RedHawks Open Season at Towson on Friday

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Nov. 12, 2009

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OPENING TIP: Friday marks the 36th time Miami has opened the season on the road. The RedHawks own a 70-34 record in season openers and are 15-20 in season openers on the road. Miami has won its last two season openers, defeating Weber State, 70-66, in a neutral-site game at the 2K Sports Classic Benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer at UCLA and downing Xavier at home in the 2007-08 season opener, 59-57. The last time the season Miami opened the season on the road was during the 2005-06 season at Alabama in the NIT Season Tip-off, falling 64-58. Miami's last win in a season opener that was on the road was in 2003-04 at Liberty, 71-55.

TURNING 105: Miami's game at Towson on Friday, Nov. 13, marks the start of the 105th season of Miami University Basketball.

ABOUT THE TIGERS: Towson is coming off of a season that ended with the Tigers at 12-22 and with a trip to the CAA finals for the first time in program history. Towson returns eight players, six with at least 17 starts, and five of its six leading scorers from the 2008-09 season. Senior Josh Thornton was the Tigers' leading scorer last year, averaging 10.9 points per game. Thorton led the CAA in 3-pointers a season ago. Brian Morris led the league in fewest turnovers per game (1.8), while Troy Franklin paced the team in minutes played (982), assists (142) and steals (59) as a freshman, while averaging 8.4 ppg.

SERIES WITH THE TOWSON: This is the first meeting between Miami and Towson. It is the first of teams Miami will face for the first time in program history. The RedHawks also will face Nicholls State and Colorado for the first time.

UP NEXT: There is little rest for the RedHawks, who travel to Kentucky for a 7 p.m. game against the Wildcats on Monday, Nov. 16. After a tournament at New Mexico Nov. 20-22, Miami returns to Millett Hall for its season opener against Evansville at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 28.

MIAMI ISP SPORTS NETWORK: In its third year of its partnership with ISP Sports Marketing, the Miami ISP Sports Network 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 Joe Barry provides color commentary. Tune in to one of Miami's game-day affiliates:WMOH-AM 1450 (Hamilton, OH), WPFB-FM 105.9 (Middletown, OH), WFMG-FM 101.3 (Richmond, IN), WONE-AM 980 (Dayton, OH)

EXHIBITION ACTION: Miami played two exhibition games a tune-up for the 2009-10 season. The RedHawks defeated California (Pa.), 82-65, and downed Saginaw Valley State, 70-48. Senior guard Kenny Hayes averaged 19.0 ppg and averaged a team-leading 34.0 minutes per outing. Hayes also had three blocked shots and averaged 4.5 apg. Junior guard Rodney Haddix II averaged 15.5 ppg and shot 90.9 percent from the field, including 100 percent from 3-point range. Sophomore guard Kramer Soderberg averaged 12.0 ppg and 4.0 apg.

THE RETURNERS: Back are senior starters Adam Fletcher and Kenny Hayes, along with a cast of returning letterwinners in juniors Rodney Haddix, Antonio Ballard, Sean Mock and Nick Wibush, and sophomores Julian Mavunga and Kramer Soderberg. Also returning is redshirt sophomore Vince Legarza, who is coming of a medical redshirt last season, and Adam Thomas. Last season, Miami remained in the regular-season title hunt until the very final game of the conference season, coming up just short. A key for Miami will be to find scorers to fill the void left by the graduated seniors. Miami returns just 40.9 percent of its scoring, with 44 percent of its scoring coming from Bramos and Dierkers last year. But with the unknown comes great opportunity, and Coles believes he has the personnel capable of stepping up to continue keeping Miami a formidable contender for the Mid-American Conference title and a return to postseason play.

FRESH FACES: Joining the mix this season are four true freshmen: forward Drew Kelly, guards Allen Roberts and Orlando Williams and center Drew McGhee.

HAYES NAMED PRESEASON MAC ALL-EAST DIVISION: RedHawk senior guard Kenny Hayes was selected to the East Division All-MAC Preseason Team, the conference office announced on Oct. 28. Hayes was an Honorable Mention All-MAC selection in 2007-08. He started last season strong, averaging 13.9 ppg and shooting an impressive 53.3 percent from 3-point range through eight games before suffering a season-ending wrist injury in early December. He received a medical redshirt, allowing him to return to the hardwood this season. Hayes was joined on the East Division All-MAC Preseason Team by Akron's Brett McKnight and Anthony "Humpty" Hitchens, Rodney Pierce (Buffalo) and Chris Singletary (Kent State). The West Division All-MAC Preseason Team was comprised of Eastern Michigan's Brandon Bowdry and Carlos Medlock, David Kool (Western Michigan), Jarrod Jones (Ball State) and Darion "Jake" Anderson (Northern Illinois.

SECOND-HALF FIRE: In both of its exhibition games, Miami used strong second-half efforts to pull out 17- and 22-point wins. The RedHawks shot a scorching 69.2 percent from the field in the second half against California (Pa.), including 58.3 percent from 3-point range, and scored 47 second-half points. Miami finished the game shooting 53.6 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc. Against Saginaw Valley State, Miami scored 45 second-half points and shot 59.3 percent from the field, including 66.7 percent from 3-point range. Miami outscored its exhibition opponents 92-52 in the second half, while being edged 61-60 in the first half.

20/20 VISION: Senior guard Kenny Hayes and junior guard Rodney Haddix II erupted for 22 and 20 points, respectively, against California (Pa.) last Sunday. In his first game back after suffering a season-ending injury early last December, Hayes wen 7-for-12 from the field and 7-of-8 from the free-throw line, while dishing out seven assists in 37 minutes of action. Haddix was near perfect from the field, going 7-of-8, while nailing all five 3-point field goal attempts.

HOT ROD: Junior guard Rodney Haddix II was on fire from 3-point range in exhibition action for the RedHawks, draining all eight of his 3-point attempts. Haddix was 5-for-5 in Miami's first exhibition against California (Pa.) and was 3-for-3 in the RedHawks' exhibition game against Saginaw Valley State. He missed just one shot from the field in the two exhibitions, going 10-for-11.

NATIONAL NUMBERS: In the final NCAA statistical rankings, forward Michael Bramos ranked among the nation's top 100 in two categories. Bramos ranked 71st in free-throw percentage (.833) and 74th in scoring (17.9 ppg). As a team, the RedHawks ranked ninth in scoring defense (58.9).

THEY ARE MIAMI THROUGH AND THROUGH: All four of the RedHawks' coaches hold degrees from Miami University: Head Coach Charlie Coles earned a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1965, associate head coach Jermaine Henderson earned a bachelor's degree in physical education in 1997, assistant coach Ryan Pedon earned a master's degree in sport organization in 2002, while assistant coach Jason Grunkemeyer earned a bachelor's degree in physical education in 2001. Additionally, second-year director of basketball operations Jimmy Lallathin is a 2003 Miami graduate.

NUMBER CHANGE: Junior guard Rodney Haddix II will be wearing 00 for this game.

ODDS `N ENDS: Freshmen Drew Kelly and Drew McGhee will redshirt this eason.

• Be Miami's third-straight season-opening win.
• Make Miami 1-0 against Towson.
• Push Miami's record to 71-34 in season openers.
• Be Miami's 16th win when opening the season on the road.

A MIAMI LOSS WOULD ... • Drop Miami to 70-35 in season openers. • Make Miami 15-21 when opening the season on the road. • Be Miami's third straight loss dating back to last season. • Make Towson 1-0 against the RedHawks.