Miami’s next game:

• Free Throw Percentage: .870 (1st all-time)
• Games Played: 144 (2nd, 1 away from tying No. 1)
• 3-Point FG: 185 (8th, 1 away from No. 7)
• Assists: 413 (3rd, 25 away from No. 2)
• Scoring: 1,636 (6th, 8 away from No. 5)

SAFFORD SHOW: In his first year with Miami, Morgan Safford has already recorded over five 20-point games. Safford has also recorded the most double-doubles on the team this season at three total. So far he has set career-highs in points, rebounds and assists. Despite dealing with an injury early in the season, he set what was his previous career-high 26-points against Jackson State to lead the RedHawks to a 95-78 win. 

LOCKED IN AT THE LINE: Miami University currently ranks 10th in the nation in free throw shooting percentage. As a team, the RedHawks are shooting 77.8%. Mekhi Lairy leads the way (91.9%), ranking third in the nation and first in the MAC. Anderson Mirambeaux ranks 14th in the MAC (76.9%) and Morgan Safford is currently listed at 16th in the MAC (73.4%).

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 .870 career free-throw percentage also ranks first. This season Lairy has went 102-111 from the free throw line. He has been perfect from the line in 16 of the 23 games where he has attempted a free-throw shot.

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. Mabrey has four older siblings, and they all played college basketball. Between them, they have made more than 1,000 career three-pointers (and counting). For more background on Mabrey, check out his Front Row Feature

WHAT MAKES ANDERSON MIRAMBEAUX UNIQUE: In its 2022-23 season opener, Miami Men’s Basketball started a post player who averaged all of 1.5 points per game last year with Cleveland State University. Anderson Mirambeaux, a 6-foot-8, 305-pound senior, had never played more than 15 minutes in a Division I basketball game before transferring to join the RedHawks. In his debut wearing the Red and White against Evansville on November 7, Mirambeaux dominated. Mirambeaux’s career night might have come as a shock to nearly every person in Millett Hall that evening, but associate head coach Rob Summers wasn’t surprised at all by Mirambeaux’s 27-point outburst. Summers, who had worked with Mirambeaux at CSU last season before joining Travis Steele‘s new staff in Oxford, understood what the big man was capable of. For more on the story, check out his Front Row Feature

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.

FRESH ON THE SCENE: This year the RedHawks boast five freshmen, three sophomores, three juniors, three seniors and a fifth-year senior.

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 6.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 1.7 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 15.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 2.2 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. This season Mirambeaux is averaging 13.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and 2.6 assists.