CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Miami Hurricanes basketball program has been building itself up to be a contender in the tough ACC.
Louisiana and Miami both showed why they entered the season with high expectations with one-sided victories against overmatched foes in their season openers.
Now both teams will get their first true test Monday night at Miami in what figures to be an up-tempo and tightly contested game.
The Hurricanes overcame 27.9 percent first-half shooting by scoring 55 points in the second half while hitting 54.5 percent to rout Texas Rio Grande Valley 86-69.
Meanwhile, the Rajun’ Cajuns shot 59.4 percent in a 108-68 blowout win over Division II Louisiana College.
This game features a matchup of two of the nation’s best rebounders: Miami 7-footer Tonye Jekiri, who led the ACC in rebounding last season; and Louisiana’s 6-11 Shawn Long, the active NCAA leader in double-doubles and total rebounds.
Both teams want to push the pace, so this should be an entertaining game.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, RSN
ABOUT LOUISIANA (1-0):The Rajun’ Cajuns return their top eight players from a team that finished fourth in the Sun Belt Conference last season.
Long, forward Devonta Walker — who led the way with 17 points in Louisiana’s opener — and guard Jay Wright are All-Sun Belt preseason picks.
“Their coach (Bob Marlin) has his team playing at such an up-tempo pace that we are going to have to get back better than we did tonight.” Miami coach Jim Larranaga told reporters after his team’s opening win. “They are extremely talented offensively and have a center (Long) that will be drafted by the NBA.”
ABOUT MIAMI (1-0): Sheldon McClellan showed why he is considered one of the nation’s top shooting guards, finishing with 18 points in the opener.
Point guard Angel Rodriguez racked up seven assists but shot only 2-of-10 from the field, though Larranaga said the senior was forced to take some shots with the shot clock nearing zero after his teammates passed up open looks.
The Hurricanes got encouraging performances off the bench from sophomores James Palmer, who Larranaga singled out for pushing the pace, and Ja’Quan Newton.
- Miami PF Ivan Cruz-Uceda, who averaged 5.3 points last season, hit four 3-point shots in scoring 16 points against the Vaqueros.
- Kamari Murphy, who was expected to anchor the Hurricanes’ bench, was suspended for three games for violating team rules prior to the opener.
- Louisiana was 4-for-25 on 3-point shots against Louisiana College, but shot an amazing 37-of-44 from inside the arc.
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