Thursday, January 15, 1998
Miami woes mount
Depleted RedHawks lose again

BY JOHN FAY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

ensminger
Miami's Mike Ensminger gives Akron's Jami Bosley a hand in the face as they battle for a loose ball.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
| ZOOM |
OXFORD - It's ugly and getting uglier here in RedHawk land.

Miami University went from not losing a men's basketball game in Millett Hall in two years to losing two in five days, falling to Akron 64-51 Wednesday.

The RedHawks have had their worst two shooting nights of the year back-to-back. They shot .362 Wednesday after shooting .358 in Saturday's loss to Toledo. Other lowlights:

  • Akron had never won in Millett and had lost seven in a row overall to Miami.

  • It is the first time Miami has lost two straight at Millett since the 1986-87 season.

  • Miami falls to 8-6 overall and 2-4 in the Mid-American Conference. The RedHawks are 2-5 since their 6-1 start, and 1-3 without injured star Wally Szczerbiak.

''I can't see my way out of this right now,'' Miami coach Charlie Coles said. ''I want to get out of it without Wally. We can play better. As long as I have my man (Damon) Frierson, we'll be all right.''

Frierson is the only reason this one was not a full-scale blowout. Frierson had 26 points and played all 40 minutes, despite breaking Akron's press by himself the whole game.

He was 10-for-19 from the field. The rest of the RedHawks were 7-of-28 (25 percent).

''We've only got two guys who played last year,'' Frierson said. ''We've got to keep moving and get open shots.''

No other RedHawk had more than five points.

''I don't think we can win a game right now if one of our guys has a tough night,'' Coles said.

Everyone but Frierson had a tough night Wednesday. Anthony Taylor was 2-for-9 from the field and fouled out with almost nine minutes to go. Miami's three inside people - John Estick, Refiloe Lethunya and Mike Ensminger - were a combined 3-for-11 from the field.

But Coles has to stick with them. The RedHawks' bench now consists of a football player, a baseball player, a senior walk-on and a freshman who is playing four minutes a game.

Miami lost a player (Jay Locklier) to academics Tuesday, after having a player (Shane Alexander) quit the team Monday.

''We need nothing to happen for a week,'' Coles said. ''Then maybe we can get better. None of what has happened is devastating, but it takes us off what we're doing.''

Akron, 8-7 and 4-3, is not the kind of team that usually puts fear into Miami fans. The Zips haven't qualified for the MAC Tournament in their six years in the league, while Miami has been in the NCAA or NIT the last six years.

Miami stayed in the game for a half, thanks to Frierson. Frierson, who had struggled with his shot since Szczerbiak went out, hit five of his first six shots.

He once scored 13 straight Miami points, but the RedHawks could not take control. Their biggest lead was four points, 8-4, three minutes into the game.

Notebook: Wally may return in 2 1/2 weeks

AKRON (64) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Phillips 34 8-12 0-2 3-9 1 4 16 Bosley 34 3-8 10-14 1-5 2 2 16 Weinkein 23 1-2 0-0 2-3 0 4 2 Hahn 21 0-3 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 Ball 36 6-15 2-2 0-4 3 3 14 Gooden 20 1-2 6-7 0-1 0 1 9 Casey 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Kart 1 0-0 0-2 0-2 0 0 0 Wittensoldner 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Moore 12 1-1 0-0 0-1 2 1 2 Andrick 16 1-3 3-5 3-4 0 3 5 Zollner 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 21-46 21-32 9-30 8 18 64 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.457, FT-.656. 3-Point Goals: 1-7, .143 (Phillips 0-2, Bosley 0-2, Ball 0-2, Gooden 1-1). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 4 (Phillips 3, Weinkein). Turnovers: 11 (Bosley 3, Weinkein 3, Phillips 2, Andrick, Kart, Moore). Steals: 12 (Ball 3, Bosley 3, Andrick 2, Hahn 2, Moore, Weinkein).

MIAMI (51) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Estick 38 1-3 3-6 3-7 0 4 5 Ensminger 32 1-3 0-0 3-9 0 2 2 Lethunya 31 1-5 0-0 0-3 0 5 3 Taylor 23 2-9 0-2 0-1 1 5 5 Frierson 40 10-19 5-6 0-2 2 3 26 Chapman 9 0-2 4-4 0-0 0 0 4 Lackaff 15 1-4 0-0 0-1 1 4 2 Smith 4 1-2 0-0 1-2 0 1 2 Allendorf 8 0-0 2-2 0-1 0 1 2 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 17-47 14-20 7-26 4 25 51 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.362, FT-.700. 3-Point Goals: 3-11, .273 (Lethunya 1-3, Taylor 1-1, Frierson 1-3, Chapman 0-2, Lackaff 0-2). Team rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: None. Turnovers: 15 (Ensminger 3, Frierson 3, Lethunya 3, Taylor 3, Chapman, Estick, Lackaff). Steals: 7 (Estick 2, Frierson 2, Ensminger, Lethunya, Smith). __________________________________ Akron 26 38 - 64 Miami 27 24 - 51 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 2,613. Officials: Glen Horner, David Nash, Larry Schmackel.

Previous games

Toledo 76, Miami 56 Jan. 11, 1998
Miami 72, Eastern Michigan 64 Jan. 9, 1998
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