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MIAMI (SportsDirect Inc.) — Coming off a one-point upset home loss to Northeastern and an overtime victory at Nebraska, No. 21 Miami (Fla.) will look to avoid another nail-biting finish when it hosts struggling Charlotte on Saturday afternoon. The 49ers are coming off a 109-74 blowout loss to Davidson.
The Hurricanes overcame Nebraska’s 50 percent 3-point shooting and a 28-point outburst by Nebraska’s Shavon Shields as their defense struggled for the second game in a row.
“The bottom line … we got to get stops,” Miami senior point guard Angel Rodriguez, who led the Hurricanes with 15 points, said after the game. “Like coach (Jim Larranaga) said, we haven’t been able to stop the best player on everybody we’ve played so far, but the good thing is we have a lot of games ahead and a lot of practices, so hopefully we’ll get it right.”
Speaking of defensive concerns, first-year head coach Mark Price has plenty with his 49ers having allowed more than 100 points twice while giving up 86.6 points a game on 50.5 percent shooting.
Miami’s offensive numbers – 87.6 ppg and 50.7 shooting – virtually mirror Charlotte’s defensive stats, which isn’t a good sign for the visitors.
TV: 4 p.m. ET, ESPN3.
ABOUT CHARLOTTE (1-5): If the Hurricanes’ offense exploits Charlotte’s defense, then the 49ers will have to shoot much better than they have (37.4 percent from the field) to make this a competitive game. Senior forward Bernard Sullivan, the 49ers’ leading scorer at 12.3 points a game, showed some encouraging signs with a career-high 20 against Davidson. Freshman guard Andrew White is the team’s second-leading scorer (11.1 ppg) while Joseph Ucebo, a 6-10 senior, has been a strong presence on the boards, grabbing 8.9 rebounds per game while chipping in 8.4 points.
ABOUT MIAMI (6-1): Miami shot less than 50 percent (41.4) against Nebraska for the first time since its season-opening win against Texas Rio Grande Valley. Larranaga moved redshirt junior transfer Kamari Murphy into the starting lineup in place of Ivan Cruz Uceda against Nebraska and the athletic 6-8 forward responded by scoring 10 points on 5-of-6 shooting and grabbing five rebounds. The Hurricanes continue to get strong play from their bench with Ja’Quan Newton averaging 11.7 ppg (third on the team behind Sheldon McClellan and Rodriguez) and 6-7 freshman Anthony Lawrence producing a career-high 13 points against the Cornhuskers.
1. WIth Murphy scoring 10 points against Nebraska, Miami has now had 10 different players reach double figures in a game this season.
2. Cruz Uceda, who averaged in double figures in scoring in the first five games, is 1-of-7 from the field in only 23 minutes of playing time in the last two games.
3. Price is the NBA’s No. 2 all-time foul-shooting percentage leader (90.4 percent) and spent seven years as an NBA assistant serving mainly as a shooting coach, but the 49ers are hitting only 67.3 percent from the line.