On Friday, men’s basketball upset Fordham University by the score of 55-54 in Miami’s season opener. Entering this matchup, Fordham was favored by nine and coming off a CIT Tournament appearance last year.
The RedHawks started the contest flat, finding themselves down 25-21 at the end of the first. Only making 19.5 percent of their field goal attempts. However, the team showed resiliency in the second.
A pivotal moment came with 10:55 left for Miami — within the previous two minutes Fordham had scored seven unanswered at the mercy of a battered Hawks’ defense. Fordham had just extended its lead to 10 and head coach Jack Owens called for a timeout. This break provided much needed rest and sparked a resurgence in the offense, especially from freshman guard Jalen Adaway.
Within the next minute, Adaway bombarded Fordham’s defense with six consecutive points including two dunks. Adaway ultimately finished with an impressive outing of 15 points and 14 rebounds — good for a double-double. His offensive energy set the tone for the ’Hawks’ offense throughout the remainder of the the game.
However, Fordham’s offense would put up a steady fight for the ensuing five minutes. The game ultimately hit its turning point with 2:10 left. Trailing 54-48, the Hawks’ scored seven unanswered.
Redshirt junior Jake Wright hit a long-range three at 1:31 to cut lead to three. With 42 seconds left, Adaway added a layup to put Miami within one. Inexplicably, leading by one and seemingly with the victory, Fordham junior guard Will Tavares put up a regrettably deep three which allowed Adaway to grab the defensive rebound and subsequently draw a foul.
At the line, down by one with a 1-and-1 opportunity, Adaway missed the initial free throw. Wright regained possession from Fordham guard Joseph Chartouny in the ensuing scuffle. Senior forward Logan McLane then passed to Adaway where he knocked down the game winning lay-up with four seconds remaining to seal a RedHawk victory.
Throughout the matchup, the ’Hawks’ displayed their tenacity on offense while making nearly half of their field goal tries in the second half. The team benefitted from key performances from their freshman — in addition to Adaway’s impressive debut, forward Dalonte Brown tallied eight and guard Isaiah Coleman-Lands scored five off the bench. McLane added nine points and 11 rebounds.
The game was the first win of Owens’ head coaching career and showed grit, as the ’Hawks’ overcame a 10-point deficit to grab the win against a tough non-conference opponent on the road.
Miami’s home opener is this Tuesday at 7 p.m. against Wright State at Millett Hall.