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Muskies shut down RedHawks’ offense

For The Miami Student

Published: Friday, November 22, 2013

Updated: Friday, November 22, 2013 01:11

The Miami University men’s basketball team (0-3) finished up its season-opening three game road stand with a 77-51 loss to Xavier University (4-0), the 100th meeting between the two teams.

Sophomore guard Geovonie McKnight led the RedHawks in scoring with 10 points. He was the only MU player to surpass double digits. Senior forward Will Felder and freshman forward Joshua Oswald finished tied for second on the team with eight points a piece.

The game was tight during the opening minutes of the first half as the RedHawks and the Musketeers matched each other basket for basket. The game was tied 15-15 with 12:34 left in the first half when XU went on a 21-9 run to close the opening frame with a 36-24 advantage.

Xavier went on to outscore the RedHawks 41-27 in the second half.

McKnight said in the second half, Miami did not play with the energy they displayed in the first half.

“The first half, we came out with a lot of energy,” McKnight said. “In the second half, we didn’t have the energy we needed. We just have to be able to execute … even though our scoring wasn’t there we still could have played with [more] energy on defense.”

The offensive side of the court continues to be a struggle for the RedHawks in this young season. For the game, Miami shot 37 percent from the field and 22 percent from beyond the three-point arc. Through three games the ’Hawks are shooting 38 percent from the field.

Head coach John Cooper stressed the need for his team figure things out offensively, which will ease the pressure on their defense.

“The game of basketball, I don’t care what team you are, at some point you’ve got to be able to make shots,” Cooper said. “You can run as many actions as you want, as many set plays as you want and get the look that you want but if you don’t make it, well it [the offense] doesn’t look so good.”

The ’Hawks are going to struggle to score if sophomore guard Reggie Johnson has an off night, which he did against Xavier, going 2-9 from the field en route to five points. Coming into the game, Johnson had been averaging 23 points per game. He did not score his first point until 12:29 remaining in the second half.

Cooper said Johnson’s struggles were due to a combination of factors.

“One, I think he had foul trouble early,” Cooper said. “I don’t know if he really got into the rhythm of the basketball game. Two, we did not shoot the ball well again, so that’s going to affect you … Trying to do too much and really not letting the game come to you.”

The ’Hawks look to earn their first win of the season against Wilmington University Saturday. Wilmington finished 14-13 last season. Their leading returning scorer is senior forward Malcolm Heard II, who averaged 16.6 points per game last season.

Tipoff for Miami’s home opener is set for 3 p.m.

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