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RedHawks start road trip aganist IPFW

Senior Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, November 29, 2012

Updated: Thursday, November 29, 2012 23:11

After a tumultuous road campaign last season, the Miami University men’s basketball team opens a four game road trip this Saturday at Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne (IPFW), looking to right the ship. The RedHawks are 3-2 on the season, but just 1-2 on the road this year.

The RedHawks were a disappointing 2-14 on the road last season, en route to a 9-21 season.

The Mastodons, a Division I AA school from the Summit League, are .500 at 4-4. Despite averaging just over 68 points a game, IPFW has played mainly I-AA opponents. Miami will be the third Division I opponent for IPFW, after losing to Auburn University and Mid-American squad Eastern Michigan University.

“It’s tough playing on the road, especially in Division I,” junior forward Jon Harris said. “We need to keep doing the little things, making hustle plays and we should be fine.”

The RedHawks’ two road losses came at the hands of two top 25 teams, North Carolina State University and the University of Louisville.

Redshirt junior guard Allen Roberts and freshman guard Reggie Johnson lead Miami in scoring, averaging 12.6 and 11.6 points a contest respectively for a squad putting up 65 points a game.

However, Miami is shooting just 38 percent for the year, but has improved steadily over the last two contests, especially from deep. Johnson has led the charge, draining 55 percent of his three balls and shooting 50 percent on the season.

“We have to come out and set the tone of the game,” Johnson said. “Everybody wants to protect their home court, so it’s going to be hard. It’s not going to come down to how pretty the game looks; it’s going to be scrappy. Coach [Cooper] likes threes. He always talks about hitting the open man and staying beyond the three-point line. The way we run offense, it’s one of our strengths, so we have to keep that up on the road.”

One component of the game the team revisited this week was fundamentally sound defense. After surrendering 28 free throw attempts to James Madison University, Harris called the performance “unacceptable,” stating his beliefs that things will change for the better.

“At the end of the day, we have to be disciplined,” Johnson said. “Foul trouble can’t happen on the road. All the little things that we can get away with at home are (twice as big) on the road, so we have to cut down on that.”

Miami heads into tomorrow’s game without redshirt junior forward Bill Edwards, who went down against James Madison with a knee injury. Team doctors determined Wednesday, after an MRI early Monday morning, that Edwards tore ligaments in his left knee. He is due for reconstructive surgery in early December and is out for the season.

Edwards was averaging 10.8 points and 3.8 rebounds a game before his injury. Since transferring from Penn State University, Edwards has struggled to stay healthy. He missed all but seven games last season due to a wrist injury.

In his absence, the RedHawks’ big men stepped up against the Dukes, and are looking to continue for the remainder of the season. Redshirt junior forward Will Felder chipped in 12 points and seven rebounds, while Harris added 15 points and eight boards.

“We all have to be more accountable now,” Harris said. “He was big for us on and off the court. We have to hustle and play hard, especially the bigs, but we all have to step up and fill in the void Bill left.”

Miami is 1-0 all time against IPFW, with the only meeting coming in 2003, in which Miami won 63-52. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. Saturday.

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