Sunday, February 1, 1998
Miami fizzles after fast start

The Associated Press

Wally Szczerbiak took the floor for the Miami RedHawks Saturday night and they looked as if they were ready to conquer the Mid-American Conference - for a half.

Szczerbiak returned from an eight-game absence with a fractured wrist to score 21 first-half points. But in the end, Eastern Michigan's tiny Earl Boykins stole the show with a 40-point outburst in a 71-67 victory over reeling Miami.

The RedHawks led by as many as 18 points when Szczerbiak hit a three-pointer only nine seconds into the second half, but EMU ran off a 23-5 spurt to catch Miami, then opened an eight-point lead.

''(Boykins) made some threes that were phenomenal,'' said Miami coach Charlie Coles. ''He threw up some from so deep that I didn't even think they'd reach the rim. Wally stole the show in the first half and Earl stole the show in the second half.''

The loss was Miami's fifth in the last seven games and left the RedHawks 10-9 overall, 4-7 in the MAC.

''We lost to a tremendous team, a team with experience,'' Coles said. ''I just hope we're playing on Feb. 28 (the MAC tournament opener).''

The RedHawks, who entered Saturday's game in eigth place in the MAC, face a battle to do that. Only the top eight teams qualify, regardless of division. They play at home Thursday against MAC power Ball State.

The RedHawks made just 6-of-26 shots in the second half after shooting 52.9 percent (18-of-34) in the first. Miami also turned over the ball 17 times to Eastern's seven turnovers, and Eastern had nine steals to the RedHawks' two.

Szczerbiak had only two points after his early three-pointer.

''Wally's hand stiffened up in the second half, which we expected a little bit,'' Coles said, ''but it's great to have him back.''

Anthony Taylor and Damon Frierson each scored 16 points for Miami.

MIAMI (67) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Estick 28 3-7 1-4 4-11 0 4 7 Szczerbiak 38 10-22 1-2 0-7 2 3 26 Ensminger 31 0-2 0-0 2-10 0 4 0 Taylor 33 5-12 2-2 0-1 1 3 16 Frierson 40 5-12 4-5 2-7 5 4 16 Lackaff 10 0-2 0-0 0-3 2 1 0 Lethunya 20 1-3 0-0 2-3 0 3 2 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 24-60 8-13 10-42 10 22 67 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.400, FT-.615. 3-Point Goals: 11-24, .458 (Szczerbiak 5-9, Taylor 4-7, Frierson 2-6, Lackaff 0-2). Team rebounds: 2. Blocked shots: 1 (Szczerbiak). Turnovers: 17 (Lethunya 4, Taylor 4, Frierson 3, Estick 2, Szczerbiak 2, Ensminger). Steals: 2 (Frierson 2).

EASTERN MICH (71) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Zajac 30 0-4 1-2 0-5 1 0 1 Head 31 5-9 1-6 1-6 1 5 12 Ezugwu 21 1-4 1-1 3-8 0 4 3 Dial 37 5-15 1-2 4-9 2 0 12 Boykins 40 13-28 10-11 1-3 6 2 40 Fordham 18 0-0 1-2 1-2 1 1 1 Howard 2 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Tarrant 7 1-2 0-0 1-2 0 0 2 Williams 14 0-0 0-1 0-3 0 1 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 25-63 15-25 11-38 11 13 71 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.397, FT-.600. 3-Point Goals: 6-17, .353 (Zajac 0-1, Head 1-1, Dial 1-5, Boykins 4-9, Howard 0-1). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 5 (Ezugwu 2, Dial, Tarrant, Williams). Turnovers: 7 (Zajac 3, Boykins 2, Ezugwu, Williams). Steals: 9 (Boykins 4, Head 4, Dial). __________________________________ Miami 47 20 - 67 Eastern Mich 32 39 - 71 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 4,097. Officials: Eugene Crawford, John Tipton, Norm Nelson.

Miami game coverage

Toledo 63, Miami 50 Jan. 30, 1998
Miami 73, Ohio 58 Jan. 25, 1998
Miami 71, Marshall 54 Jan. 22, 1998
Kent 66, Miami 65 Jan. 18, 1998
Akron 64, Miami 51 Jan. 15, 1998
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