Monday, December 30, 2002

Miami looks for breather


Evansville might be right tonic for 3-6 RedHawks

By John Fay
The Cincinnati Enquirer

OXFORD - Miami's pre-conference schedule, rated the nation's toughest by CollegeRPI.com, rarely offers a break.

Tonight's game with Evansville at Millett Hall might look like one, but RedHawks coach Charlie Coles doesn't see it that way.

"(Evansville's) pretty good," he said. "Their record is like ours. But they've got a nice win over Western Kentucky and a real nice win Illinois-Chicago, which went to the NCAA last year. They'll be tough to beat."

Saturday night's 66-54 loss to the University of Cincinnati was Miami's third straight, but all three had come against teams that were ranked in the Top 25 at one time this season.

Evansville (3-5) is 0-3 on the road under first-year coach Steve Merfeld.

The Purple Aces struggled last season as well, going 7-21 in the final season of Jim Crews' 17 years as head coach. Crews left to coach at Army.

But Evansville, which beat Miami 67-63 last season, presents some problems for the RedHawks. The Aces go 6-foot-6, 6-7 and 6-11 across the front line, while Miami starts only one player over 6-5.

"They're very good offensively," Coles said of Evansville. "They shoot 51 percent from the field."

Scoring has been a major problem for Miami, which averages only 53.7 points per game.

The RedHawks are searching for scoring options. Leading scorer Juby Johnson is the closest thing Miami has to a go-to guy, but Coles doesn't want Johnson or anyone else to think they have to take over.

"It has to come collectively," Coles said. "That's the kind of team we have. Juby could score more, but we need other guys to step up, too."

Josh Hausfeld, a 6-3 freshman from Roger Bacon, earned a start tonight by hitting 10 points against UC.

"I thought he did a good job," Coles said. "We need his offense (46.1 percent from 3-point range)."

Miami and Evansville have two common opponents. Both lost badly at home to Butler. Evansville lost at Dayton; Miami beat UD at home.

Tipoff: 8 p.m. today, or 30 minutes after the women's 6 p.m. game vs. Clemson; Millett Hall, Oxford.

Records: Miami 3-6, Evansville 3-5.

Radio: WCKY-AM (1360).

Series: Evansville leads 5-3.

Line: Miami by 7 1/2.

EVANSVILLE

PlayerYr.Ht.PPG
Clint Cuffle Jr.Jr.6-620.3
Ian HanananSr.6-716.0
Dan Lytle Jr.Jr.6-1113.0
Lucious WagnerSo.6-46.0
Andre BurtonSo.6-55.6
Coach: Steve Merfeld (3-5, first season; 93-62 overall)

MIAMI

PlayerYr.Ht.PPG
Chet MasonJr.6-310.0
Josh HausfeldFr.6-34.0
Juby JohnsonJr.6-512.2
Danny HoraceSo.6-510.0
Tim SchenkeSo.6-65.3
Coach: Charlie Coles (110-84, seventh season; 202-168 overall)



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