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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, December 3, 7 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Millet Hall (9,200) -- Oxford, Ohio. Television: None. Home Record: IPFW 2-0, Miami 0-1. Away Record: IPFW 2-3, Miami 0-3. Neutral Record: IPFW 2-0, Miami 0-0. Conference Record: IPFW 0-0, Miami 0-0. Series Record: Series is tied 1-1.
GAME NOTES: The Miami-Ohio RedHawks will try once again to claim their first win of the season, as they wrap up a brief two-game homestand with a bout versus the IUPU-Fort Wayne Mastodons on Tuesday night.
After starting the season at 1-2, IPFW caught fire with five consecutive wins. The Mastodons most recently had their most difficult task to date at Illinois on Nov. 29, and while they fought wire-to-wire, they ultimately dropped a heartbreaker, 57-55. Still, they have established a high standard of late, going 12-4 in their last 16 games dating back to last season.
Meanwhile, Miami-Ohio has been rather quiet over the first month of the season with just four games, all losses. After going down to Notre Dame (74-62), Arizona State (90-54) and Xavier (77-51) during a brutal season-opening road trip, the RedHawks played their home opener on Nov. 23 only to fall to Wilmington College, 65-63.
IPFW won last season's matchup between the two teams on its home court, 57-56, to even the series at 1-1.
The Mastodons were on their way to an upset over Illinois the last time out, as they led by as many as eight points early in the second half, but they ended up shooting just 32 percent from the floor over the final 20 minutes as they allowed the Illini to fight their way back for the win. In addition to the poor shooting late in the contest, the Mastodons were also hindered by 18 turnovers, which turned into 20 points for Illinois. Luis Jacobo sparked the team off the bench with 15 points, Pierre Bland netted 12, while Steve Forbes and Mo Evans each scored 11. It was a rare performance for IPFW, which shoots greater than 48 percent from the field this season while living in the black in scoring (+9.2), rebounding (+6.1) and turnover (+0.9) margins. Jacobo (14.7 ppg) missed the first three games of the season and the team is 5-1 with him in uniform. Forbes (11.9 ppg) is shooting just shy of 70 percent from the field, Bland (10.4 ppg) hands out 4.9 assists per game, and Joe Red (10.0 ppg, rpg) sees more than 26 minutes per game off the bench.
The RedHawks also appeared to be in control of their latest game in the early going, as they built a lead as big as 15 over Wilmington College before the visitors sparked an 18-4 run to close out the game and pull off the upset. Miami did itself in with a dreadful shooting performance (.329), which included an especially poor 3-of-20 showing from 3-point range. Will Felder had no such struggles though, as he finished with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Quinten Rollins (18 points) and Geovonie McKnight (10 points) were also solid, but the other six players who saw action combined to shoot just 5-of-34 (.147). Not surprisingly, poor field goal efficiency has become a trend for the RedHawks during their winless start, as they make good on just 36.2 percent of their tries from the floor for 57.5 points per game, which is 19 points less than they allow to their opponents. Reggie Johnson (14.0 ppg) and Felder (11.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg) are the only two players averaging double figures, but neither has cracked 38 percent shooting.
Miami's first three losses this season, on the road against very good teams, can be easily justified, but there's no excuse for blowing a big lead at home to a Division III program. Expect a stellar IPFW squad to conquer this road test against the fluttering RedHawks.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: IUPU-Fort Wayne 83, Miami-Ohio 72
12/03 10:38:29 ET