Sunday, January 07, 2001

Miami Notebook

Johnson plays like pro

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        OXFORD — After Julius Johnson finished talking to the media Saturday, it was Miami coach Charlie Coles' turn.

        “Did Julius declare for the NBA?” Coles said.

        He didn't, of course, but he played like he might have a future there in Miami's 71-54 thumping of Marshall.

        Johnson, the 6-foot-5 freshman, equaled career highs for points (12) and rebounds (five) and set career bests for assists (four) and steals (three).

        His numbers were better than Marshall star Tamar Slay's. Slay had 15 points (4.7 below his average), three rebounds and an assist. Six of those points (on a pair of 3s) came with Johnson on the bench.

        Johnson held Slay to five points and forced him into three turnovers in the first half when Miami essentially won the game.

        “It was a big challenge,” Johnson said. “He's a great player. I've been looking forward to this all year.”

        Ever face anyone like him in high school?

        “Oh, no,” Johnson said.

        Slay, a 6-9 junior, led the Mid-American Conference in scoring last season. He is expected to be a high NBA pick.

        “I just tried to keep pressure on him,” Johnson said.

        What Johnson didn't do was give Slay any lip. Johnson played great defense against Dayton's Tony Stanley and kept telling Stanley about it. Stanley ended up beating Miami with three late 3s.

        “Coach Coles taught me a lesson: Shut up,” Johnson said.

        OWNING THE HERD: Since Marshall rejoined the MAC, Miami has won seven of eight games against the Thundering Herd.

        BIG RICH: Rich Allendorf had a career-high 10 rebounds to go with five points. He also held J.R. VanHoose to four points in the first half.

        Allendorf's night started with a miss of an open shot from 2 feet.

        “Rich did a wonderful job,” Coles said. “I'm glad he didn't hide after his opening. I thought I was going to have to take him out.”

        BIG ED: Brian Edwards, a forgotten man on the Miami roster, played only eight minutes, but his contribution in the first half was big.

        Edwards, a 6-8 junior, scored a basket and grabbed three rebounds during Miami's decisive 21-4 run at the end of the half.

        UP NEXT: Miami is home again Wednesday. The RedHawks takes on 7-3 Central Michigan in a 7 p.m. game at Millett.

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