Wednesday, November 26, 1997
Miami turns to defense

BY DAVE HELLER
Enquirer contributor

mestas
Miami's Rob Mestas drives between three defenders.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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OXFORD - Miami University head coach Charlie Coles' cuticles needed some relief. The RedHawks players provided it.

After two nail-biting games to open the season, Miami used strong defense and rebounding to beat Wisconsin-Green Bay 64-46 in front of 2,048 at Millett Hall in its home opener.

The win advanced Miami's home winning streak to 19 games, the sixth longest streak in the nation.

''We were tired of getting in those close games,'' junior forward John Estick said. ''We wanted to push the lead out a little bit and see what we really got.''

The RedHawks (2-1) were able to take and maintain a double-digit lead in the second half by limiting the number of good shots for Wisconsin-Green Bay (1-1) and grabbing most of the rebounds. Miami outrebounded the Phoenix 45-22 and didn't allow a three-point basket. Wisconsin-Green Bay had only one offensive rebound, that coming with 3:16 to play in the game. Miami grabbed 15.

Miami never really got on track offensively but did enough defensively to make up for the slack. The RedHawks shot just 41.8 percent from the field, but held the Phoenix to 37.2 percent shooting in the second half.

At one point in the second half, neither team scored during a 5:58 span. Wisconsin-Green Bay was held without a field goal for 7:22 and a point for 6:11.

''It was an ugly game, I pity the fans,'' said Miami forward Wally Szczerbiak.

After B.J. LaRue hit a 10-foot jumper to break the mutual scoring funk and cut the Miami lead to 41-32, the RedHawks went on a 12-2 run to increase the lead to 53-34 with 5:33 remaining.

Szczerbiak, who was double- and triple-teamed all game, scored five of those points and ended the contest with 18 points and 12 rebounds. With Wisconsin-Green Bay concentrating on stopping Szczerbiak and Damon Frierson, Anthony Taylor managed to lead Miami with a career-high 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting.

''I didn't think their defense was all that (great), to tell you the truth,'' Taylor said.

Said Szczerbiak: ''Anthony's a pretty good scorer. If they're going to key on me and Damon, they'd better watch out.''

Wisconsin-Green Bay tried to establish itself inside early in the game with center Jerry Carstensen, but the 6-foot-7 sophomore missed his first four shots, setting the tone for the Phoenix early. Wisconsin-Green Bay's longest run was a six-point streak that occurred in the last four minutes of the game, with the contest well out of reach.

''I just think they have better players,'' said Wisconsin-Green Bay coach Mike Heideman. ''And they played well.''

   Wis.-G.B.    m fg att ft att r a f to tp
   Walker      22  4   7  1  1  2 0 3  1  9
   Olm         32  4   5  3  4  3 3 2  2 11
   Carstensen  29  2   7  2  2  5 1 5  2  6
   Kiss        23  0   2  0  0  0 2 1  1  0
   LaRue       29  2   8  2  3  1 0 1  1  6
   Borowicz    12  0   4  0  0  0 0 1  1  0
   Kraft       21  2   4  0  0  1 0 0  0  4
   Wade         7  0   1  4  4  1 0 2  2  4
   Nabena      17  1   2  2  4  3 0 0  2  4
   Hill         8  1   2  0  1  0 0 1  3  2
                - - - - - - - - - - 
   Totals     200 16  43 14 19 22 6 16 15 46
   Team Rebounds- 6.
   
   Miami        m fg att ft att r a f to tp
   Estick      17  4   7  0   1 7 0 4  2  8
   Szczerbiak  36  7  17  3  4 12 3 1  4 18
   Ensminger   12  0   1  0  0  1 0 4  0  0
   Taylor      38  8  15  1  2  7 1 0  1 19
   Frierson    33  4  10  5  6  6 3 3  1 15
   Mestas      26  0   4  2  4  3 1 2  1  2
   Alexander    2  0   0  0  0  2 0 1  2  0
   Lackaff      2  0   0  0  0  0 0 0  2  0
   Lethunya    14  0   0  0  0  3 0 2  2  0
   Locklier    18  0   1  2  2  3 1 2  3  2
   Allendorf    2  0   0  0  0  1 0 0  0  0
                - - - - - - - - - -
    Totals 200 23 55 13 19 45 9 19 18 64
   Team Rebounds- 0.
   Wis.-Green Bay  23 23 - 46
   Miami           29 35 - 64
Attendance-2,048. 3-point goals-Wisconsin-Green Bay 0-10 (Kiss 0-1, Larue 0-4, Borowicz 0-3, Kraft 0-2); Miami 5-11 (Szczerbiak 1-3, Taylor 2-4, Frierson 2-3, Mestas 0-1). Technical fouls-None. Officials-Tom Clark, Tim Fogarty, Glen Horner.

Miami results

Miami 94, Dayton 86 Nov. 23, 1997
Tennessee 75, Miami 74 Nov. 18, 1997