Miami junior guard Eric Washington drives to the lane during the RedHawks’ 71-60 loss to Edinboro Saturday.

Photo by Phill Ardnt, The Miami Student

By Jack Brewer & Gav Davis, For the Miami Student

The Miami University men’s basketball team opens up the 2014-2015 campaign against Southern Utah University Sunday at Millett Hall.

The RedHawks are looking to start the regular season on the right track after dropping an exhibition game to Edinboro University Nov. 8. The RedHawks lost to the Division II school 71-60. Miami led by 10 points at half, before the Fighting Scots outscored the ’Hawks 44-23 in the second half .

Although disappointed with the loss, the team came away with some positives from the exhibition game.

“When you have as many new players as we have, any kind of game experience is good experience,” senior guard Will Sullivan said. “We were lacking in effort, so we’re working on putting together a full 40 minutes of effort.”

The RedHawks welcome three junior college transfers to their roster and hope to gain contributions from them immediately. Juniors LJ Livingston Jr., Kalif Wright and Chris Bryant are entering their first seasons as RedHawks. Each player saw the floor against Edinboro.

“With the junior college guys, there’s a bit of a learning curve coming into Division I basketball,” Sullivan said. “They’re picking up on things in practice and the chemistry will come together.”

In 21 minutes of action against Edinboro, Bryant scored nine points and hauled in seven rebounds. Livingston also logged significant playing time, finishing with eight points and eight rebounds. Bryant and his teammates acknowledged there is a learning curve when transitioning to the Division I level, although the new faces are already making great strides in practice.

“[Head] Coach [John Cooper] has put a lot of pressure on me and the other new guys to pick things up quickly in practice and we’ve been responding very well,” Bryant said. “We have been working on a lot of plays and emphasizing defense. Defense wins games.”

Another new face who will see significant playing time is Eric Washington, a junior guard who played his first two seasons at Presbyterian College. Washington showed elite passing skills at the point guard position, finishing 15th in the nation in assists per game before transferring to Miami. In the Edinboro game, Washington led the RedHawks in scoring with 16 points and logged five assists.

The RedHawks faceoff against the Thunderbirds 2 p.m. Sunday at Millett Hall. Fans can listen to the game on redhawkradio.com.

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