Sunday, December 8, 2002

RedHawks top Broncos in MAC opener

Miami 44, Western Michigan 39

By Mark Schmetzer
Enquirer contributor

OXFORD - Miami coach Charlie Coles was almost as happy with matching his University of Cincinnati counterpart, Bob Huggins, in points Saturday afternoon as he was with the outcome of his RedHawks' game against Western Michigan at Millett Hall.

Coles was happier than Huggins about the respective results. While the Bearcats were losing 50-44 at home to Xavier in the Crosstown Shootout, MU was outlasting the Broncos in a 44-39 win. "We matched Huggins today," Coles pointed out with a wry smile. "Any time you can match Huggins, that's not too bad, because he's one of the best coaches in the country."

Miami (3-3, 1-0 Mid-American Conference), which plays Xavier on Monday night at XU's Cintas Center, extended its win streak over WMU to 11 in Oxford and improved to 3-0 at Millett Hall this season.

The Broncos (4-2, 0-1) saw their winning streak snapped at four.

For the second consecutive game, sophomore forward Danny Horace (Western Hills) led Miami in scoring. He scored more points from the free throw line (seven) than from the field for a team-high 13 points. Junior forward Juby Johnson added eight, all in the second half. The game was the second in a row in which Johnson went scoreless in the first half.

Broncos senior guard Robby Collum scored a game-high 14 points, 16 fewer than the 30 he scored in WMU's overtime win over Miami at Kalamazoo last season.

Miami helped itself by not committing a turnover in the last 7:25. "That was a hard win," Horace said. "It was a MAC game. You know the MAC. There's not a lot of scoring, and there's a whole lot of defense. We just tried to stay close and pull it out at the end."

Senior guard Matt Jameson helped Miami complete its comeback from a five-point deficit. He tied the score at 37-37 on a driving layup with 3:47 left in the game and gave Miami the lead for good on its next possession with a free throw after his left-handed layup was waved off.

Sophomore forward Tim Schenke followed with a 12-foot jumper to extend the lead to three points, and Miami sank four of six free throws in the final minute to clinch it.

Miami unveiled its new scoreboard - seen previously at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta - for the women's-men's doubleheader, and whereas the RedHawks women set a team record with 110 points in their win over Wright State, the two men's teams exerted little wear and tear on the electronics. They combined for 33 points in the first half, two fewer than the Miami Hurricanes football team scored in their first half against Virginia Tech.

The RedHawks used a stifling, physical defense to hold WMU to a season-low 34.9 percent from the field, including 6.3 percent (1-for-16) on 3-pointers. The Broncos hit their second 3-pointer of the game and missed their last 14. Miami was barely more successful, shooting just 37.8 percent, including 2-for-13 (a season-low 15.4 percent) on 3-pointers.

"I think you've got to have good defense for that, but I don't think they shot well either," Coles said. "I think both teams knew what was at stake, and I think it made everybody on both teams tight."

"That was a tough, hard-nosed, hard-fought battle, which is what we expected," WMU coach Robert McCullum said. "There was no surprise there.

"I didn't expect us to come out and shoot that poorly. I thought we played tentative. Miami didn't do anything we didn't expect. We knew we would have to earn our points, but I was disappointed that we weren't more aggressive - that we didn't attack more."

Team rebounds - 4.

Team rebounds - 7.

3-pointers - WMU 1-16 (Madison 0-3, Collum 1-8, Reed 0-1, Willis 0-2, Berry 0-2), MU 2-13 (Horace 0-3, Jameson 0-2, Mason 0-1, Johnson 1-4, Drake 0-1, Hausfeld 0-1, Schenke 1-1). Att: 3,004.

Technicals - None. Officials - Jerry Sauder, Tim Fogarty, Bret Wegenke

Next for Miami

At Xavier, 7 p.m. Monday, Cintas Center

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