CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The new-look Miami Hurricanes have been learning on the fly this season but so far the team has been adjusting well.
Miami has won four consecutive games by an average of 18.8 points but figures to face a tougher task on Thursday, when it hosts a George Washington team that has captured five of its last six contests and three in a row.
The Hurricanes are second in the nation in scoring defense (57.2 points), but the Colonials are coming off a 74-59 win over Central Florida in which they shot 54.2 percent in the second half against the country’s top-ranked field-goal percentage defense (32.8).
The Hurricanes held Florida Atlantic, which was coming off an upset victory at Ohio State, to 33.3 percent shooting while dominating on the boards (48-29 rebounding advantage) in a 76-56 triumph on Friday.
“You really have to have a knack for rebounding,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga told reporters. “A guy like Bruce Brown (eight rebounds), he’s only 6-4 but he really goes after rebounds. Dewan Heuell and Kamari Murphy (10 boards apiece), they really attack the defensive boards.”
The Colonials got a career-high 27 points from sophomore guard Jordan Roland against the Knights, who had not allowed more than 67 all season.
George Washington, which has been a good rebounding team (plus-7.1 per game), held its own against UCF’s big front line and will need to do that again versus the Hurricanes (plus-9.1) in order to have a chance to spring the upset.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra
ABOUT GEORGE WASHINGTON (8-4): The Colonials’ only loss over the last six games was to No. 22 Florida State, and they have a 5-0 record with the current starting lineup of Roland, Tyler Cavanaugh, Arnaldo Toro, Collin Smith and Jaren Sina.
The versatile Cavanaugh, who leads the team in scoring (17.1 points), rebounding (7.6) and assists (2.9), teams with Toro ( 6.1 points, 6.3 rebounds) and Smith (7.7, 6.2) to give the Colonials a solid inside presence at both ends of the floor.
Sina (10.3 points) is hitting only 34.3 percent of his overall shots but is a 3-point threat (23-of-61, 37.7 percent) and has been almost perfect – 30-of-32 – from the foul line.
ABOUT MIAMI (8-2): Point guard Ja’Quan Newton (team-leading 14.8 points and 4.1 assists) has done a better job of finding teammates over the last three games, dishing out 20 assists after recording only 21 in his first seven contests.
Brown (10.4 points, 6.9 rebounds, 3.2 assists), registered 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists against FAU after posting only the second triple-double in Miami’s history in the previous game versus South Carolina State.
Senior Davon Reed (13.5 points, 4.3 rebounds) has bounced back from a slow start from 3-point range this season to knock down eight shots, including five in a 21-point effort against the Owls, in his last two games.
- George Washington is 2-1 against teams from the Sunshine State this season, having posted wins over South Florida and UCF while losing to Florida State.
- Both teams have built big advantages at the foul line, with Miami having made 56 more free throws than its foes and George Washington outscoring the opposition by 78 points.
- Miami is fourth in the nation is field-goal defense (35.9 percent) and seventh in 3-point defense (27.4 percent).
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