The MAC Report, Presented by SportsTime Ohio

By Dave DeNatale

I’ve always admired Miami head coach Charlie Coles.

The 69-year-old has been incredibly successful in his 15-year tenure with the RedHawks, taking his teams to six postseason appearances.  Coles has done this while dealing with a history of heart problems that included going into cardiac arrest back in 1998.  But the man has overcome adversity time and time again and his teams are a reflection of his toughness.

Take Miami’s game on Tuesday night against Ball State for instance.  The RedHawks had just found out that they would be without their best player, forward Antonio Ballard, for the rest of the season due to a broken wrist.  Plus another starter, point guard Quentin Rollins, is out until the end of this month with an injured wrist.  Miami had just lost to Western Michigan in a game in which they had a 15-point lead in the second half, so it would be easy to assume that the RedHawks would not be at their best against BSU.

Not with Charlie Coles as head coach.

Miami battled back from a 14-point deficit to post an 89-75 win over the Cardinals.  The win featured a school-record 16 three-point baskets by the RedHawks, plus a monster 27 point, 11-rebound performance by Julian Mavunga.  Mavunga also assumed some leadership at halftime, motivating his team with a fiery speech.

“That’s when we’re at our best,” Coles told the media afterward, “when our guys take ownership. When players speak to each other, they have a tendency to listen.”

The MAC East is wide open right now as Buffalo, Bowling Green, Kent State, and Miami are separated by just a game.  Even with Ballard out, don’t you dare count out the RedHawks.

**An update from our partners at SportsTime Ohio:  They have announced that they will carry the February 23rd game between Bowling Green and Ohio University at the Convocation Center in Athens.  I know Ohio is struggling a little right now, but winning at the Convo is never an easy task so that should be a very interesting game, especially if BG continues to be atop the MAC East.

Speaking of STO, the guys will get a well-deserved weekend off.  Next up for Michael Reghi, Steve Mix and crew will be Central Michigan at Buffalo on Tuesday, February 8th.  Buffalo has been playing outstanding basketball since the start of conference play led by their backcourt tandem of Byron Mulkey and Zach Filzen, while CMU picked up a nice win over Ohio this week.  The Chippewas have been paced by their terrific freshman Trey Zeigler, who is averaging 21 points in MAC action.

The fun continues on Wednesday night as Western Michigan visits Akron.  I still can’t figure out the Zips, who can beat Bowling Green one night, but lose to Eastern Michigan on another.  The positive for Keith Dambrot’s squad is that Zeke Marshall and Nikola Cvetinovic have put together some nice efforts over the last couple of games, which has to help open some things up on the outside.  Western seen their talented guard Demetrius Ward heat up lately, scoring 21 points in each of his last two games.

Air times for both of next week’s games is set for 7:30.


1 Comment

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Dave DeNatale, ESPN Cleveland. ESPN Cleveland said: Check out the latest MAC Report, presented by SportsTime Ohio… […]

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