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CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Manu Lecomte scored 17 points, Davon Reed added 15 and Miami rallied from a second-half deficit to beat Alabama 73-66 in an NIT second-round game Saturday.
Deandre Burnett scored 13 points and Tonye Jekiri finished with nine points — including the first 3-pointer of his 102-game college career — and 12 rebounds for the Hurricanes.
Miami (23-12) advances to Tuesday’s NIT quarterfinals against either Richmond or Arizona State. Those schools meet in a second-round game at Richmond on Sunday night.
The Hurricanes, who felt they belonged in the NCAA Tournament’s field of 68, improved the Atlantic Coast Conference’s record in the NCAA and NIT to 9-1.
Rodney Cooper scored 20 points and Levi Randolph added 17 points for Alabama (19-15). Retin Obasohan added 11 and Michael Kessens had 10 for the Crimson Tide — who missed 21 of 25 shots during a 15-minute stretch of the second half.
Miami played without point guard Angel Rodriguez, who sat out because of a nagging wrist injury that he’s aggravated several times in recent weeks. The Hurricanes advanced despite a season-low two points from Sheldon McClellan, the team’s leading scorer.
The Hurricanes used a 12-1 run to take a 27-18 lead, only to see Alabama quickly answer with a 16-3 spurt of its own. Obasohan’s step-back foul-line jumper as time expired in the first half capped that burst, putting the Crimson Tide up 34-30 going into the locker room.
Miami trailed by seven points with 17 minutes left, when Jekiri’s putback dunk breathed some life into a quiet arena — and, it seemed, into the Hurricanes.
Burnett’s consecutive 3-pointers midway through the second half put Miami ahead for good, and Jekiri’s 3 moments later added to what became a game-deciding 17-2 run for the Hurricanes.
Crimson Tide: The loss evened the record of interim coach John Brannen at 1-1. … Alabama hasn’t won consecutive games since a six-game winning streak ended on Jan. 13, immediately following up each of the season’s last eight victories with a loss. … Alabama had a statistically odd stretch where it made four straight shots, then missed eight, then made four, then missed four, then made five, then missed seven.
Hurricanes: Miami used nine players in the first 15 minutes and eight scored — McClellan being the exception. He was scoreless until a dunk with 11:41 left to tie the game at 45. … The Hurricanes are assured of playing at least 36 games, matching the school mark set by the 2010-11 and 2012-13 clubs. … Jekiri is the 20th 7-footer to make a 3-pointer in Division I this season, the nation’s most since 22 did in 2007-08, according to STATS.
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