Saturday, January 18, 2003

Johnson brothers set for Round 3

Ohio, Miami split last year

By Mark Schmetzer
Enquirer contributor

William Johnson isn't exactly in an enviable position this weekend. He'll watch his sons Sonny and Juby go head to head today in Athens when Ohio University plays Miami at the Convocation Center at 2 p.m.

Sonny's a 6-foot-5 senior forward at Ohio; Juby's a 6-5 junior guard at Miami.

"Dad wants us both to do well individually, but he wants the best team to win," Juby said.

Does William suggest which team might be better?

"He'd better not," Juby replied with a chuckle.

Except for countless backyard one-on-one games, the Johnson brothers never played against each other until last year.

In fact, it was more likely they'd end up being teammates. Sonny had planned to transfer to Miami from Cleveland State after the 1999-2000 season.

Sonny said he ultimately picked Ohio because he'd get more playing time.

"Miami had a lot of players in the same position, and their coaches were saying there was no guarantee that we would start together," Sonny said. "If they would have guaranteed that we would start together, that might have made a big difference."

Sonny sat out the 2000-01 season as a transfer, then became the sixth man last season under new Ohio coach Tim O'Shea. He was the nation's highest-scoring bench player, averaging 15.8 points a game.

He averaged 13 points against Miami, as the two teams split their games last season. Juby averaged 8.5 in those games.

"Last year, he was talking a lot," said Juby, who played with Sonny for two years on the Garfield Heights High School team, coached by their father. "In that first game, it felt real funny out there. We had never played against each other. Growing up, when we played five-on-five, we were always on the same team. We were together everywhere we went."

Miami and Ohio have played each other more than any other team in their respective histories. The Bobcats own an 85-79 advantage in the rivalry, but both teams are struggling going into today's game.

The Bobcats (4-8, 1-3 Mid-American Conference) have lost three of their last four games. The RedHawks (4-9, 2-2 MAC ) have won once in their last seven games.

But clearly, the records won't affect the Johnsons' intensity today.

"I've got a different approach this year," said Juby, Miami's leading scorer. "Last year, I got caught up in it. This year, I laid low."

"I'm not going to take him lightly," Sonny said. "He's my little brother, and I've got to show him what time it is."

Miami at Ohio

Tipoff: 2 p.m. today, Convocation Center (13,000), Athens.

Records: Miami 4-9 (2-2 Mid-American Conference), Ohio 4-8 (1-3).

Radio: WCKY-AM (1360), WMOH-AM (1450), WFMG-FM (101.3).

TV: Ch. 64.

Series: Ohio leads 85-79.

Line: OU by 4.


Juby JohnsonJr.6-513.7
Danny HoraceSo.6-510.0
Chet MasonJr.6-39.8
Josh HausfeldFr.6-34.7
Tim SchenkeSo.6-64.7
Coach: Charlie Coles (111-87, seventh season; 203-173 overall).


Brandon HunterSr.6-719.2
Steve EsterkampSr.6-612.2
Jaivon HarrisJr.6-57.2
Jeff HalbertFr.6-55.2
Thom. StephensSr.6-03.8
Coach: Tim O'Shea (21-19, second season; same overall).

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