On Sunday against Southern Utah, Miami hit 50% of their three point chances, including several at opportune times to create energy. Against Evansville, however, Miami managed only 23% (3-13) from long range. The rough shooting night didn't stop there. The RedHawks shot just 39.6% from the floor. Through a combination of steals and ball control, Miami managed to stay within six points for the majority of the game. That majority ended with around 6 minutes left when the flood gates opened. Evansville managed to create several easy drives to the basket with little resistance to increase their shooting percentage to an impressive 57%. The offense followed the defense out of the building as well, and Evansville pulled away, winning 69-50.
For Miami, key contributions were missed by Willie Moore, who was held scoreless all night. The 6'3" shooting guard did manage to lead the team in rebounds with 5, while Miami's bigs tried to find a way to deal with Evansville's large center, Egidijus Mockevicius. Mockevicius wound up with a double double, scoring 17 points and pulling down 12 rebounds with two blocks. Dealing with the 6'10", 225 lbs. Mockevicius was LJ Livingston. The JUCO transfer led Miami in blocks with three and scoring with 12. Livingston was 6-6 from the floor, with several ally oops and dunks to try to energize Miami's team, who looked much slower than their last effort. One of those dunks was uploaded to YouTube by the RedHawk's athletic department in this promo video.
Coming into Saturday's game against Liberty, Miami will have plenty to work on. With only 10 assists, the uptempo, quick ball movement that Coach Cooper wants from his system wasn't there and the lack of scoring prevented Miami from setting up a full court defense. Evansville dictated the tempo from the beginning and Miami obliged. The RedHawks will also look to win the rebounding battle since their future opponent averages just over 37 per game.
On the bright side for Miami, true freshman Zach McCormick and Logan McLane both scored their first points as a RedHawk. McCormick's came from a mid range jumper off the dribble and McLane converted the front end of a one and one. On top of that, Miami had just 10 turnovers, the lowest Miami has had in several games. Several questions remain for this team with 7 new players. Can they find a way to consistently score? Can everyone manage to find a rhythm and trust one another? Can their defense set and control the tone for the game? We'll have to keep watching how this new group (and nearly new team) comes together as the season progresses.