Friday, February 6, 1998
Frierson key down the stretch

BY JOHN FAY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

szczerbiak
Wally Szczerbiak drives around Ball State's Wayne Johnson.
(Saed Hindash photo)
| ZOOM |
OXFORD - Damon Frierson would not let Bonzi Wells steal the show - not in Millett Hall.

Frierson scored nine points in the last 2 1/2 minutes to preserve Miami's 73-67 victory over Ball State before a crowd of 3,107 on a snowy night here.

Miami had led all the way until Wells, a 6-foot-5 forward and the favorite to win the Mid-American Conference player of year award, hit a three-point shot to tie it at 60.

Frierson responded. First, he drove to the basket, lost his man with a head fake and hit a layup. On the other end, he stole the ball from Wells.

Then, after MU worked the shot clock down, Frierson made a three-pointer from the top of the key. The lead was back to five, 65-60, with 2:14 to go.

''That was Damon Frierson's best all-around game,'' MU coach Charlie Coles said. ''He had control of that game . . . He just had a great game.''

The second-half collapse, which beat Miami at Eastern Michigan on Saturday, was averted. And Wells still had not won at Millett. ''We fought so hard,'' Frierson said. ''We couldn't let it get it away.''

Wally Szczerbiak had 25 points and 10 rebounds to lead Miami. Frierson, who played the last 5:46 with four fouls, added 24 points.

''We said coming in we had to stop Szczerbiak and Frierson,'' BSU coach Ray McCallum said. ''We didn't get the job done. That means a loss for the Cardinals.''

Wells, held to five points in the first half, finished with 24 points, 10 rebounds and four steals. But he had seven turnovers. Ball State, 16-4 and 10-2 in the MAC, has been the class of the conference so far this year. Miami, 11-9 and 5-7, is fighting for one of the eight spots in the MAC Tournament.

But the RedHawks are a different team now that Szczerbiak, who missed eight games with a fractured wrist, is back. Miami is 8-4 with him, 3-5 without.

''A lot of teams may have forgotten how good we are,'' Szczerbiak said. ''We're going to show them now.''

For at least one night, Miami looked like a MAC contender. Szczerbiak thinks the RedHawks are.

''Now that we have everyone back,'' Szczerbiak said. ''We feel we can do some damage.''

BALL ST (67) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Johnson 23 3-5 4-6 1-2 0 3 10 Wells 30 9-20 3-5 2-10 3 4 24 Reed 29 1-2 0-1 1-4 1 5 2 Clemens 30 1-6 2-6 0-1 1 2 4 Roland 18 4-12 3-5 1-2 0 4 11 Davis 14 2-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 4 Smith 19 1-2 0-0 0-1 0 2 2 Hosier 10 2-2 1-1 2-3 1 0 6 Mason 10 0-2 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 Hankins 17 1-1 2-2 0-1 1 2 4 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 24-54 15-26 7-25 7 22 67 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.444, FT-.577. 3-Point Goals: 4-15, .267 (Wells 3-8, Clemens 0-1, Roland 0-4, Smith 0-1, Hosier 1-1). Team rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: 4 (Reed 2, Davis 2). Turnovers: 15 (Wells 7, Roland 3, Smith 3, Davis, Hankins). Steals: 12 (Wells 4, Smith 3, Roland 2, Clemens, Hankins, Johnson).

MIAMI OHIO (73) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Estick 34 2-5 5-7 2-8 1 3 9 Szczerbiak 40 10-18 1-4 2-10 4 2 25 Ensminger 18 2-4 0-0 3-5 2 5 4 Taylor 26 4-7 0-0 3-5 4 4 8 Frierson 40 8-15 7-10 1-2 1 4 24 Lackaff 14 0-4 0-0 0-0 1 3 0 Lethunya 18 1-4 1-2 2-6 0 2 3 Allendorf 10 0-0 0-0 1-3 0 2 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 27-57 14-23 14-39 13 25 73 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.474, FT-.609. 3-Point Goals: 5-17, .294 (Szczerbiak 4-8, Taylor 0-2, Frierson 1-4, Lackaff 0-3). Team rebounds: 6. Blocked shots: 1 (Szczerbiak). Turnovers: 20 (Frierson 5, Szczerbiak 5, Taylor 5, Allendorf, Ensminger, Estick, Lackaff, Lethunya). Steals: 10 (Frierson 3, Taylor 3, Lethunya 2, Estick, Lackaff). __________________________________ Ball St 24 43 - 67 Miami Ohio 31 42 - 73 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 3,107. Officials: Jd Collins, Randy Drury, Tim Fogarty.

Miami game coverage

Eastern Michigan 71, Miami 67 Feb. 1, 1998
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