MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A crowd of more than 5,000 on Sunday witnessed the University of Miami jump out to its best conference start since 1997 when the Canes defeated the Maryland Terrapins, 54-47 at the BankUnited Center.

Overall, UM is 12-3 and 3-0 in Atlantic Coast Conference play. It’s a rebirth for the Canes program under head coach Jim Larranga. It’s also setting up a huge ACC game in a little more than a week against the Duke Blue Devils in Coral Gables.

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The Canes are playing well, even without one of their key players, center Reggie Johnson. The big man in the middle is likely out for at least a few more weeks due to an injury. He should be ready to come back in the middle of conference play, or just before the beginning of the conference tournament.

UM won ugly against Maryland, leading 19-14 at halftime, which was the lowest score UM put out in a first half this season, according to the Herald. But UM had something that has been rare in recent years, a crowd completely into the game.

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“One of the big keys was something we weren’t counting on; the students and crowd were really into it,” Larranaga told the Miami Herald. “The second half, I wanted to get them even more excited.”

Kenny Kadji, a 6’11” senior center, continued to come up big for the Hurricanes in the matchup with Maryland, scoring 14 points. For the season, Kadji is averaging 12.5 points, on 44 percent shooting, along with 7.5 games. He’s also blocked 25 shots on the season which is second-best on the team.

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