CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Miami shook off nearly two weeks of game inactivity with its most lopsided win of the season.
Kenny Kadji scored 17 points and Durand Scott finished with 16 as the Hurricanes defeated previously unbeaten Charlotte 77-46 Friday night. The game was Miami’s first since a 75-62 win over Massachusetts Dec. 1.
“The (time) that we had off was to our benefit,” said Scott, who also had 12 rebounds and four steals. “We came and approached it the right way. It showed today in the game.”
The Hurricanes (6-1) never trailed as they built an 11-point halftime lead and outscored the 49ers 14-6 in the opening 5:27 of the second half. Rion Brown’s 3-pointer with 14:33 remaining ended the spurt and increased the Miami advantage to 47-28.
Scott’s three-point play with 12:48 remaining gave the Hurricanes their first 20-point lead at 50-30.
“The team played very hard and very well on both ends of the floor from start to finish,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “It’s about being mentally ready as well as physically. Obviously, we were both.”
The loss snapped a nine-game winning streak at the start of the season for the 49ers (9-1). Miami has won five straight since a 63-51 loss at Florida Gulf Coast on Nov. 13.
“That game is in the past,” Scott said. “We moved on and Coach (Larranaga) has led us in the right direction.”
Charlotte got to within 52-39 on Victor Nickerson’s 3-pointer with 9:46 remaining. But Miami ran off 14 unanswered points in the next 5:26. Kadji’s two free throws with 4:20 remaining capped the surge and gave the Hurricanes a 66-39 lead.
“They threw the first punch; that was probably the biggest thing,” Charlotte coach Alan Major said. “They set the tone for the game from the get-go. We clearly weren’t ourselves. Unfortunately, tonight was the first time in 10 games when I felt we didn’t have the pop that we should have.”
Chris Braswell’s layup with 3:41 remaining ended a scoreless drought of 6:05. Braswell scored 13 points and Willie Clayton finished with 11 points for Charlotte.
“We came out a bit soft, and we didn’t come out with intensity,” Braswell said.
The 49ers shot 31.7 percent (20 of 63) from the field and 36.4 percent (4 of 11) from the free-throw line. Miami also blocked a season-high 12 shots.
“We did a very good job of helping, and that’s why their field goal percentage was so low,” Larranaga said. “We’ve been getting back defensively and haven’t given up many fast-break layups.”
Kadji and Shane Larkin hit 3-pointers to help the Hurricanes open a 12-2 lead in the first 3:47. Brown converted 1 of 2 free throws with 11:52 remaining in the half as the Hurricanes increased their advantage to 21-8.
Miami maintained a double-digit lead most of the first half and had its largest advantage at 33-16 on Scott’s driving layup with 4:11 remaining.
The 49ers kept Miami scoreless the rest of the half and scored six unanswered points. Braswell’s two free throws with 47 seconds remaining reduced the Hurricanes’ lead to 33-22 at halftime.
Charlotte had a chance to cut Miami’s first-half lead under double figures, but DeMario Mayfield turned the ball over driving to the basket with 18 seconds remaining, and Darion Clark’s layup attempt bounced off the rim with 13 seconds left.
“That kind of deflated us a little bit,” Major said. “When you have a chance to go down nine or eight instead of 11, I thought that kind of took the steam out of us a bit.”
Miami guard Bishop Daniels left the team, Larranaga said. A redshirt freshman from Raleigh, N.C., Daniels averaged 5.0 points while playing in three games this season.
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