Saturday, December 09, 2000

Miami braces for Irish All-American

Ensminger gets to guard America's top college player

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Ask Charlie Coles how Mike Ensminger matches up with Troy Murphy, and Coles has a question for you: “How do I match up with Jordan?”

        We get the point. But Coles will not have to guard Michael Jordan anytime soon. Ensminger, however, will be checking Murphy when Miami University plays Notre Dame today (12:08 p.m., Channel 12) in South Bend, Ind.

  • When: 12:08p.m. today.
  • Where: Joyce Center (11,418), South Bend, Ind.
  • Records: MU 3-4, ND 4-1
  • TV: Channel 12.
  • Radio: WCKY-AM (1360), WMOH-AM (1450).

  Matt Jameson-6-1-So.-3.3
  J. Grunkemeyer-6-5-Sr.-11.7
  Alex Shorts -6-8-Sr.-12.4
  Julius Johnson-6-5-Fr.-3.9
  Mike Ensminger-6-6-Sr.-3.9
  Coach: Charlie Coles (80-48, fifth season; 172-132 overall)

  Matt Carroll-6-6-So.-12.4
  Martin Ingelsby-6-0-Sr.-8.6
  Ryan Humphrey-6-8-Sr.-17.2
  Troy Murphy-6-11-Jr.-24.4
  David Graves-6-6-Jr.-15.2
  Coach: Mike Brey (4-1, first season; 103-53 overall)
  BY THE NUMBERS • 13.5: Average number of points by which Miami has beaten Notre Dame in the last two seasons.
  • 8.3: Number of turnovers a game Miami is averaging in its last three games.
  • 26.7: Percentage Miami is shooting from 3-point range. The RedHawks made 37.1 last year
        Murphy, a 6-foot-11, 245-pound junior, is one of the leading candidates for player of the year.

        He'll get Coles' vote.

        “He's the best player in the country,” Coles said. “Tell me who's better.”

        Murphy will sit out the first four minutes or so of today's game as discipline for an Oct.13 under-age drinking incident. Miami received a more costly blow when point guard Doug Davis sprained his left foot during practice Friday. Davis won't play today and is expected to miss a week to 10 days. Miami is off 10 days after today. The RedHawks play Wright State on Dec.19.

        Murphy's size and ability to score from the perimeter make him a tough assignment for anyone. Ensminger gives up 5 inches. He can match Murphy's strength, but he is not used to guarding players who play on the perimeter as well as Murphy does.

        Coles will stick to the man-to-man defense the RedHawks always use.

        “If you do something else, you lose rebounding responsibility and all that,” Coles said. “You'll see a lot of double teams, but we'll stay with our man-to-man.”

        Murphy was the only player last season who ranked in the top 10 in both scoring and rebounding (22.7 points and 10.3 rebounds). He was the first player in the Big East to lead the league in both scoring and rebounding.

        Murphy scored 19 points on Miami as a freshman and had 18 last year. “(But) we did a good job on him,” Coles said.

        The reason Coles said that is Miami won both games.

        “The problem is he's got Ryan Humphrey with him now,” Coles said. “God, what a specimen.”

        Humphrey, a 6-8 junior, is a transfer from Oklahoma. Murphy leads ND in scoring (24.4) and rebounding (8.6). Humphrey is second at 17.2 points and 8.4 rebounds a game.

        “They're as good a tandem as you'll see,” Coles said.

        Miami will concentrate on slowing them down.

        “(Notre Dame) will probably set a record for 3s,” Coles said. “They do a good job of kicking it out, and their guards all can hit 3s.”

        Matt Carroll is hitting 56 percent from 3-point range, Martin Ingelsby 54.2 percent and David Graves 46.5 percent.

        Coles would love to see percentages near that from his players. He's pleased with every aspect of his team's play, except shooting.

        “We have to play our game — and make shots,” he said. Miami is shooting 27.6 percent from 3-point range. But throw out the Temple game, in which the RedHawks hit 11 of 22 3s, and Miami is hitting 19.1 percent.

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