Miami got off to a hot start, scoring nine of the game's first 11 points. Junior guard Allen Roberts made the first basket of the night and junior forward Jon Harris added two free throws and a 3-pointer to put the RedHawks up 9-2. Grambling State's Terry Rose answered with a three of his own to start a 17-4 Tiger scoring run. This gave Grambling a 19-13 lead with 8:28 remaining in the half.
Aggressive defense by Miami forced several turnovers that swung the momentum back in favor of the RedHawks. Led by freshman guard Reggie Johnson, Miami rattled off 13 straight points to take a 26-19 advantage with just over four and a half minutes left until halftime. Rose drilled a jumper with 2:02 left for the first Tiger points in over six minutes and, after another basket from sophomore David Copeland, Grambling State had cut the Miami lead down to four, 27-23, heading into the locker room.
Johnson led the RedHawks in the first half with seven points, already tying his career high set against NC State in the season opener. Miami also forced 17 turnovers, scoring 18 points off of Grambling State's mistakes.
Rose, the Tigers' leading scorer on the young season, opened up the second half with two consecutive threes to give Grambling State a 29-27 lead. After being fouled on a missed dunk, he added two free throws to double the Tiger lead to four points.
Yet another trey from Rose took the Grambling State scoring run to 15 unanswered points until Roberts hit two free throws to put Miami back within five. After a Tiger 3-pointer put them back on top by eight, Johnson took control and scored seven straight points to cut the RedHawk deficit to one. Junior forward Bill Edwards knocked one down from behind the arc on the next possession to put Miami ahead, 39-37, for the first time since the start of the second half.
In a game ruled by long scoring runs and drastic swings of momentum, this was the beginning of the biggest run of the game by either team. Johnson's and Edwards' points were the start of a 27-0 scoring run that saw the Miami lead balloon to 19 points, 56-37, with just over nine minutes left.
The last basket in that scoring run came on a 3-pointer by Roberts after a steal from Johnson. His steal was the 19th of the game for Miami, breaking the previous school record of 18, which last occurred in the 1991-92 season.
A 21-9 run for the RedHawks in the final minutes of the game kept the game firmly in Miami's grasp, highlighted by Johnson's third trey of the night to give the freshman 20 points. When the clock hit zeros, the RedHawks had captured their first win under new Miami head coach John Cooper.
While Johnson led the way for Miami with 20 points, four others joined him by scoring in double figures: junior forwards Will Felder and Jon Harris and Roberts each had 12 points, while Edwards added 11. Harris also led all players with a career-high-tying eight rebounds.
The RedHawks found their shooting touch in the second half, hitting 50 percent from behind the arc and just over 50 percent from the field overall. They also improved on their shooting from the charity stripe, knocking down 10-of-12 free throws over the final 20 minutes.
For Grambling State, Rose finished with 20 points and Derron Hobbs added 10.
Miami's next game is Sunday, Nov. 18 at No. 2 Louisville. Game time is 4 p.m.