Miami at No. 22/23 Massachusetts
Saturday, January 4 - 7 p.m.
Mullins Center - Amherst, Mass.
Live Audio Stream: Miami All-Access (subscription) on www.MURedHawks.com
Radio: Miami IMG Sports Network (WMOH 1450 Hamilton; WFMG 101.3 Richmond; WONE 980 Dayton; WDBZ 1230 Cincinnati)
REDHAWKS WRAP UP NON-CONFERENCE ACTION AT MASSACHUSETTS: Miami hits the road for the first of two straight games when the RedHawks travel to No. 23/22 Massachusetts for a 7 p.m. game on Saturday, Jan. 4. Miami is coming off a thrilling 67-65 win against Southern Illinois on Sunday, stringing together a pair of wins for the first time this season. The RedHawks try for three straight wins for the first time since the 2010-11 season but face a UMass team that touts an 11-1 record and boasts a 5-0 mark on its home court. The Minutemen also are coming off a two-point win and an exciting finish, clipping Providence in overtime last Saturday, 69-67.
THE MOORE THE MERRIER: In his first game with the RedHawks, sophomore guard Willie Moore made a quick impact. Moore tied for the team lead in scoring against Southern Illinois, tallying 14 points, while adding a game-most five assists and notching two steals, two rebounds and one blocked shot in 26 minutes of action. He was a perfect 4-for-4 inside 3-point range and knocked down his lone trey of the night at the most critical time, sinking a triple with 1:09 to play to put the RedHawks within to help set the stage for the late win.
ABOUT THE MINUTEMEN: Massachusetts enters Saturday’s game ranked No. 22 in the coaches’ poll and No. 23 in the AP poll and owns an 11-1 record with its lone loss coming against Florida State in the Orange Bowl Basketball Classic. All five UMass starters average double figures in scoring, led by Chaz Williams’ 15.3 ppg. Cady Lalanne (14.0), Sampson Carter (12.8), Raphiael Putney (10.8) and Derrick Gordon (10.2) follow, respectively. Lalanne averages a double-double with a team-leading 10.1 rpg, which ranks 27th nationally, and ranks sixth nationally in double-doubles. Williams averages 7.7 apg to ranks second nationally. As a team, the Minutemen average 80.2 ppg, which ranks 43rd among national leaders, and haul in 41.5 rpg. They also rank 30th in assists, averaging 16.0 per game.
THE SERIES WITH MASSACHUSETTS: Saturday marks just the second meeting between Miami and Massachusetts with the Minutemen inching out a 70-69 win on Jan. 2 last year in Oxford. After a back-and-forth battle, Chaz Williams hit a jumper with 1:12 to go to lift the Minutemen to the one-point win.
UP NEXT: The RedHawks open Mid-American Conference play at Central Michigan on Wednesday, Jan. 8 at 7 p.m. Miami returns home to host Western Michigan at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 11 before hitting the road for two straight games at Akron (Jan. 15) and at Ball State (Jan. 18).
HONORING COLES: This season, the Miami University men’s basketball team will wear a special patch on both its home and road uniforms to honor the memory of long-time Miami head coach and 1965 alumnus Charlie Coles. The circular black patch has the initials CC in white. Coach Coles, who spent 16 years at the helm of the RedHawk program, is Miami’s all-time leader in wins and is the Mid-American Conference record holder for career conference wins. Coach Coles retired on March 5, 2012, following the RedHawks’ last game of the season. He passed away on June 7, 2013, at the age of 71.
MIAMI SPORTS NETWORK FROM IMG COLLEGE: In its seventh year of its partnership with IMG College, the Miami Sports Network from IMG College continues its coverage of Miami men’s basketball with a group of affiliates blanketing most of Southwest Ohio and Southeast Indiana. "The Voice of the RedHawks" Steve Baker delivers the play-by-play coverage, while Terry Bridge provides commentary. Tune in to one of Miami’s game-day affiliates: WMOH-AM 1450 (Hamilton, OH), WFMG-FM 101.3 (Richmond, IN), WDBZ-AM 1230 (Cincinnati, OH), WONE 980 (Dayton, OH), MURedHawks.com (All-Access Subscription).
DECEMBER TURN-AROUND: Miami went 4-2 in the month of December after an 0-4 start in November. Last season, Miami was 3-2 in November but posted just a 2-4 mark in December 2012.
A TALE OF TWO MONTHS: Between its four games in November and its six games in December, there has been a significant difference in Miami’s shooting percentages and its defensive field goal percentages. The RedHawks started out 2013-14 shooting .362 from the field and .212 from 3-point range, while allowing opponents to shoot .494 from the field and .490 from 3-point range, which included an average of 12.3 3-pointers per game. Over the last month, Miami has seen a significant upswing in its shooting percentage, hitting 48.0 percent of its shots from the field, including shooting .314 from 3-point range. Defensively, the RedHawks have tightened up their game, allowing opponents to shoot .461 from the field and .344 from 3-point range while allowing 7.0 3-pointers per game. Solid shooting percentages have been a trend in the RedHawks’ four wins. Miami is 4-0 when shooting better from the field than its opponents.
McKNIGHT DOING DOUBLE TIME: Sophomore guard Geovonie McKnight has scored in double figures in eight of the RedHawks’ 10 games this season and is averaging 10.3 ppg for Miami. Most recently, he scored 14 points against Southern Illinois on Dec. 29. McKnight scored a career-high 16 points against Wright State to lead all players on Dec. 15. Prior to that, he had recorded then-career highs of 13 points three times: at Notre Dame (Nov. 8), vs. IPFW (Dec. 3) and at Evansville (Dec. 7). He leads Miami in double-figure scoring games. McKnight made his way into the RedHawks’ starting lineup and has started Miami’s last eight games.
20/20 VISION: Junior guard Will Sullivan recorded his second 20-point scoring effort over a five-game stretch, pouring in 21 points to lead the RedHawks at Tennessee State on Dec. 21. Sullivan scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half. Sullivan shot a solid 66.7 percent from the field against the Tigers.
REDHAWKS COLLECT FIRST ROAD WIN: Behind a strong shooting effort, which included four players scoring in double figures, Miami earned its first road win of the season with a 79-64 triumph at Tennessee State on Dec. 21. Miami shot an impressive 56.5 percent, including a 57.1 percent shooting effort in the first half. Junior guard Will Sullivan led the RedHawks with 21 points, while senior forward Will Felder amassed 19 points, freshman guard Jaryd Eustace chipped in a career-high 13 points and freshman forward Joshua Oswald added career highs of 11 points and 11 rebounds.
DOUBLE VISION: Freshman forward Joshua Oswald became the second RedHawk this season to record a double-double, amassing career highs of 11 points and 11 rebounds at Tennessee State on Dec. 21. It was Oswald’s first career double-double. He was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field against the Tigers, including 1-for-1 from 3-point range. Earlier in the season, senior forward Will Felder notched his third career double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds against Wilmington on Nov. 23.
STEALING THE SHOW: As a team, Miami ranks third in the MAC in steals, averaging 7.6 steals per game. Two RedHawks rank among MAC statistical leaders in steals, led by sophomore guard Geovonie McKnight, who ranks second in the MAC and 46th nationally in steals per game (2.1). Senior guard Quinten Rollins ranks fifth (1.8 spg).
EUSTACE UPS PRODUCTION: Freshman guard Jaryd Eustace notched double-figure scoring efforts in each of the last two games for the first time this season. Eustace tallied 13 points at Tennessee State on Dec. 21 and followed that with a 10-point effort—all coming in the first half—against Southern Illinois. Eustace sunk a half-court 3-pointer as time expired in the opening half in the two-point win against the Salukis. He has shot 50.0 percent or better in each of the last two games.
WILL POWER: Miami had a lot of "Will" power in its 94-87 win over IPFW on Dec. 3. Senior forward Will Felder amassed a Miami career-high 26 points, 22 coming in the second half, while junior guard Will Sullivan poured in a career-high 23 points, including a second-half scoring flurry of 13 consecutive points that gave Miami its first lead of the game. Sullivan missed just one field goal against the Mastodons, going 8-for-9 from the field, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range.
ROLLINS TIES CAREER HIGHS: Senior guard Quinten Rollins tied career highs of 18 points and seven rebounds against Wilmington on Nov. 23. He tallied four assists and added five steals to his output against the Quakers. It was the seventh time in his career he amassed five or more steals.
ODDS ‘N ENDS: The RedHawks have recorded five-point halftime leads in three of their four wins ... in its three games decided by five points or less, Miami has notched a 2-1 record ... the RedHawks were 2-6 in close games last season ... Miami’s 94 points against IPFW was the first time the RedHawks have scored 90 points in regulation as well as the most points they have scored since a 94-66 win against Northwestern State on Dec. 6, 2008.
A MIAMI WIN WOULD ...
• Be Miami’s first win over a ranked opponent since defeating No. 11/10 Boston College on Dec. 20, 2001 at the Rainbow Classic.
• Be Miami’s third straight win.
• Be the RedHawks’ fifth win in seven games.
A MIAMI LOSS WOULD ...
• Make Massachusetts 6-0 at home.
• Be the Minutemen’s fourth win against a MAC school this year.
• Make UMass 2-0 in the all-time series.