Sunday, January 25, 1998
Taylor's 27 pace Miami

BY JOHN FAY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

OXFORD - Ohio University's first hint it was in trouble should have been the halftime stats. Damon Frierson had zero field goals, two points and Miami still led by 11.

Miami's 73-58 victory over OU Saturday before a crowd of 5,112 at Millett Hall proved that you have to do more than stifle Frierson to beat the RedHawks these days.

The double-teams on Frierson opened things up for Anthony Taylor and Refiloe Lethunya. Taylor responded with a career-high 27 points, Lethunya had 14 points. They each had seven rebounds.

And Miami has won two in a row for the first time since six-game winning streak ended on Dec. 12.

Miami improves to 10-7 overall and 4-5 in the Mid-American Conference. OU is 3-14 and 1-8.

OU, Miami's most heated rival, came in with a good plan and played hard enough to make it work. The idea was Frierson was not going to beat the Bobcats. He didn't, and he did.

''Every time, Damon would drive, they would double-team him,'' Taylor said. ''He was telling me to spot up and hit the J.''

''J'' as in jumper. Taylor made nine of them, including three threes. Lethunya made 5-of-7 from the field, for his second straight double-figure game.

Frierson finished with 14 points, despite a woeful (3-of-16) shooting night, but he equalled a career-high with eight assists against only two turnovers.

Miami had only nine turnovers overall and forced 20. The RedHawks outrebounded OU 36-34. That helped MU overcome its 37.5 percent shooting.

In the first few games after leading scorer Wally Szczerbiak was hurt, if opponents kept Frierson from scoring, they kept Miami from scoring. That's not true anymore.

''We're starting to understand each other better,'' Lethunya said. ''The chemistry's better.''

That was never more evident than on two possessions with about seven minutes to go Saturday. OU was still hanging around - down only seven - at that point.

On the first possession, Frierson was dribbling near the three-point line on left side. The defense came out to cut him off.

As it did, Lethunya slipped down the right baseline. Frierson threw the perfect lob, and the 6-foot-8 Lethunya grabbed it and jammed it home.

OU responded with a hoop. But on the next trip down, Frierson worked the shot clock to 10 or so, then dribbled into the lane. When the defense jumped to him, he turned and hit Taylor with a pass. Taylor made a three to push the lead back to 10 at 61-51.

OU would not cut the lead back into single digits the rest of the way.

In both cases, it was an example of what Miami has to do to be successful. ''Refiloe's got to be athletic,'' Coles said. ''When he's athletic, he's good.''

In Taylor's case, it's moving without the ball.

''He took a lot of shots (22),'' Coles said. ''But I can't get on him about his percentage, because I thought he played marvelously.'' Taylor struggled after Szczerbiak was hurt: He averaged 6.2 points in the first four games after the injury; he's averaging 20.8 in the past three.

''I was being unselfish,'' he said. ''But coach told me to be aggressive and move without the ball.''

Miami's aggressiveness paid off. MU went to the line 33 times and made 26. OU was 5-of-12.

''That's the way we want to play,'' Coles said. ''We want Damon and Anthony to be aggressive. I'm still not sold on the three. I won't be sold on it until Wally comes back.''

Notebook: Wally may miss just 1 more

OHIO (58)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Peterson        27   3-7   0-0   0-1  1  4    8
Flenorl         38  7-13   2-4   1-6  4  3   16
Fakhir          29   1-2   0-0   2-7  0  4    2
Ford            37  6-11   2-4   1-8  3  4   15
Adell           27  8-19   1-4   1-4  1  4   17
Feldman         13   0-0   0-0   1-1  0  2    0
Martin           8   0-1   0-0   0-1  0  2    0
Terry           21   0-0   0-0   1-2  1  4    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 25-53  5-12  7-30 10 27   58
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.472, FT-.417. 3-Point Goals: 3-14, .214 (Peterson 2-5, Flenorl 0-2, Ford 1-4, Adell 0-3). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 3 (Terry 2, Flenorl). Turnovers: 20 (Flenorl 6, Adell 4, Ford 4, Peterson 2, Terry 2, Fakhir, Martin). Steals: 2 (Ford 2).

MIAMI (73) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Lethunya 35 5-7 4-4 3-7 0 2 14 Estick 35 1-5 4-4 2-7 0 3 6 Ensminger 37 1-2 4-6 0-5 1 4 6 Taylor 37 9-22 6-7 2-7 1 1 27 Frierson 35 3-16 8-12 4-5 8 4 14 Chapman 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Lackaff 15 2-4 0-0 0-0 0 2 6 Allendorf 5 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 21-56 26-33 11-31 10 16 73 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.375, FT-.788. 3-Point Goals: 5-18, .278 (Lethunya 0-1, Taylor 3-9, Frierson 0-4, Lackaff 2-4). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 1 (Frierson). Turnovers: 9 (Estick 4, Frierson 2, Lackaff, Lethunya, Taylor). Steals: 8 (Frierson 3, Estick 2, Taylor 2, Ensminger). __________________________________ Ohio 21 37 - 58 Miami 32 41 - 73 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 5,112. Officials: Randy Drury, John Fouchet, Brad Groniger.

Miami game coverage

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