Miami at Central Michigan
Wednesday, January 8 - 7 p.m.
McGuirk Arena - Mount Pleasant, Mich.
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 OPEN MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE ACTION AT CENTRAL MICHIGAN: Miami, playing four of its first five games of 2014 on the road, continues a two-game road swing when the RedHawks travel to Central Michigan for a 7 p.m. game on Wednesday, Jan. 8 in the MAC opener for both teams. The RedHawks are coming off a strong performance at No. 19 Massachusetts on Saturday, being edged by the Minutemen by eight points. They seek their second road win of the season but face a CMU team that has won five of seven at home. After a lengthy layoff over the holidays, the Chippewas showed no sign of rust, producing a dominant 127-44 win over Marygrove College last Friday.
MAC OPENERS: Miami opens its 67th season in the Mid-American Conference when the RedHawks travel to Central Michigan Wednesday. Miami is 47-19 all-time in MAC openers and is 21-13 when starting MAC play on the road. The RedHawks lost their last two MAC openers, including a 72-61 loss to Northern Illinois in Oxford last season. The RedHawks’ last MAC-opening win was at Ohio to tip off the 2010-11 MAC season, a triple-overtime thriller, 92-88. This is the fourth time Central Michigan is Miami’s MAC opener and the third time the RedHawks play in Mount Pleasant in a MAC opener. The RedHawks are 2-1 against the Chippewas when opening MAC play.
ABOUT THE CHIPPEWAS: Central Michigan enters Mid-American Conference play with a 7-5 record and is coming off a dominant 127-44 win over Marygrove College on Jan. 3 after a pair of losses at Dayton on Dec. 14 (84-58) and at Jacksonville State on Dec. 17 (82-73). Chris Fowler leads the Chippewas in scoring, averaging 16.5 ppg and shoots 59.5 percent from the floor, which ranks 18th nationally. Fowler also hands out 5.2 assists per game. John Simons is the other Chippewa to average double figures in scoring at 12.0 ppg. He also averages a team-leading 6.3 rpg. As a team, CMU averages 77.8 ppg and owns a +8.9 scoring margin against its opponents. The Chippewas also have a 1.3 assist/turnover ratio and are knocking down 76.9 percent of their free throws, which ranks seventh among national leaders.
THE SERIES WITH CENTRAL MICHIGAN: Wednesday marks the 67th meeting between Miami and Central Michigan with the RedHawks holding a 49-17 lead in the all-time series. Miami is 23-10 when playing in Mount Pleasant. The RedHawks have won their last four meetings against the Chippewas, including a 70-61 win in McGuirk Arena last year. CMU’s last win in the series also was its last win against the RedHawks in Mount Pleasant, 57-55, on Feb. 10, 2009. Miami has won 17 of its last 18 and 28 of its last 30 meetings with CMU.
UP NEXT: 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).
‘TIS THE SEASON: Senior guard Quinten Rollins and sophomore guard Geovonie McKnight displayed good bit of holiday spirit in Miami’s Jan. 4 game at Massachusetts. The duo embraced the adage that it is better to give than to receive, dishing out a combined 16 of the RedHawks’ 21 assists. Rollins handed out nine assists, one off his career high, while McKnight delivered a career-best seven assists.
SPEAKING OF ASSISTS: The RedHawks’ 21 assists against Massachusetts tied for the most in a game by a Miami team since tallying 21 against Grambling State on Nov. 13, 2012. It was the most since the Red and White amassed 23 assists against Northwestern State on Dec. 6, 2008.
McKNIGHT PROVIDING CONSISTENCY: Sophomore guard Geovonie McKnight has been a consistent scoring threat for Miami this season, scoring in double figures in nine of the RedHawks’ 11 games and averaging 10.7 ppg. He leads Miami in double-figure scoring games. McKnight has scored 13 or more points in six games this season and is coming off a 15-point performance at Massachusetts on Jan. 4 where went 7-for-10 from the floor, sinking a career-best seven field goals. McKnight made his way into the RedHawks’ starting lineup at Xavier and has started Miami’s last nine games.
20/20 VISION: Two RedHawks have scored 20 or more points twice this season. Senior forward Will Felder led all scorers at Massachusetts on Jan. 4 with 22 points and poured in a career-high 26 points against IPFW on Dec. 3. He has scored 20 or more points four times in his career. 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 and shot a solid 66.7 percent from the field against the Tigers. He scored a career-high 23 points against IPFW on Dec. 3.
CAREER HIGHS FALL AT MASSACHUSETTS: Several RedHawks set or tied career highs at Massachusetts on Jan. 4. Senior forward Will Felder shot a career best 83.3 percent from the field, knocking down 10-of-12 field goals. His 10 field goals tied a career high. Freshman forward Joshua Oswald chipped in a career-best 12 points, his second double-figure scoring effort in three games. Sophomore guard Geovonie McKnight tallied a career-high seven assists and drilled a career-best seven field goals, while sophomore guard Willie Moore chipped in a career-high seven rebounds. Sophomore center John Hawkins scored a career-best four points.
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 was 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. In December, Miami saw 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 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.
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 on Dec. 29, 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.
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.
EUSTACE UPS PRODUCTION: Freshman guard Jaryd Eustace notched double-figure scoring efforts in Miami’s last two games of 2013. 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 shot 50.0 percent or better in each of those games.
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 the RedHawks’ fifth straight win in the series with Central Michigan.
• Make Miami 48-19 in MAC openers.
• Be the RedHawks’ fifth win in eight games.
A MIAMI LOSS WOULD ...
• Be the RedHawks’ third straight MAC-opening loss.
• Make CMU 6-2 at home this season.
• Make the Chippewas 11-23 against the RedHawks in Mount Pleasant.