Sunday, February 8, 1998
Frierson's shot returns just in time

BY JOHN FAY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

OXFORD - Miami's Damon Frierson was having a horrible shooting day. Then with 3 1/2 minutes to go and his team down by six, Frierson found himself alone to the left of the key.

Pass up the shot? Not a chance.

Frierson fired. The ball hit nothing but the bottom of the net. Three-pointer.

Frierson was off the snide, and Miami was on its way to a 74-71 overtime victory over Northern Illinois in a Mid-American Conference game Saturday at Millett Hall.

Frierson was 2-for-12 from the field and 0-for-4 from three-range when he took the shot. He scored 15 of MU's last 19 points, including all eight in OT.

''Coach always tells me I'm all right, to keep shooting,'' Frierson said. ''If you're afraid to take a shot, you'll never make any.''

Frierson finished with 23 points, six rebounds and four assists. The other half of Miami's deadly duo, Wally Szczerbiak, had 28 points and 12 rebounds.

For the second straight game, Szczerbiak carried Miami early, while Frierson was the late show. They combined to make all 21 foul shots they took; Miami was 29-of-32 (90.6 percent) as a team.

Szczerbiak has scored 26, 25 and 28 since returning from a fractured shooting wrist that sidelined him for eight games.

Miami improves to 12-9 overall and 6-7 in the MAC. The victory breaks a tie for eighth place with Northern Illinois (9-12, 5-8). The top eight teams make the MAC Tournament.

Saturday's victory was no beauty. Miami shot 41.2 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from three-point range.

''This was a tough game,'' MU coach Charlie Coles said. ''The coaches are the only ones who know how good Northern Illinois is. They all can't be picture perfect. I'd be happy with a one-point win in triple overtime.''

Miami could never gain control. The RedHawks concentrated on stopping T.J. Lux, Northern's 6-foot-9 star center.

''We did a good job of that, and look what (Donte) Parker did?''

Parker, 6-foot guard, scored 27 points, and every time Miami would go on run, he'd hit a three.

The RedHawks were down eight 54-46 midway through the second half. After they made a run to go up 55-54, Parker hit back-to-back threes to restore the lead to six with 3:55 to go.

That's when Frierson took over.

''He has great poise,'' NIU coach Brian Hammel said. ''He lets the game come to him. That's rare among college players.''

Still, Miami needed a major break to pull this one out. NIU had to ball with 21 seconds to go in regulation with the score tied at 66. The Huskies called timeout with 10 seconds left.

But when they tried to set up the play for the last shot, Parker passed the ball to Mike Brown, who was on the other side of the half court line.

Over and back, Miami ball.

''You've got to get a shot in that situation,'' Hammel said. Miami's Anthony Taylor missed a layup at the buzzer.

But Frierson took over in OT. His eight-footer with 25 seconds left gave MU a 72-71 lead.

After Parker missed a rainbow with time running out, Frierson rebounded and was fouled. ''It's a good overall team win,'' Frierson said. ''The big guys did a good job of getting me and Wally open.''

Notebook: Frierson gets deserved rest

NORTHERN ILL (71) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Anderson 26 3-10 1-2 2-8 0 3 7 Jones 34 3-9 2-4 3-7 4 4 9 Lux 33 4-13 2-2 3-6 2 4 10 Parker 39 10-17 2-2 0-2 2 1 27 Dukes 12 0-0 0-0 1-3 1 3 0 Bryant 4 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Ries 11 0-0 0-0 0-3 0 2 0 Brown 28 3-7 0-0 0-0 2 2 7 Williams 13 0-3 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Hughes 4 0-1 2-2 1-1 0 1 2 Determan 21 4-6 1-1 2-2 2 3 9 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 225 27-67 10-13 12-32 13 24 71 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.403, FT-.769. 3-Point Goals: 7-15, .467 (Anderson 0-1, Jones 1-1, Parker 5-7, Bryant 0-1, Brown 1-3, Williams 0-2). Team rebounds: 7. Blocked shots: 2 (Anderson, Lux). Turnovers: 11 (Determan 3, Lux 2, Anderson, Brown, Hughes, Jones, Parker, Williams). Steals: 4 (Jones 2, Anderson, Parker).

MIAMI OHIO (74) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Estick 36 3-4 1-3 3-8 0 3 7 Szczerbiak 44 8-13 11-11 3-12 2 3 28 Ensminger 39 1-2 0-0 0-3 2 3 2 Taylor 45 3-13 4-4 0-1 2 1 11 Frierson 42 6-19 10-10 1-6 4 3 23 Chapman 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Lackaff 3 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Lethunya 12 0-0 3-4 0-0 0 2 3 Allendorf 3 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 1 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 225 21-51 29-32 7-31 10 16 74 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.412, FT-.906. 3-Point Goals: 3-9, .333 (Szczerbiak 1-1, Taylor 1-3, Frierson 1-5). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 4 (Szczerbiak 2, Lethunya, Estick). Turnovers: 13 (Szczerbiak 7, Frierson 3, Ensminger, Lethunya, Taylor). Steals: 5 (Ensminger 2, Estick 2, Frierson). _______________________________________ Northern Ill 36 30 5 - 71 Miami Ohio 33 33 8 - 74 _______________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 4,229. Officials: Bill Grogan, Steven Skiles, Steve Trout.

Miami game coverage

Miami 73, Ball State 67 Feb. 6, 1998
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