Saturday, January 16, 1999

Miami knows Akron's pain


RedHawks play host to ailing Zips

BY JOHN FAY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Today's Miami-Akron basketball game was supposed to be the showdown for supremacy in the Mid-American Conference East.

        Now, it looks like a mismatch because Akron is learning the lesson Miami did last year: If you're not a deep team, an injury or two can be devastating.

        Akron, picked to finish second to Miami in the MAC East, comes to Oxford on a three-game losing streak. Miami (12-2, 6-0 in the MAC) enters today's 3 p.m. game having won four straight games.

        Akron (9-5, 3-3) opened the season 9-2 and had just handed Toledo its first loss when things started to go bad. Injuries are a big part of that.

        The Zips lost their best inside player, George Phillips, to a season-ending knee injury after four games. Ryan Andrick, their second-best inside player, has missed the past four games with an ankle injury.

        Andrick will not play today.

        “They're in a situation like we were in last year,” Miami coach Charlie Coles said. “They're missing two starters ... but they still have their two best players.”

        Miami played a lot of last year without its best player, Wally Szczerbiak, and almost all of it without point guard Rob Mestas. Szczerbiak missed eight games, including a 64-51 loss to Akron at Millett.

        The Zips' best two players are guards Jami Bosley and Jimmal Ball.

        Bosley, a 6-foot, 220-pound power guard, is averaging 20.9 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists and is hitting 43.3 percent from three-point range. He is a transfer from Ohio State and was preseason all-MAC.

        “He's a tough customer,” Coles said. “He's pretty doggone good. He's a wise player.”

        Ball, a 5-10 point guard, averages 13.7 points and 4.1 assists. His game is quickness penetration.

        Miami matches up well with Bosley and Ball.

        Akron swept Miami last year, but Damon Frierson outplayed Bosley. In the two games, Frierson totaled 51 points and shot 51.9 percent from the floor. Bosley totaled 24 points and shot 27.7 percent.

        Ball had 33 points in the two games against Miami, but Mestas didn't play in either game. Mestas is one of the few players in the MAC who can match Ball's quickness.

        “We match up pretty good,” Coles said. “But I'm more worried about what my team is doing. You can't get too caught up in worrying about what they do. We've got to play our game.”

        Miami hasn't played a game of any kind for eight days. The RedHawks' game with Toledo Wednesday was pushed back until Feb. 1 because of an ice storm.

        “This is the time of year you want to play twice a week,” Coles said. “But we can't do anything about what happened (Wednesday). We can't use that as an excuse. We've got to play hard and hustle.”

        Miami's Anthony Taylor, who missed the past five games with sore arches in both feet, is available to play tonight. He has practiced the past five days. headAKRON at MIAMI

        • When: 3 p.m. today

         Where: Millett Hall (9,200), Oxford, Ohio

        • Records: MU 11-3 (6-0 in MAC), Akron 9-5 (3-3)

        • TV: None

        • Radio: WCKY-AM (1360), WMOH-AM (1450), WFMG-FM (101.3)

        BY THE NUMBERS

        • 10-0: Akron's record against MAC East opponents last year

        • 8: Numbers of days since Miami last played a game

        • 57.4: Percentage Damon Frierson is shooting from the field in his past four games

       



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