Thursday, February 19, 1998
Miami blows out OU 85-53

The Cincinnati Enquirer

ATHENS, Ohio - Miami University came here looking to take the first step on a confidence-building, season-ending run.

The RedHawks did just that Wednesday night, blowing out an overmatched Ohio University team 85-53 before a crowd of 6,821.

''We definitely needed a game like this,'' Miami forward Wally Szczerbiak said. ''The defense played well and ignited the offense. That's what a skilled team like us needs to do.''

Szczerbiak, in his fifth game back after missing time with a fractured shooting hand, led Miami with 32 points, hitting five-of-seven shots from three-point range.

Refiloe Lethunya chipped in a career-high 17 points and eight rebounds. Damon Frierson had 14 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

By winning Wednesday, Miami (13-11, 7-9 in the Mid-American Conference) controls its own fate. Miami finishes the regular season with home games against Marshall Saturday and Bowling Green (Feb. 25). If the RedHawks win out, they will lock up one of the eight spots in the MAC Tournament.

Right now, MU is alone in eighth place, a game ahead of BGSU and a half-game behind Marshall.

''We feel like we should win all of our home games,'' Szczerbiak said. ''I don't know what happened against Kent last week (when we lost at home).

''But now we hold our fate in our own hands. We want to get two quality wins and go into the tournament with a lot of confidence.''

Beating Ohio U. will not go down as a quality win. The Bobcats are 4-19 and 2-13 in the MAC. But that didn't take away from Miami coach Charlie Coles' pleasure with his team's performance.

''That's the best we've played since the non-conference schedule,'' he said. ''We were really moving. That got our running game going.'' Ohio U. stayed in the game for the first 10 minutes. In fact, the Bobcats led 13-11.

But Lethunya, who started in the place of Mike Ensminger, helped get Miami rolling.

''Refiloe has just been playing well the last three games,'' Coles said. ''He has good ability.''

Lethunya scored five points of the beginning of what turned out to be a 31-12 run by Miami that took the RedHawks to a 40-25 halftime lead.

What little doubt remained was erased by an 8-0 run to open the second half.

Miami outrebounded the Bobcats 43-33 and outshot them 46.9 to 33.9 percent.

The only down note for Miami: Starting forward John Estick was limited to nine minutes by a sprained knee.

MIAMI   (85)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Frierson        33  5-14   3-4   1-9  8  3   14
Estick           9   1-2   0-0   2-2  0  3    2
Szczerbiak      36 12-18   3-3   1-6  3  2   32
Taylor          28   3-8   2-2   1-3  2  0    9
Lethunya        34  6-10   5-5   4-8  2  3   17
Chapman          5   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Lackaff         14   1-2   0-0   0-4  2  3    3
Smith            4   0-2   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Allendorf       13   0-3   3-4   1-6  0  2    3
Ensminger       24   2-4   1-1   1-1  1  3    5
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 30-64 17-19 11-39 18 19   85
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.469, FT-.895. 3-Point Goals:
8-16, .500 (Frierson 1-4, Szczerbiak 5-7, Taylor
1-3, Lackaff 1-2). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked
shots: 1 (Szczerbiak). Turnovers: 12 (Frierson 5,
Taylor 3, Szczerbiak 2, Ensminger, Estick).
Steals: 8 (Lethunya 4, Frierson 2, Ensminger,
Taylor).

OHIO (53)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Adell           26  5-13   4-4   1-3  1  4   15
Fakhir          28   3-6   2-6   2-5  3  1    8
Martin          25   3-6   0-0   1-4  0  5    6
Ford            30   0-5   0-1   2-4  2  2    0
Feldman         25   1-4   0-1   0-1  4  4    2
Peterson        18  4-11   2-2   1-1  2  0   13
Flenorl         29   2-7   2-4   2-8  1  0    6
Maul             1   0-2   0-0   1-1  0  0    0
Terry           17   1-2   1-2   0-3  1  3    3
Connolly         1   0-0   0-0   0-1  0  0    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 19-56 11-20 10-31 14 19   53
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.339, FT-.550. 3-Point Goals:
4-20, .200 (Adell 1-5, Ford 0-5, Feldman 0-2,
Peterson 3-8). Team rebounds: 2. Blocked shots: 3
(Adell, Flenorl, Terry). Turnovers: 15 (Ford 4,
Flenorl 3, Adell 2, Fakhir 2, Martin 2, Feldman,
Peterson). Steals: 3 (Adell, Feldman, Ford).
__________________________________
Miami              40   45  -   85
Ohio               25   28  -   53
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 6,821. Officials:
Randy Drury, Norm Nelson, Tim Fogarty.

Miami game coverage

Akron 74, Miami 63 Feb. 12, 1998
Kent 58, Miami 52 Feb. 12, 1998
Miami 74, Northern Illinois 71 Feb. 8, 1998
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