Thursday, December 09, 1999

Miami 67, Xavier 59


RedHawks execute; Musketeers miss

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[turner]
Xavier's Aaron Turner puts up a shot between Miami's Bryan Reed and Refiloe Lethunya.
(Saed Hindash photos)

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        OXFORD — It was part of Xavier's game plan: Get offensive rebounds and score. The Musketeers collected 27 offensive boards but rarely converted them into points.

        The result: an all-too-familiar Miami victory in Oxford.

        This time it was 67-58. That makes 15 wins in a row at Millett Hall for the RedHawks and 16 straight at home against non-conference teams.

        The crowd wasn't much help. Just 5,014 attended.

        But the RedHawks, who trailed by 10 points in the first half, did almost everything they had to do. They played good defense. They didn't turn over the ball much. They made big shots at the end.

        “They played a helluva game,” XU sophomore Kevin Frey said. “They executed. When the game was on the line, they made the stops and they made the plays.”

[mestas]
Miami's Rob Mestas loses control surrounded by Muskies.
(Saed Hindash photos)

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        Miami improves to 2-3; Xavier drops to 4-2 and has not won in Millett since 1993.

        The Musketeers finished with a 47-23 rebounding advantage. But they had no fast-break points. They shot just 34.5 percent from the field and 52.6 percent from the foul line.

        Perhaps the most telling stats: XU had 24 turnovers and just six assists.

        “I hope it's a confidence builder,” Miami coach Charlie Coles said. “At the beginning of the ballgame, I thought, "Oh no! Let me get my speech ready for after this.' But we hung in there. I didn't know we were going to win, but I knew it'd be a tough game. And it was.”

        Xavier was ahead 50-49 with 5:13 to play, then went more than 31/2 minutes without scoring. Miami took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Refiloe Lethunya at the 4:40 mark. That sparked a 13-2 run that won it for the RedHawks.

        “We just didn't finish the game,” XU senior Darnell Williams said.

        In one key series, Xavier, trailing by four, had the ball. Williams missed a shot, and Aaron Turner rebounded, missed the putback, rebounded again and was fouled. He then missed both free throws. Lloyd Price rebounded for Xavier, then was called for a charge.

        On the inbounds play against XU's full-court press, Price was whistled for an intentional foul. That gave Miami's Anthony Taylor two free throws, which he made. A six-point deficit was as close as the Musketeers would get.

        Xavier missed shots inside all night.

        “They were beating us up, and the refs let them do it,” Turner said. “But we didn't finish either. No matter what, we should've finished.”

        “I don't recall too many terrible shots,” XU point guard Maurice McAfee said. “We had enough open looks to win the game; they just didn't go down. We didn't execute as well as we needed to. We've just got to learn from that.”

        Taylor scored a game-high 22 points — 16 in the second half — for the RedHawks.

        Williams led Xavier with 18 points.

        Miami turned over the ball three times in the first four minutes, then had just nine the rest of the game. Guards Taylor and Rob Mestas combined for just three turnovers, and Mestas had seven assists — more than the Musketeers.

        “A lot is made of the press,” Grunkemeyer said. “It gives some teams trouble, but those two guys (Taylor and Mestas) are great ballhandlers. Once we got ourselves situated, we were able to handle it pretty well.”

        Miami pulled away at the start of the second half to build a 10-point lead, only to watch Xavier rally to tie it.

        A strange first half ended tied at 27 when Taylor hit a running bank shot from the left side with 1:27 on the clock.

        It was an odd 20 minutes because both teams shot better from behind the 3-point line than inside it. Ten of the first 13 baskets were 3-pointers, including 10 of 11.

        Xavier hit 6 of 11 from long range, and 3 of 17 in front of the 3-point line. Miami was 5-of-10 on 3s, 5-of-13 on everything else.

        When no one else from Miami could score, Grunkemeyer kept the RedHawks in it with 11 first-half points, including three 3-pointers. Miami started the game 0-of-5 from the field, then hit 10 of their next 18 shots.

        “Give the credit to Miami,” Xavier coach Skip Prosser said. “It came down to the last four minutes. They made the plays and we failed to make the plays.

        “So many times we had the ball right under the basket and couldn't finish the play.”

3 locals spark RedHawks
Xavier-Miami Notebook


XAVIER (58)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Price           35  6-12   3-5   5-8  2  5   15
Turner          32   1-5   0-2  7-11  0  3    2
West            21   2-4   0-1   5-7  0  0    4
Mcafee          39  5-12   1-3   0-2  1  5   13
Williams        36  4-16   6-8   1-3  0  4   18
Frey            27   1-4   0-0   3-5  1  2    3
Brown           10   1-5   0-0   2-3  2  1    3
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 20-58 10-19 23-39  6 20   58
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.345, FT-.526. 3-Point Goals: 8-21, .381 (Price 0-2, Mcafee 2-5, Williams 4-11, Frey 1-1, Brown 1-2). Team rebounds: 8. Blocked shots: 2 (Price, West). Turnovers: 24 (Price 7, Turner 7, Williams 5, Frey 2, Mcafee 2, West). Steals: 8 (Price 4, Mcafee 2, West 2).

MIAMI OHIO (67) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Stewart 12 3-5 0-0 0-1 0 3 8 Reed 5 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 0 Lethunya 40 4-8 2-2 2-6 1 2 11 Mestas 39 3-6 1-4 0-2 7 3 8 Taylor 33 5-11 12-16 1-3 0 1 22 Grunkemeyer 35 5-9 2-2 0-2 2 3 16 Edwards 13 0-1 0-0 1-1 0 3 0 Allendorf 12 1-1 0-0 1-4 0 2 2 Ensminger 11 0-0 0-0 0-2 1 3 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 21-42 17-24 5-21 11 21 67 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.500, FT-.708. 3-Point Goals: 8-15, .533 (Stewart 2-3, Lethunya 1-2, Mestas 1-3, Taylor 0-1, Grunkemeyer 4-6). Team rebounds: 2. Blocked shots: 6 (Edwards 4, Lethunya, Allendorf). Turnovers: 12 (Stewart 3, Ensminger 2, Lethunya 2, Mestas 2, Allendorf, Grunkemeyer, Taylor). Steals: 9 (Grunkemeyer 3, Mestas 2, Edwards, Ensminger, Stewart, Taylor). __________________________________ Xavier 27 31 - 58 Miami Ohio 27 40 - 67 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 5,014. Officials: Steve Roberson, Mike Herron, John Larocca.



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