This past Saturday in DeKalb, IL the men’s basketball squad (13-10, 6-5 MAC) defeated Northern Illinois University (10-13, 3-7 MAC) by a score of 81-65. This matchup marked the first meeting of these two Mid-American Conference opponents and was an exciting one for the ’Hawks.

Freshman forwards were key to the ’Hawks’ dominant performance, per usual, as Nike Sibande and Jalen Adaway logged 20 and 17 points, respectively. The ’Hawks opened the matchup with a 7-0 lead courtesy of a couple of layups by Sibande.

In addition to tallying 20 points, Sibande would add seven rebounds. Sibande’s clutch performance was highlighted by a deep 3-pointer with 5:08 left in the first half to extend the ’Hawks’ lead to 33-16. NIU then cut the ‘Hawks’ lead to 10 at half, but the ‘Hawks still had control over the matchup, as NIU shot just 34 percent from the field in the first half.

The ‘Hawks remained in possession of the double-digit lead until late in the second when it was cut to nine. However, freshman guard Isaiah Coleman-Lands made three quick threes in the subsequent possessions to put the game well out of reach.

This succession of baskets was a part of a 14-2 Miami run over a four minute span. In addition, sophomore forward Bam Bowman scored a difficult layup. Adaway then added an empathetic dunk courtesy of an outlet pass by Sibande.  

Freshman forward Dalonte Brown put an exclamation on the RedHawks’ rout in the waning minutes of the game with a decisive dunk late in the second. From there, the ’Hawks cruised to a 16-point victory.

Miami shot 58 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point land, led by the efforts of Sibande. Northern Illinois only went 40 percent from the field and 29 percent from three-point land.

The RedHawks stay on the road and take on Western Michigan in Kalamazoo tonight. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on ESPN3.