When Abdoulaye Harouna looks around the court nowadays, he sees a completely different team than the one he first joined.
Not a single player or coach remains from when the redshirt senior guard arrived in Oxford in 2015. That’s probably for the better, as that year’s team went 6-13 in the Mid-American Conference and 13-20 overall.
“It’s different now,” Harouna said. “Obviously, we stand in a different place than we were two years ago before [head coach Jack Owens] got the job. We’re winning more and doing things different.”
Darrian Ringo was a part of the group that changed the culture and the on-court results at Millett Hall.
As a transfer, the senior guard arrived as a member of Owens’ first recruiting class at Miami in 2016. With a 16-18 record, Ringo and the other new faces welcomed the team’s best season since 2010-2011 when the RedHawks went 20-17.
“It’s been great,” Ringo said. “We’ve won a few games. I’ve had a solid two years here.”
This season, Harouna, Ringo and Co. were joined by redshirt senior forward Aleks Abrams, a graduate transfer from California Polytechnic State University. Abrams has helped continue the positive trend at Miami by providing a paint presence off the bench.
“It’s been amazing,” Abrams said. “Great group of guys, great coaching staff. I’ve just had a lot of fun just getting to keep playing and everything.”
All three will be honored tonight when the RedHawks play their final regular-season home game of the year and celebrate Senior Night against the Kent State Golden Flashes.
“Those three guys have been great this year,” Owens said. “They’ve been older guys, and that’s what you want the program to be about. At the end of the day, you want to have a program that’s about the seniors. You know, it’s their last go-around. You want to send them out on a high note, and those guys have been great guys.”
Miami has already seen Kent State once this season. The Golden Flashes took down the RedHawks 70-67 at the Memorial Athletic and Convocation Center exactly a month ago, on Feb. 5th.
Per usual, Kent State senior guard Jaylin Walker caused problems for the RedHawks, making four free throws in the contest’s final minute to allow his Golden Flashes to snatch a win. He finished with a game-high 27 points, five more than his MAC-leading per game average.
Miami will have to limit Walker’s chances and step up in the final minutes to give itself a chance to win. While it’s not 100 percent guaranteed, the RedHawks will most likely clinch a home game in the first round of the MAC Tournament with a win in their final two regular-season matchups.
The standings depend on the ’Hawks’ results and those of the other teams in the league.
Even though Miami lost last time it met up with the Golden Flashes, that was on the road. Tonight’s contest is at Millett Hall, where the RedHawks are 10-4 on the year. They’re just 5-10 away from their home venue. Following a season-high crowd against Buffalo on Friday, Miami is hoping fans show up to support the seniors.
“It should be an exciting day on Tuesday for our seniors,” Owens said. “Hopefully, we have a great crowd and everything else to send those guys out.”
Tipoff: 7 p.m. tonight at Millett Hall
TV/Radio: ESPN+/Miami IMG Sports Network
Record: 15-14 (7-9 MAC)
Offense: 72.2 ppg
Defense: 69.4 ppg
Player (position, height, key stat)
Darrian Ringo (guard, 6’2”, 7.5 ppg)
Nike Sibande (guard, 6’4”, 15.4 ppg)
Abdoulaye Harouna (guard, 6’5”, 5.3 ppg)
Dalonte Brown (forward, 6’7”, 12.2 ppg)
Bam Bowman (forward, 6’8”, 10.0 ppg)
KENT STATE GOLDEN FLASHES
Record: 20-9 (9-7 MAC)
Offense: 75.2 ppg
Defense: 72.8 ppg
Player (position, height, key stat)
Jalen Avery (guard, 6’0”, 11.0 ppg)
Antonio Williams (guard, 6’0”, 11.4 ppg)
Jaylin Walker (guard, 6’3”, 21.6 ppg)
Philip Whittington (forward, 6’8”, 10.2 ppg)
Akiean Frederick (forward, 6’9”, 5.6 ppg)
NCAA NET Ranking: Miami (136); Kent State (139)