Monday, February 16, 2004

Miami lives, dies by the shot



By Mark Schmetzer
Enquirer contributor

Miami's shooting can break hearts. Last Saturday, Toledo's defense had the RedHawks staring at the final second of the 35-second shot clock, only to see sophomore William Hatcher hit a 3-pointer that gave Miami a 59-57 lead with 1:14 left. Miami went on to win the Mid-American Conference battle.

"There's not much you can do about that, but it does knock the air out of the balloon when something like that happens," said Toledo coach Stan Joplin, who'd watched Danny Horace hit a 3-pointer to beat the shot clock earlier in the game.

But the RedHawks aren't always so fortunate, as evidenced by Wednesday's 26.9 percent shooting effort - 12.5 percent on 3-pointers - in a 48-44 loss to Akron.

They will almost certainly have to improve on that effort tonight at 8 p.m., when they visit Ball State.

Miami (12-8, 8-4) is well into its second season of using the Princeton-style offense, a patient approach that leads to long possessions.

Horace's 3-pointer against Toledo is an example. Sophomore guard Josh Hausfeld had the ball on the left wing with the clock ticking down. He coolly dribbled to the free throw line and jumped, but instead of shooting with 2 seconds left, he passed to Horace in the corner for the 3-pointer.

Those are the kinds of plays that can turn a defense's high fives into hand-wringing.

"We try not to let it go that far, but sometimes, you can't help it," said Juby Johnson, Miami's leading scorer. "Me, Chet (Mason), Gene (Seals) and Danny have the experience. We don't panic."

"Those were shots that players make," Miami coach Charlie Coles said.

Miami didn't make those shots Wednesday at Akron, which also limited Miami to 2-of-16 3-point shooting in the first game between the two teams, a 68-60 win at Miami on Jan. 10. The RedHawks have been at or near the bottom of the MAC in team field-goal percentage all season, and their effort against the Zips left them at a conference-worst 39.9 percent.

Ball State (10-11, 7-6) isn't much better at 41.6 percent after a 67-62 win at Northern Illinois on Saturday. It was only the Cardinals' second win in their last seven games, after a five-game winning streak that included Miami's only conference home loss this season.

---

Another tough stretch

Tonight's game opens a run of three games in six days for the RedHawks, who return home to face Ohio on Wednesday and Southwest Missouri State Saturday as part of ESPN's Bracket Buster event.

This is the second three-games-in-six-days stretch for Miami in February. After an overtime loss at Ohio on Feb. 2, the RedHawks rebounded with home wins over Bowling Green on Feb. 4 and Toledo on Feb. 7.

Miami at Ball State

Tipoff: 8 p.m. today, John W. Worthen Arena (11,500), Muncie, Ind.

Records: Miami 12-8 (8-4 Mid-American Conference), Ball State 10-11 (7-6).

TV: Ch. 25

Radio: WCKY-AM (1360), WMOH-AM (1450).

Line: Ball State by 1 1/2.

Series: Miami leads 48-35.

MIAMI

PlayerYr.Ht.PPG
Chet MasonJr.6-410.4
Josh HausfeldSo.6-37.3
Juby JohnsonSr.6-515.2
Monty St. ClairFr.6-93.3
Danny HoraceJr.6-69.4
OR
Gene SealsSr.6-65.6
Coach: Charlie Coles (132-101, eighth season; 224-185 overall).

BALL STATE

PlayerYr.Ht.PPG
Robert OwensSr.6-712.0
Dennis TrammellJr.6-312.4
Cameron EcholsSr.6-810.4
Peyton StovallFr.6-16.9
Matt McCollomJr.6-210.1
Coach: Tim Buckley (64-52, fourth season; 114-104, eighth overall).




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