CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Miami Hurricanes have been one of the best home teams in the ACC in recent years.
Miami heads into Wednesday night’s game against Columbia riding a 19-game home winning streak and and it’s unlikely the Lions have what it takes to buck that trend.
The Hurricanes’ offense has looked more cohesive than earlier this season during the team’s current five-game winning streak while the defense ranks No. 5 in Division I in both fewest points allowed (57.0) and field-goal percentage defense (36.3).
Perhaps Miami coach Jim Larranaga’s biggest challenge is to keep his team from looking ahead to Saturday’s ACC opener at home against North Carolina State.
The Hurricanes got a rugged test — Miami’s coach said it felt like a conference game — in a physical 72-64 win over George Washington that left Larranaga with a few positive signs.
“We had only six turnovers, which is something we’ve really been stressing,” he said after the win. “Ja’Quan Newton with five assists and only two turnovers, again, more of point of emphasis. The guys did a good job of executing, especially down the stretch.”
The Lions should at least be rested — their most recent game was an 84-42 win over Division III Manhattanville back on Dec. 11.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ACC Network Extra
ABOUT COLUMBIA (4-5): The Lions have three players averaging in double figures — junior guard Nate Hickman (15.7 points), senior forward Luke Petrasek (14.3) and freshman guard Mike Smith (11.2) — and they are all shooting 46.9 percent or better from the field and have combined to go 40-of-91 from 3-point range.
Led by Petrasek (7.0 rebounds) and 6-8 Lukas Meisner (6.8 points, 5.4 rebounds), the Lions have held their own on the boards, but will be hard-pressed to do that against the long and athletic Hurricanes.
Led by Smith (3.1 assists) and reserve guard Quinton Adlesh (6.4 points, 3.0 assists), the Lions have shared the ball well (16.3 assists) and are shooting a solid 47.2 percent from the field.
ABOUT MIAMI (9-2): Junior point guard Newton (team-leading 14.7 points and 4.2 assists), known more for his in-the-paint scoring than his passing, has recorded at least five assists in each of the last four games and that has contributed to senior Davon Reed (13.8 points) finding his 3-point range (11-of-21 in the last three games).
Versatile freshman guard Bruce Brown (10.7 points, 7.3 rebounds), senior forward Kamari Murphy (7.0, 8.0) and freshman center Dewan Huell (8.1, 5.2) have been the keys to Miami outrebounding its foes by 8.2 a game.
Sophomore reserve center Ebuka Izundu (5.4 points, 3.1 rebounds) might have earned more playing time by scoring 12 points in 20 minutes against the Colonials.
- Columbia will be Miami’s second Ivy League foe this season with the Hurricanes having defeated Pennsylvania, 74-62, on Nov. 19.
- A victory would be No. 1,000 for the Miami program, which enters the game with an all-time mark of 999-729.
- Reed became the 37th Hurricanes player to reach 1,000 points, getting there is his 109th game with a second-half dunk against George Washington.
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