CINCINNATI — With his team leading 5-2 three minutes into its matchup with Xavier, Miami head coach Jack Owens raised his arms and motioned for the RedHawks to slow down and remain calm.
He spent all week preaching that message, encouraging Miami (3-4) to placate the nerves that plagued it during its season-opening loss at Butler.
Well, the memo fell flat.
Miami shot 33 percent from the field and turned the ball over 14 times, allowing the talented Musketeers to big boy the RedHawks to a 82-55 loss at the Cintas Center on Wednesday.
“I feel like it was just a night where shots weren’t going in, honestly,” sophomore guard Nike Sibande said. “We shot a low percentage from the field, so I feel like our shots just weren’t falling.”
Spurred by the strong play of junior forward Bam Bowman, the RedHawks started hot. They won the tip and opened on a 7-2 run.
Bowman scored 10 of Miami’s first 12 points. He finished with 14 in the half and a team-high 15 for the game.
The Musketeers battled back to take their first lead (15-14) with two free throws by junior guard Quentin Goodin. Xavier never trailed for the remainder of the contest.
Goodin’s shots from the charity stripe commenced a 12-3 XU run that put the Musketeers ahead 27-17.
Miami cut its deficit to four with a 6-0 run that featured three layups — two by Bowman followed by one from sophomore forward Dalonte Brown.
That’s the closest the RedHawks would come as a 13-0 stretch put Xavier’s lead out of reach.
“It seemed like we were stuck on 23 forever, and I mean, forever,” Owens said.
The Musketeers took a 42-28 lead into halftime. Sophomore forward Naji Marshall tallied 10 points in the first and was the lone Musketeer to hit double digits in that category.
Xavier continued its dominant play throughout the second half, as its huge advantage sent fans herding towards the exits at the under-four-minute media stoppage. It claimed its largest lead (27) with 18 seconds left in the game.
Closing with a 7-4 run in the last two minutes, the Musketeers dribbled out the clock and an 82-55 victory.
Xavier (4-3) turned the ball over just three times — tying a school record set in 2004 — and bested Miami 28-0 in points off turnovers.
“They did a great job against our pressure,” Owens said. “They did a great job stepping off. What they do is throw the ball inside and play off that. They’re a good team playing with their back to the basket.”
Besides Bowman, Miami only featured one other double-digit scorer. Redshirt senior guard Abdoulaye Harouna had 14 points. Brown paced the RedHawks in rebounds with eight.
XU junior forward Tyrique Jones commanded both sides of the court, recording a 13-point, 13-board double-double. His rebound total was a game-high.
The contest was the second-worst Miami loss in the all-time series against the Musketeers. Xavier leads 54-48 in 102 meetings.
With losses to Butler and now the Musketeers, Miami falls to 0-2 against Big East Conference teams this season.
Sibande said his team will view Wednesday as another learning experience.
“The season’s not over,” Sibande said. “It’s just another game. We can’t let this down us for the whole rest of the year […] He (Owens) got on us, but honestly, he definitely is getting on us and making us learn at the same time.
The RedHawks return to Oxford on Saturday to take on Wilberforce at Millett Hall. The game is scheduled to tip off at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3.