Bam Bowman spent Saturday afternoon controlling the paint and racking up points and rebounds.
That’s exactly what Wayne Embry, the basketball legend honored during today’s contest between the RedHawks and Ohio, did during his time at Miami in the 1950s.
Bowman’s Embry-like statline of 23 points and 12 rebounds led the RedHawks to a blowout 79-59 victory over the Bobcats in the Battle of the Bricks at Millett Hall.
“Just a great day,” head coach Jack Owens said. “Obviously, having Wayne Embry back, one of the best to ever do it and one of the best to do it here at Miami. Just a great day, but the guys came out and fought. Things just carried over from practice from the last two or three days, and the guys came out and executed the game plan on both sides of the ball.”
The sophomore forward Bowman finished an efficient 7-of-10 from the field, 2-of-3 from 3-point land and 7-of-10 at the free-throw line.
“I don’t know if I could mock [Embry’s] numbers — 34 rebounds in a game, that’s pretty insane,” Bowman said. “But it was a great game for us, especially to get back rolling after a tough loss at Kent State. It was just great to get the win.”
“Hopefully, Wayne enjoyed [watching Bam play well],” Owens said.
After Ohio (11-11, 3-7 Mid-American) corralled the opening tip and missed a three on its first possession, the RedHawks took a 3-0 lead on a 3-pointer by sophomore forward Dalonte Brown.
Aside from the Bobcats tying the game at three a few possession later, Miami (13-11, 5-6 MAC) led the entire game.
The first half was essentially one big run for the ’Hawks, as they went up by double digits less than halfway through the period and entered halftime ahead 47-27.
“I would say that was probably our best half [of the season] offensively and defensively,” Bowman said. “We were getting stops, flying around, but we were also executing on offense and making the easy play.”
Bowman and senior guard Darrian Ringo provided much of the scoring punch prior to intermission, combining for 22 of Miami’s 47 points.
The RedHawks held onto the ball in the half, as well, turning it over just four times.
That changed early in the second half.
Beginning the second with an 20-6 run, Ohio forced turnovers and crept back into the game, cutting Miami’s scoreboard advantage to just six (53-47). Overall, the Red and White gave the ball away 13 times in second half.
Redshirt senior guard Abdoulaye Harouna ended the positive OU stretch with a mid-range jumper. The bucket sparked a 12-2 RedHawk run that boosted their lead to 65-49 at the seven-minute mark.
After that, the Bobcats seemed to run out of fight.
From that point on, Miami’s lead never sunk below 12. The second free throw of a one-and-one from sophomore guard Nike Sibande pushed it to a game-high 22 with 2:35 remaining.
“I just told the guys to stay the course,” Owens said. “There was no reason for us to panic. And the guys were able to go back and get the lead back up. At the end of the day, you knew OU was going to go on a run, and we had to counter their punch, and we were able to even the game out.”
The backups and walk-ons checked in shortly after, as the RedHawks cruised to a 79-59 Battle of the Bricks victory.
They shot 46 percent from the field and 33 percent from deep while holding Ohio to 35.6 percent and 31.6 percent in the same categories. Miami won the rebounding battle 48-29.
Bowman was one of four double-digit RedHawk scorers with the others being Ringo (14 points), Sibande (13) and sophomore guard Jalen Adaway (10).
Sophomore guard Teyvion Kirk paced the Bobcats with 18 points and five steals. He also tied redshirt sophomore forward Jason Carter for a team-high six boards. Carter finished second on the squad with 16 points.
This is Miami’s second consecutive win over Ohio. Their last meeting before Saturday, a 68-55 MU victory, was in the first round of the 2018 MAC Tournament.
With Saturday being “Wayne Embry Day” at Millett, Embry was celebrated during breaks in the action throughout the game. He sat courtside across from the Bobcats’ bench.
After a bye from midweek games, Miami heads back on the road to take on Western Michigan next Saturday. The contest is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will air on ESPN3.