Thursday, February 20, 2003

RedHawks hope to turn spurts into consistency

By Mark Schmetzer
Enquirer contributor

The Miami RedHawks are 2-3 on the road in Mid-American Conference games this season, including two straight losses. But coach Charlie Coles thinks his team is close to turning the corner.

The RedHawks (10-11, 8-4 MAC) will get a chance to prove his assessment accurate when they play at Akron (10-11, 5-7) at 8 p.m. today at James A. Rhodes Arena. Akron is 8-3 at home this season, including 4-2 in MAC games on its home floor.

Coles bases his confidence on Miami's performance in those recent losses, 70-60 at Kent State on Feb. 3 and 78-70 at Ball State on Feb. 9.

"If you look at our games, even at the last two (road) games we played, they were opposites," he said. "At Kent, we got the (19-point) lead by playing like crazy, but we let them come back and catch us and beat us. At Ball State, we were down by 18, and the next thing you know, we're tied. I'm happy. Any time a team can do that, it shows that it's capable.

"Are we capable? Yes. Are we consistent? Not right now. You've got to be able to play 40 minutes. One thing that we've done this year is we've shown that we have the ability to come back and play well."

But Coles knows the RedHawks still need some improvement.

"The bad thing is, once we get a lead, you can almost set your clocks by us," Coles said. "It's like `Here we go.' For some reason, our team is better when we just go three or four minutes at a time - when we don't watch the scoreboard and just play."

Akron has been a streaky team since starting conference play. The loss to Miami was part of a four-game losing streak the Zips stopped with a 101-100 overtime win at MAC West Division-leading Northern Illinois. That upset sparked a three-game winning streak, but Akron has lost its last two games, most recently 74-58 at Marshall Feb. 12.

The Zips haven't played since then. Their game against Ohio at Akron Monday was postponed because of inclement weather.

One area of consistency for Akron has been its offense. Led by 6-foot-4 junior guard Derrick Tarver, the No. 2 scorer in the MAC with a 22.3 average, the Zips lead the conference with an average of 80.3 points a game. That sets up a classic matchup with Miami's defense, which has limited opponents to a conference-best 60 points a game.

Griffey stung by Bowden's "flop" remark
Opening Day tickets go on sale Saturday
Reds Notebook: Rijo plans on winning job

Florence baseball team up in air
Ephedra under scrutiny after pitcher's death
Sanders, Pirates close to deal
Baseball Notebook: Bonds has surgery on elbow

NFL combine tests Lewis' Q&A skills
No option ruled out for draft
Area players display skills
NFL official: Minority hiring lags
No consensus on overtime changes
Saints coach returns to NCAA

UC still NCAA-bound, analysts say
UC at lowest point under Huggins

Xavier 93, LaSalle 71

RedHawks hope to turn spurts into consistency
Kentucky 66, Arkansas 50
Memphis 80, Louisville 73
Dayton 70, Richmond 63
Indiana 79, Iowa 63
Duke 75, Maryland 70
Mississippi St. 63, Auburn 46
NKU women trounce Brescia

NBA Games: Another 40 for Kobe

Sports on TV-Radio

Today's high school schedule
Indian Hill's Hunter going for four on the board
Boys Games: Bacon opens defense of state title
Girls Games: West picks up for injured star
Ky. Boys: Ryle, Doellman knock off Dixie
Ky. Girls: Dixie knocks off Ryle
LeBron to have number retired
West, Ross bring home sectional championships
Sectional wrestling results
Wrestling honor roll
Ohio wrestling polls
Ky. swim meet delayed a week
Camels find strength in numbers at state