Sunday, January 28, 2001

Miami 57, Ball State 56


Shorts misses start, comes up big in end

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        OXFORD — Alex Shorts wasn't there for Miami at the beginning Saturday. But, oh, was he there at the end.

        Shorts' 18-foot shot with a defender in his face and 4.6 seconds left lifted Miami over Ball State 57-56 before a crowd of 3,751 at Millett Hall.

        Shorts is Miami's leading scorer, but he did not start Saturday after being thrown out of practice Friday. He sat the first 10 minutes and only played 21 minutes total.

        But he simply carried Miami at the end. He scored Miami's last 10 points, going 5-for-6 from the field.

        He gave Miami its first lead (55-54) since early in the second half with 35 seconds to go.

        BSU's Rawle Marshall answered with a runner with 22.6 left.

        BSU called a timeout to set its defense. Miami called a timeout six seconds later to set its offense.

        It came down as both teams thought it would.

        “That's exactly what we thought they'd do,” Ball State coach Tim Buckley said.

        “It was pretty much what we had set up,” Jason Grun kemyer said.

        Shorts took the ball on the right wing, dribbled twice and let fly with a a jumper just inside the 3-point arch. Theron Smith, who Ball State put on Shorts after the timeout, was right on him. But the ball swished through the net, as the clock hit :04.6.

        BSU's Billy Lynch got the ball up court, but his long 3-pointer was tipped by Grunkemeyer.

        Shorts finished with 19 points. Grunkemeyer had 18 points, five assists and two steals. Juby Johnson added 10 points, five rebounds and one big steal.

        Miami improves to 9-11 overall and 5-4 in the Mid-American Conference. Ball State (9-8, 5-4) lost for the ninth straight time at Millett. The teams are used to close games. In three meetings last season, they played a triple-overtime game, a single OT and 3-point game in the MAC Tournament finals.

        Miami had to have this win after its 56-46 loss to Akron on Wednesday.

        “We did need it,” Grunkemeyer said. “We were all disappointed in the Akron game. We thought if we played well we would win. We didn't. So we had a sense of urgency.”

        Grunkemeyer and Shorts were the difference. They combined for 37 points on 14-for-24 shooting after combining for 14 points on 3-for-21 shooting against Akron.

        Shorts, a 6-foot-8 junior, had a simple explanation for his ejection from Friday's practice.

        “I just wasn't into it,” Shorts said. “I wasn't working hard.”

        Coles was asked if that was the reason.

        “Yes,” Coles said. “Not working hard will get you thrown out. That's a major offense. That's all you have to do in practice.”

        So does Coles think Shorts has learned his lesson?

        “I doubt it,” he said. “We'll spar some more. But, all in all, I'm happy with him. I'm just trying to make him a little better.”

        Miami was in danger of dropping it second straight home MAC game. Ball State led 49-42 with 7:51 remaining. After Miami rallied to tie the score, BSU pushed the lead back to five at 54-49.

        Then came the key sequence of the game.

        Shorts hit a short jumper. On the other end, Johnson stripped the ball from Theron Smith as he drove.

        “That was a big play,” Coles said.

        Miami's defensive energy changed with the play. The RedHawks stopped BSU on back-to-back plays, and Shorts hit a pair of jumpers over 6-foot-11 Lonnie Smith. That gave MU the 55-54 lead and set up the finish.

        Grunkemeyer was the one who got the ball to Shorts.

        “I caught the ball and saw Alex was on the wing by himself,” Grunkemeyer said. “... I said, "Go ahead and take it, man. We got out of there with one.”

RedHawks point to Grunkemeyer


BALL ST (56)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Smith           32  6-10   0-0   1-8  1  2   14
Murray          28   2-4   3-4   1-5  0  2    7
Jones           33   2-6   2-2   1-5  0  3    6
Jackson         22   1-4   0-0   0-0  3  1    3
Lynch           28   0-2   0-0   0-2  3  0    0
Robbins         18   2-3   0-0   0-1  0  0    5
Marshall        24   5-6   5-5   0-1  3  1   15
Owens           15   3-7   0-0   1-2  0  2    6
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 21-42 10-11  4-24 10 11   56
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.500, FT-.909. 3-Point Goals:
4-12, .333 (Smith 2-4, Jackson 1-3, Lynch 0-1,
Robbins 1-2, Owens 0-2). Team rebounds: 1.
Blocked shots: 4 (Jones 4). Turnovers: 10 (Smith
4, Jackson 2, Jones, Marshall, Murray, Robbins).
Steals: 4 (Marshall 2, Lynch, Robbins).


MIAMI (57)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Johnson         37  4-11   2-3   4-5  2  3   10
Ensminger       34   1-5   0-0   0-3  2  0    2
Allendorf       22   3-7   0-0   5-7  1  1    6
Jameson         28   0-2   0-0   0-0  2  0    0
Grunkemeyer     40  5-10   5-5   0-2  5  1   18
Drake           14   1-2   0-0   0-0  3  2    2
Seals            3   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Reed             1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
Shorts          21  9-14   1-2   0-4  0  1   19
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 23-51  8-10  9-21 15  9   57
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.451, FT-.800. 3-Point Goals:
3-9, .333 (Johnson 0-3, Grunkemeyer 3-6). Team
rebounds: 6. Blocked shots: 1 (Grunkemeyer).
Turnovers: 8 (Jameson 3, Grunkemeyer 2, Shorts 2,
Ensminger). Steals: 5 (Grunkemeyer 2, Shorts 2,
Johnson).
__________________________________
Ball St            28   28  -   56
Miami              25   32  -   57
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 3,751. Officials: Mike
Sanzere, Mike Roberts, Rodney Chamberlain.


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