Charlie Coles and company must have been on Santa’s naughty list this holiday with losses to Xavier University, the University of Colorado and the University at Buffalo. The Miami RedHawks (3-11, 0-1 MAC) have had a dreadful December (1-5) and rang in the new year on a sour note with a 73-55 loss to the University at Buffalo Bulls (8-4, 1-0 MAC) Saturday.
“At this point in the season we have to hang on to something,” Coles said. “The Xavier game was probably our second best game of the year to Kentucky. It was very close to Kentucky in terms of our effort. It was a game where I thought we could have and should have won. I thought that the whistle didn’t go our way in the final minute and a half. But we need something to hang our hat on. My guys played awfully hard that game but we lost. Our problem this year has been that in five or six of our games we have been terrible. We just haven’t played well. At the Xavier game we really played well.”
The lone bright spot for the RedHawks on Saturday was senior Adam Fletcher who tallied 21 points, making 8-11 shots against the Buffalo Bulls in their first MAC conference matchup.
The Red and White narrowly fell Jan. 5 to the University of Colorado Buffaloes (9-5) 67-65 on a late missed shot by freshman Allen Roberts.
“Against Colorado it’s the same thing,” Coles said. “I thought we played well enough to win with the exception of a few moments where we just let up and it cost us. Again, we come down to the final shot with Allen Roberts and if that ball goes in we win. Colorado was not as good as Xavier, but they are a more than decent team from the Big 12. I thought we played well for most of the game. When you are in my shoes as a leader, I’ve got to pick out the good things. I thought we played very, very well at Colorado. I’m crossing my fingers, hoping and praying and everything that we can get consistent. If we can take our top efforts this year and come close to that, then I think we can have a good year. Our players feel the same exact way.”
Prior to their contest with the Bulls, the Red and White ran into the Xavier University Musketeers (9-5). Coles’ squad ran into some stiff interstate competition, but did overcome a 17-point deficit as senior guard Kenny Hayes doused the nylon for 24 points. Hayes’ strong effort was not enough as the RedHawks still fell 70-67.
“We came out and played but I think there were times when we gave up easy baskets where we could have prevented,” Hayes said. “We are getting better for sure because we put two games together where we fought for a win in Colorado and Xavier and I don’t think we’ve done that all year. We put two together where we competed. Usually when you play one game where you play the team tough you play the next game we would just disappear. As a team we are growing and getting better and we are ready for MAC play.”
Staring down the barrel of a 3-11 record is not an easy task for any team as Coles knows, so in order for the Red and White to turn it around they have to remain focused and keep their heads held high, according to Coles.
“The most encouraging thing is that our guys are still excited about playing,” Coles said. “You worry about that after you lose so many games. I think they are excited and I give them credit for that because it’s not easy to go through what we’ve been through and still feel like you have a good ball club and our guys feel that way.”
Coles will lead his team into battle at 7 p.m. Tuesday Jan. 12 on the hardwood of Millett Hall.