’Hawks win, but coach not pleased with effort
Published: Friday, November 1, 2013
Updated: Friday, November 1, 2013 00:11
The Miami University basketball team beat Northwood University 76-71 Wednesday in its only exhibition game before the start of the regular season.
Sophomore guard Willie Moore led the ’Hawks scoring effort with an efficient 16 points on eight shots. He was three of four from three-point range. Moore was joined on offense by freshman guard Jaryd Eustace, who finished with 14 points.
Despite the victory, head coach John Cooper said he was not pleased with his team’s performance.
“Am I happy with our performance? No,” Cooper said. “More disappointed with our effort. That was the thing that was disappointing to me.”
Among the aspects Cooper highlighted as problem areas for the ’Hawks in the game were defense and rebounding. Miami was outrebounded 50-48, but the real disparity was on the offensive glass as the RedHawks allowed 24 offensive rebounds while collecting only 15 themselves.
“[Northwood] boxing out, inhaling the boards, that cannot happen,” Cooper said. “We got our tails spanked on the boards and that should never happen … I thought they were tougher than we were, I thought they played with more of a sense of urgency and more passion.”
One of the standouts in the game was Eustace. The newcomer figures to have a large role this season as both a scorer and a playmaker. There were many times when he was tasked with bringing the ball up the court and setting the offense, a challenge Cooper said he needs to work on.
“He’s got very good size and he’s got a very good skill level,” Cooper said. “Having said that, he’s still a freshman. He’s still learning the pace of the game and the sense of urgency you have to play with. There were many times out there where he’s point guard and he’s supposed to give calls and signals and he totally forgot … That’s to be expected.”
Eustace said he was excited to play his first game as a RedHawk and maybe a little nervous too.
“Definitely in the first half, I felt a bit sped up at times,” Eustace said. “A couple loose turnovers at the beginning, but I felt like getting adjusted in the second half being accustomed to the time and the speed of the game I felt more comfortable in the second half. As the season goes on, that’s something I’ll have to get used to.”
One positive development in the game was the RedHawks’ three point shooting. Miami finished 8-19 from beyond the arc, for a 42.1 field goal percentage. Last year, MU shot only 33 percent as a team from beyond the three.
Senior forward Will Felder said more effective shooting from deep will give him more room to operate inside the paint this season.
“It will definitely loosen it up inside,” Felder said. “Guys just can’t go and double down in the post and just concentrate on the post play, they [now] have to worry about threats from outside.”
The RedHawks will rely upon Felder to produce both in the scoring column and on the boards. Felder is the team’s leading returning scorer and rebounder, as he finished last year averaging 11.6 points per game to go along with 5.3 rebounds. He was recently named to the Mid-American Conference East Division Preseason Team.
Felder said he appreciates the recognition but both he and the team need to prove themselves on the court this year.
“It’s always nice to hear things like that,” Felder said. “Obviously it’s just a prediction, it’s not a promise … The only thing that’s left is to live up to it.”
Felder and the rest of his RedHawk teammates will get their first chance to prove themselves when they open the season at the University of Notre Dame next Friday. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.