Photo by Lauren Olson, Photography Editor
By Gav Davis, For The Miami Student
A strong second half beyond the arc carried the Miami University men's basketball team past Southern Utah University in 76-63 win in the RedHawks season opener.
Senior guard Will Sullivan struggled early, but hit his first three-pointer right before the end of the first half. The shot gave Miami a 32-30 lead over the Thunderbirds.
Much of Miami's succes came as a result of superior second half shooting from Sullivan, who finished the game six of eight from behind the arc. Sullivan scored 21 and said he was happy to find his stroke.
"The first couple of shots I took felt weird coming off my hands," Sullivan said. "But when you see a shot go into the basket, you get a ton of confidence and I just kept getting my shots to go in the second half."
Miami went on a 15-5 run to open up the second half.
The RedHawks lead was narrowed to 52-47, but after a monster jam from junior center LJ Livingston Jr., the RedHawks went on another big 18-4 run. Sullivan hit three more threes during the half to help finish off SUU.
Junior guard Eric Washington made his first start as a RedHawk, and posted some impressive numbers. Washington put up 17 points, six rebounds and eight assists. Head coach John Cooper had both praise and feedback for his star point guard.
"[Washington] has tremendous strength and speed, and great awareness on the floor," Cooper said. "One thing we tell Eric is that we would like to see him sometimes slow down, because he get's going too fast and sometimes his decision aren't as sound …"
Washington finished with 2-1 assist to turnover ratio, but Cooper said he'd like to see Washington have a 3-1 ratio.
Southern Utah had strong showings from sophomore guard Trey Kennedy, who contributed 17 points. The Thunderbirds also got 14 points from junior forward AJ Hess.
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The RedHawks only have a few days to prepare for a talented University of Evansville team. Miami faces the Purple Aces 7 p.m. Wednesday.
"The first game of the year is always interesting," Cooper said. "Guys try to do too much. It's funny because you look around at scores early in the season and it's interesting to see the teams that are losing games. It's good to get the first win out of the way so now we can move on to the next one."