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Tripleheader Saturday

This past Saturday was the highlight of the year for fans of Miami sports: the annual Tripleheader Saturday, featuring women’s and men’s basketball at Millett and ice hockey at the Goggin. The Tripleheader is a great thing for RedHawk fans who, like me, couldn’t make it down for football season. (Plus, it was a great excuse to eat Skyline and go to Steinkeller.)

Festivities started with the women’s basketball team taking on Buffalo. Although the game was exciting and back-and-forth throughout, Buffalo came out on top, 78-75. The RedHawks shot just 37% from the field and had a tough time stopping the Bulls on the defensive end, as Buffalo shot 53% for the game, including an eye-popping 60% from three. Cindi Merrill led the Red and White with 15 points and one dislocated nose--she took an elbow to the face, missed five minutes of the second half, and returned with a Bill Laimbeer-style protective mask on. Also making big contributions for Miami were Katie Guerriero, with 14 points off the bench, and Kris Coner, who grabbed nine boards. Rachelle Matthys stood out with 16 for the Bulls. (On a side note, UB had a heckler who thought every call against his team was “terrible.” The basketball band strenuously disagreed, informing him that he was “terrible,” but the calls were “excellent.")

After the women’s game came the highlight of the day (and something of a missed connection for yours truly), at least from an MHT standpoint. Miami HawkTalk’s fearless leader, RedSteve, presented the Red and White Club with the money collected from this season’s Red and White Challenge. I poked my head in to the reception, but everyone I knew seemed to be hiding from my view, causing me to skip out on crashing the party. I’m given to understand that the R&W Club folks were very, very happy about this donation.

The men tipped off against Eastern Michigan a few minutes after four. After a very, very sluggish first half, the RedHawks trailed the Eagles 28-19, due largely to the long-distance shooting of EMU’s Danny McElhinny, who scored 12 points from behind the arc before halftime. Things turned around in the second half, though, as Miami some offense and outscored Eastern 31-22. Unfortunately, the RedHawks couldn’t score in the last two minutes of the half, so the game went to overtime, where something positively magical happened: a Nate VanderSluis three. Big Nate, who is 4-of-7 from three in his career, was left unguarded at the top of the key with Miami trailing 52-51 with about three minutes left in the game. He swished a beautiful three, and Millett went crazy. Then, he followed up with a foot-on-the-line two-point jumper. VanderSluis scored a career-high 17 points, and was unquestionably the story of the game. William Hatcher led Miami with 18 points, and EMU’s John Bowler, perhaps the best center in the MAC, got 31 and 10 in a standout effort.

The evening was capped off at the Goggin, where the IceHawks took on the Wildcats of Northern Michigan. (Looking back, I wish the women had played a Directional Michigan and won to get us a nifty sweep.) Often, it can be hard to pick a clear-cut first star after the game is over, but there was no such problem on Saturday: Miami’s Matt Davis scored four goals and netted an assist to record his first career hat trick--and garner CCHA Offensive Player of the Week awards--en route to a 6-3 Miami win over an NMU team that had beaten the RedHawks on Friday for Miami’s third loss of the season. Ryan Jones and Joe Cooper scored Miami’s other two goals, and Matt Christie chipped in a team-leading three assists to make the Wildcats’ Bill Zaniboni (whose taste in fine wine is subpar) look just like the sieve the crowd said he was.

All in all, Tripleheader Saturday was a great day, and I can’t wait for next year’s edition!

Women’s BB stories

Men’s BB stories

Ice Hockey

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