Game #9-132: Miami (Oh.) at IPFW MastodonsDecember 1, 2012 7:00 pm
Gates Sports Center
Saturday's schedule gave me a good opportunity to attend a Mid-Majority doubleheader, with the nightcap featuring the Miami Red Hawks and the IPFW Mastodons. I was interested to see Miami and their new coach John Cooper, who came to Oxford after a successful three-season stint at Tennessee State. When the highly respected Charlie Coles retired at the end of last season, Miami pursued Cooper, who impressed the university officials after beating them in last year's Bracketbuster matchup. I had read that Cooper preferred a fast-paced attack, which seemed quite a contrast to the Red Hawk style under Coles, and so I was interested to see how the team was making that transition. I also learned that this game was a bit of a homecoming for Cooper, who was a member of the 1991-92 Fort Wayne Fury of the Continental Basketball Association.
As for the home team, I was excited to get another chance to see senior guard Frank Gaines, as his performance against Dartmouth was one of my favorite memories
from last season. Gaines was suspended for undisclosed reasons for their prior game, a loss at Navy. However, I checked the local news the morning of the game and was assured that Gaines would be in action. Gaines entered this contest averaging over 20 points per game, and with 26 straight games of double-figure scoring; if the Mid-Majority fantasy player draft would have had multiple rounds, I certainly would have applied some pressure to my Ballyfest Destiny teammates to select Frank.
My prior visits to IPFW had been for weeknight games against relatively low-profile opponents, and if people would have been kind enough to remain seated, I could have easily counted up the attendance for each of those games between the opening tip and the first timeout. Given this history, I was slightly taken aback to see a relatively large crowd upon my arrival. After a quick scan of the seats around me, I noticed a number of people in Miami garb, which seemed reasonable as Fort Wayne is home to a good number of Miami graduates. I also noticed an inordinate number of fairly small children scattered around, but didn't give that much thought.
Miami took an early lead in the game, and expanded that margin throughout the first half. I was very impressed with their aggressive style of play. They used both three-quarter-court and half-court traps on defense, and really disrupted any offensive flow that IPFW could muster. The Mastodons had ten first half turnovers, and a number of rushed shots that were forced up to precede the expiration of the shot clock. On offense, the Red Hawks used back cuts to get good shot opportunities near the basket, and they seemed to have an uncanny knack to deliver those passes in stride to the cutters, ensuring a very efficient offensive flow.
Gaines never really appeared comfortable during the first half. He didn't get good looks at the basket, and looked to be frustrated with his coaches and teammates. I wondered whether there were some lingering issues related to his suspension earlier in the week, and was disappointed (for many reasons) that Frank seemed destined for a sub-par game on this night. As halftime approached, I envisioned that this report would concentrate on the wonderful job done by Coach Cooper so early in the season and how the Red Hawks might be a surprise team to watch in the MAC this season.
Since I missed dinner on my trip up from Butler to get to this game, my halftime entertainment featured a large cup filled with Broasted Popcorn Chicken, purchased from the highly-rated Memorial Coliseum concession stand (I give it 4½ stars out of 5) . On my way to get food, I saw that the remaining audience was going to be treated by a performance of over 100 young baton twirlers from Lyndsay's Allen County Twirlers. I pondered hanging around for a bit to see what they could do, but my hunger trumped my curiosity.
As I returned to my seat, I noticed that the crowd had thinned out considerably, as many of the twirlers, along with their parents and siblings, had headed for the exits after their halftime performance, apparently sharing my sentiments that Miami was well in control of this game. I started to think that I might have to entertain myself during the second half with a head count of those remaining.
Instead, the second half featured a dramatic turn of events, some of them centered around our hero, Frank Gaines. So, at the risk of producing an inferior sequel to last year's rhyme, here's a summary of what we saw over the last twenty minutes.
Trailing by ten at the break,
The 'Dons returned to the floor.
The team came out ready to go,
They cared not about the score.
Movement off the ball was sharp,
Ball handling was much better.
The 'Dons improvement in play
Hurt those clad in Miami sweaters.
The Red Hawks lost momentum,
And their turnover total grew.
From a once masterful plan,
Coach Cooper had not a clue.
Frank did score a superhoop
With a foul to add one more,
His try for "and one" denied,
Lane violation on floor.
Frank looked to score next time down,
But he struggled yet again.
And then, with a mighty jolt
Dropped to the floor in great pain!
"It's a cramp. Yes, it's a cramp"
The trainer did so implore.
"Better obtain some fluids
For our man wearing the 4."
A great hush fell over the crowd,
Emotions turned red hot.
Cheerleaders turned for comfort,
To Don, the beloved mascot.
Frank was lifted to his feet
Body bent almost in half.
How to ease this intense pain
Our hero felt there in his calf?
Frank drank bottles of water,
Frank drank a jug of G2.
Yet he remained in great pain,
Whatever are we to do?
"Kibiloski with a three!"
Came the call from the PA,
"Kibiloski with a three!"
Yet again the man did say.
While Frank was being treated,
His team continued to play.
"Kibiloski with a three!"
Miami's lead gone away.
With the game nearing an end
And Frank's point total at nine,
His pain was not subsiding,
His streak: The end of the line.
But in the final seconds,
Red Hawks with a one-point lead,
Frank entered from the 'Dons bench
Hobbled just like Willis Reed.
For the final in-bound play,
Coach Jasick gestured some signs.
A quick pass shocked the defense,
Lay-up by Mario Hines!
Many fans did rush the court.
But a count of celebrants
Gives us a total one short.
Though with the win I am pleased,
From the party, I abstain.
I can't fully celebrate,
For our Frank still feels a pain. at IPFW 57, MIAMI (OH.) 56
MIAMI (OH.) 3-3 (0-0) -- Q. Rollins 3-6 2-4 8; W. Felder 5-9 4-4 15; R. Johnson 2-6 4-5 8; A. Roberts 1-4 9-10 11; J. Harris 2-5 0-0 5; G. McKnight 3-7 0-3 7; V. Legarza 0-0 0-0 0; W. Sullivan 1-2 0-0 2; D. McGhee 0-1 0-0 0; J. Tadlock 0-0 0-0 0; J. Mezher 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 17-41 19-26 56.
IPFW 5-4 (0-0) -- M. Hines 3-4 3-6 9; F. Gaines 3-13 2-2 9; J. Edwards 3-7 3-4 10; K. Harden 4-9 0-2 8; I. McCray 3-4 1-5 7; J. Reed 1-2 1-2 3; L. Jacobo 1-5 0-0 2; P. Bland 0-1 0-0 0; M. Kibiloski 3-5 0-0 9. Totals 21-50 10-21 57.
Three-point goals: MIO 3-11 (W. Felder 1-4; J. Harris 1-4; J. Mezher 0-1; R. Johnson 0-1; G. McKnight 1-1), IPFW 5-15 (B. Gaines 1-5; L. Jacobo 0-1; M. Kibiloski 3-4; J. Edwards 1-3; K. Harden 0-1; J. Reed 0-1); Rebounds: MIO 27 (W. Felder 8), IPFW 29 (M. Hines 7); Assists: MIO 8 (Q. Rollins 4), IPFW 11 (P. Bland 3); Total Fouls -- MIO 22, IPFW 18; Fouled Out: MIO-None; IPFW-None.