SAN JUAN (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The Miami Hurricanes basketball team is off to a great start in a season full of promise.
Miami looks to knock off a second straight ranked team when it faces No. 20 Butler in the championship game of the Puerto Rico Tip-Off on Sunday in San Juan.
The Hurricanes put up 105 points in the first round and rolled over 16th-ranked Utah 90-66 in the semifinals on the way to a matchup with Butler, which is shooting 54.1 percent in its first three games.
“We’re not really caught up in what people want to rank us and things like that,” Miami guard Sheldon McClellan told reporters after scoring 27 on Friday. “We’re taking each game one at a time and just being aggressive on both ends of the court.”
The Hurricanes are very deep and have plenty of weapons on the offensive end, but the Bulldogs can match them with seven of their top nine scorers returning from last season’s NCAA Tournament team.
Kellen Dunham leads a balanced offense with 17 points per game for Butler, which is averaging 103.7 points in three outings.
The Bulldogs recovered from an early 10-point hole to beat Temple 74-69 in the other semifinal and meets Miami for the first time.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2
ABOUT BUTLER (3-0): Point guard Tyler Lewis has made quite an impression in his first three games since transferring from North Carolina State while averaging 14 points and 4.3 assists.
“He’s unbelievable,” Butler forward Andrew Chrabascz told the Indianapolis Star. “He’s just a great floor general, knows when to pick up the pace, he knows when to slow it down, just always under control.”
Senior Roosevelt Jones has filled up the stat sheets early on, averaging 12 points, 10.7 rebounds and four assists.
ABOUT THE MIAMI (4-0): The Hurricanes, who opened the season with eight straight wins last season, is averaging 20.2 points off turnovers over the first four in 2015-16.
Six players are averaging at least 9.8 points and 21 minutes, led by McClellan (19.8 and 31) while 7-0 Tonye Jekiri tops the team in rebounding (9.5).
Ivan Cruz Uceda has drained 10-of-18 from 3-point range and McClellan is next with nine makes while Puerto Rico native Angel Rodriguez (11.3 points, five assists) runs the show.
- Dunham is only 3-of-14 from 3-point range in the tournament, but moved into third on the school’s all-time list with 218 makes in his career.
- The Hurricanes have won five early-season tournaments since 2000, including the 2007-08 Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
- Jones notched four assists in each of the first two tournament games and has 322 in his career – one behind Avery Sheets for seventh all-time at Butler.
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