WINSTON-SALEM (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Miami Hurricanes are playing well lately thanks to an influx of youthful talent.
Miami will be seeking its second consecutive ACC road win and first victory at Wake Forest under coach Jim Larranaga when it visits the Demon Deacons on Wednesday.
The Hurricanes are coming off a dominating 72-46 triumph at Pittsburgh while the Demon Deacons lost 93-87 to No. 9 North Carolina in their most recent game, but they showed positive signs in rallying from a 19-point deficit to get within one before the Tar Heels escaped with the victory.
Miami’s aggressive defense limited the ACC’s top two scorers, Jamel Artis and Michael Young – who were averaging a combined 44.8 points, to only 17 and held Pitt without a field goal for a stretch of more than nine minutes in the victory.
“I think our guys were locked in from the start,” senior guard Davon Reed, who led Miami with 18 points, told reporters after the win. “After losing last game [to Notre Dame] and giving up a few points and turning the ball over, we really wanted to emphasize staying committed on the defensive end.”
Bryant Crawford scored 22 points and freshman Brandon Childress, who is averaging only 6.2 points, combined for 16 in the final 16 minutes to spur Wake Forest’s spirited second-half rally against the Tar Heels, which included a 27-9 run.
“We have to start playing two halves like we did in the second half throughout the course of every ballgame we play,” Wake Forest coach Danny Manning told reporters after the loss. “We’ll give ourselves a chance to have much more success.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ACC Network
ABOUT MIAMI (12-4, 2-2 ACC): While defense is the Hurricanes’ strength – they rank fourth in the nation in scoring defense (59.3 points) – and sparked the win over Pitt, the offense also clicked (55.6 percent shooting) behind Reed (14.7 points), freshman guard Bruce Brown (11) and Ja’Quan Newton (15.1), who combined to outscore Pitt by three points and hit 20-of-34 shots.
Brown, who is second on the team in rebounding (7.3) and assists (3.1), continues to improve as a versatile threat, shooting 11-of-19 from 3-point range over his last six games after starting only 5-of-24 from long distance.
Senior forward Kamari Murphy (seven points, 7.9 rebounds) anchors the interior while Anthony Lawrence Jr. (6.6, 4.4) provides defensive energy off the bench (team-leading 26 steals).
ABOUT WAKE FOREST (10-7, 1-4): Sophomore John Collins (team-leading 15.8 points and 8.9 rebounds), a 6-10 forward who was in foul trouble against the Tar Heels and limited to six points, has emerged as one of the ACC’s top big men after averaging only 7.3 points and 3.9 rebounds as a freshman.
Moore, along with Konstantinos Mitoglou (10.8 points, 6.4 rebounds) and the 7-1 Doral Moore (21 blocks), give the Demon Deacons the size to match up with Miami’s tall and athletic front line. There is no shortage of outside shooting options for Manning, with five of his players having made 20 or more 3-point shots and three of them – Keyshawn Woods (12.6 points), Austin Arians (8.4) and Mitchell Wilbekin (7.2) – shooting better than 40 percent from beyond the arc.
- Miami is 0-2 on the road against Wake Forest under Larranaga and only 1-8 overall in Winston-Salem.
- In addition to being Wake Forest’s No. 2 scorer, Crawford also ranks 20th in the nation in assists (5.8).
- Despite recording career win No. 600, Larranaga voiced concerns about his team’s continued turnover problems after it gave away the ball 18 times against Pitt.
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