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Miami hopes to find some momentum at KSU



John Cooper is in this for the long haul, so he’s trying to keep frustration out of the equation.

“We’ve got to learn how to win,” said the Miami University men’s basketball coach, with his RedHawks holding an 8-14 record and last place in the Mid-American Conference East Division.

“I’m not frustrated, definitely not that. We’ve got to understand what it takes to win and how you win down the stretch of games. That’s the key, to value possessions and understand what possessions mean when we’re in the heat of the moment.”

MU let a potential upset slip from its grasp last Saturday when it squandered a nine-point lead and dropped a 54-50 decision to MAC leader Akron.

On Wednesday, the RedHawks will visit Kent State (13-11), one of five teams in the conference with a winning record. The Golden Flashes have won two of their last three games after taking four straight defeats.

“We only returned 30 percent of our offense and 30 percent of our minutes from last year’s team,” KSU coach Rob Senderoff said. “Because of that, I think we’ve had some inconsistencies. We’ve had some nice wins, and we’ve had some heartbreaking losses, especially in league.

“I think Ohio and Akron are just head and shoulders above everybody in the league right now. We’re just trying to win as many games as we can.”

Kent has a potent 1-2 senior punch in 6-foot-8 forward Chris Evans and 6-1 guard Randal Holt. They’re averaging 16.8 and 14.1 points, respectively.

The bad news for the Flashes is that Evans is nursing an ankle injury suffered last weekend. “I’m expecting him to play, but I’m not 100 percent sure,” Senderoff said.

KSU ranks third in the MAC in scoring with a 70.5 average. Asked to characterize his squad, Senderoff said that’s not an easy thing to do.

“I don’t know that I’d call us a halfcourt team or a fullcourt team,” he said. “We’ve got some size, and we want to get out in transition and score. Generally speaking, we’ve done a pretty decent job taking care of the basketball, but I know Miami is going to be pretty relentless and test our ability to do that.

“There’s nobody in the league that plays quite like Miami plays. They’re extending the court and trapping and pressing. Hopefully we’ll be able to handle that pressure and make them have to score in the halfcourt.”

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