Friday, January 9, 1998
Miami gets uptick from Estick

BY JOHN FAY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

OXFORD - The Millett Streak lives.

Miami University, playing its second game without star Wally Szczerbiak, held off Mid-American Conference favorite Eastern Michigan 72-64 to extend Miami's home winning streak to 23 games.

Miami's last 16 points came at the free-throw line as EMU was forced to foul to try to catch up after MU opened a 69-62 lead with 1:52 left. Miami did not have a field goal in the last 7:25.

''We didn't shoot it very well,'' MU coach Charlie Coles said. ''It wasn't very pretty. But what you saw out there was a lot of big hearts.''

The biggest belonged to Miami's John Estick, the 6-foot-7 junior college transfer from Brewster, N.Y. Estick had 23 points and 19 rebounds, both easily career-highs. Estick was averaging 6.0 points and 5.4 rebounds.

Six of his seven second-half field goals came on put-backs. And his night could have been even bigger, buthe was 3-for-12 from the line. Estick helped Miami outrebound EMU 29-16 in the second half.

''That's what I'm proudest of,'' said Coles, who still hasn't lost at Millett.

EMU was playing without leading scorer Derrick Dial, who had to stay back at the motel because of a nasty flu.

''That's irrelevant,'' EMU coach Milton Barnes said. ''They didn't have Wally. I'd call that even.''

Miami has not lost at home since EMU won here Jan. 24, 1996. Only Kansas (54) amd New Mexico (36) have longer streaks.

''We had a lot at steak,''' Damon Frierson said. ''We have our home winning streak. . . . and a lot of people are going to watching to see how we react after losing one of big players.''

Frierson had 20 points - despite going 2-for-13 inside the three-point arch - and eight rebounds. EMU paid so much attention to him that Estick was able to rebound a lot of those misses and convert.

''(Estick) kicked us all over the place,'' Barnes said. ''We didn't give him the proper attention or even respect. We were so worried about Frierson.''

Earl Boykins, EMU's 5-foot-5 all-MAC point guard, led EMU with 22 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Miami is 8-4 and 2-2 in the MAC. EMU is 7-5 and 3-1.

Refiloe Lethunya got Miami rolling by doing his Wally Szczerbiak imitation, hitting hit two three-pointers in the first 4 minutes to help Miami to a 15-11 lead.

But neither team could take control. There were six ties and 17 lead changes before Estick hit back-to-back hoops on stick-backs to give Miami a 52-47 lead with 9:16 left.

The RedHawks would keep the lead the rest of way, but the Eagles went on a 8-4 run to close to 63-62 with 1:52 left.

But the RedHawks worked for good shots. And, when EMU fouled, MU converted six of eight free throws and rebounded each EMU miss to take a 69-62 lead with 35.5 to go.

EMU would blew its chance by missing four straight free throws, and Miami had its first post-Wally win.

''We told the players Monday, we going to have play different,'' Coles said. ''We're going to have to rebound and play hard. . . .'' At least, Thursday, they did that.


EASTERN MICH (64)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Head            36  4-12   0-0   0-7  3  4    8
Ezugwu          35   5-8   2-5   2-6  0  4   12
Zajac           22   6-8   1-3   3-7  1  5   13
Boykins         38  7-19   4-5   3-5  4  3   22
Howard          28   1-3   0-0   0-3  2  3    2
Fordham         21   1-4   3-4   1-3  2  2    5
Tarrant          8   0-1   0-2   0-1  0  1    0
Sheffield        2   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Williams        10   1-1   0-0   0-0  0  3    2
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 25-56 10-19  9-32 12 25   64
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.446, FT-.526. 3-Point Goals: 4-15, .267 (Head 0-5, Boykins 4-9, Tarrant 0-1). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 3 (Head, Ezugwu, Fordham). Turnovers: 14 (Boykins 4, Head 4, Howard 2, Williams 2, Ezugwu, Tarrant). Steals: 9 (Head 4, Boykins, Ezugwu, Fordham, Howard, Zajac).

MIAMI (72) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Ensminger 30 0-2 4-4 1-4 0 4 4 Estick 40 10-15 3-12 9-19 0 1 23 Lethunya 37 4-7 1-2 1-2 1 1 11 Taylor 39 4-12 4-4 1-6 3 3 12 Frierson 40 5-18 7-10 3-8 3 4 20 Chapman 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Lackaff 2 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 Smith 1 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 2 Locklier 7 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 1 0 Allendorf 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 24-56 19-32 15-40 8 15 72 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.429, FT-.594. 3-Point Goals: 5-12, .417 (Lethunya 2-3, Taylor 0-3, Frierson 3-5, Lackaff 0-1). Team rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: 1 (Frierson). Turnovers: 15 (Taylor 7, Frierson 4, Estick 2, Lethunya 2). Steals: 5 (Ensminger 2, Estick 2, Frierson). __________________________________ Eastern Mich 30 34 - 64 Miami 28 44 - 72 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 2,257. Officials: Dave Danhoff, L Memminger, Sid Rodeheffer.

Miami game coverage

Western Michigan 63, Miami 47 Jan. 6, 1998
Miami 81, Central Michigan 65 Jan. 4, 1998
Bowling Green 72, Miami 59 Dec. 30, 1997
Syracuse 72, Miami 53 Dec. 14, 1997
Miami 71, LaSalle 66 Dec. 13, 1997
Miami 80, Xavier 72 Dec. 10, 1997
Miami 85, Virginia Commonwealth 75 Dec. 7, 1997
Miami 102, IUPUI 75 Dec. 2, 1997
Miami 66, Wisconsin-Green Bay 46 Nov. 26, 1997
Miami 94, Dayton 86 Nov. 23, 1997
Tennessee 75, Miami 74 Nov. 18, 1997