By MIKE SMITH
OXFORD, Ohio – Starting a four-guard offense and getting two points out of the starting center position, the Miami RedHawks nonetheless outscored visiting Capital 42-4 in the paint on the way to a 69-46 victory over the Crusaders Monday at Millett Hall.
"When you see 42-4 in the paint and you don't see the game, you'd think we pounded the ball inside and just dominated," Miami head coach John Cooper said. "Quite Frankly, we were able to score off penetration into the pain, and that was the difference. But it is one of the few times you will see a stat like that."
The lopsided victory was a welcome respite of sorts for the RedHawks, who fell to No. 21 Ohio State a week earlier in Columbus. This time a Columbus team came to Oxford, and the Division III Crusaders (4-6, 2-2 OAC) found themselves in quick trouble. Capital was up 4-2 when Miami went on a 13-1 run to establish a double digit lead at 15-5.
Senior forward Daniel Ocke briefly got the hot hand, draining three treys in a 2:33 span. That allowed Capital to close within four at 19-15, but the RedHawks then answered with an 11-0 burst. Jaryd Eustace’s layup made it a 30-15 game. By halftime, the hosts owned a 39-20 advantage.
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Miami outscored capital 30-2 in the paint and 15-2 off turnovers in the period.
The trend continued in the second half, and Miami owned a 28-point lead at 51-23 with 16:06 left. With the upcoming Mid-American Conference season opener looming Jan. 7 when Buffalo visits, Miami coach John Cooper was able to make liberal use of his bench in the home stretch. Nine players saw at least 10 minutes of playing time against Capital
Four RedHawks reached double figures, led by Will Sullivan’s 18. The senior, Miami’s primary outside shooting threat, seemed to find his stroke, connecting on 6-of-7 from the field overall and 4-of-5 from behind the arc.
"Some nights you are going to have it and some nights you are not," Sullivan said. "It was one of those nights when I was feeling good. I never felt like I was losing any confidence."
Washington netted 13, followed by guards Willie Moore (11) and Geovonie McKnight (10).
A.J. Dixon hit 4-of-8 threes and finished with 17 points to lead Capital. Ocke joined him in double figures with 13. The duo accounted for seven of the Crusader’s eight treys as they went 8-for-25 (32%) from distance. It was a similar story overall as Capital hit 15-of-48 (31.3%) from the floor.
Miami finished the night at 51.9% (27/52) from the field and 5-of-19 (29.4%) on threes. McKnight (1) was the only RedHawk other than Sullivan to hit a trey.
Miami (4-8) returns to action with its final non-conference game Saturday when the University of Missouri-Kansas City visits Oxford. Game time is 3:30 p.m.