CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami/SportsDirect) – The No. 17 Miami Hurricanes are heading into a tough battle at their home arena.READ MORE: Broward Commissioner Dale Holness To Run For Late Rep. Alcee Hastings’ Congressional Seat
Miami has been an offensive machine, but the Hurricanes host a Florida team Tuesday that plays suffocating defense.
Although the rivalry goes back to 1928, this pivotal early season battle will be the first true road game for the Gators against the Hurricanes since 2005.
The Hurricanes average 87.6 points a game and have done it efficiently, shooting 51.1 percent from the field, 42.5 percent on 3-point shots and 78.2 percent from the foul line.
Putting up those kind of numbers against Florida, which is allowing 58.7 points a game on 36.8 percent shooting while outrebounding their foes 46-36, isn’t likely.
“I have not been part of a team as talented as we are on the glass,” first-year Florida coach Mike White told reporters after his team grabbed 57 rebounds in a 75-55 victory over Richmond.
After Miami blasted Charlotte 86-60, coach Jim Larranaga said he is seeing improvement in his team’s 3-point defense, which was a problem in a one-point upset loss to Northeastern and an overtime victory over Nebraska.
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ABOUT FLORIDA (6-1): The frontcourt trio of 6-8 senior Dorian Finney-Smith (14.3 points, 9.0 rebounds), 6-11 sophomore John Egbunu (12.7, 8.3) and 6-8 sophomore Devin Robinson (11.1, 8.0 rebounds) have been carrying the offensive load in addition to cleaning glass for the Gators.
Outside shooting has been a problem with Florida hitting only 30.4 percent from beyond the arc.
Highly touted freshman guard KeVaughn Allen showed some signs of breaking out of a shooting slump by going 2-of-4 on 3-pointers against Richmond after starting the season 4-of-22.
ABOUT MIAMI (7-1): Shooting guard Sheldon McClellan, who came off the bench against Charlotte because he missed practice the day before the game with a lower body injury, tops the Hurricanes in scoring at 15.9 points a game on 59.2 percent shooting from the field and 87.9 percent accuracy from the foul line.
Miami has been getting solid play from both of its point guards, senior starter Angel Rodriguez (12.4 points., 4.3 assists) and reserve Ja’Quan Newton (12.0 points).
Junior forward Kamari Murphy has started the last two games in place of senior Ivan Cruz Uceda and produced on both ends of the floor (10.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 blocks) while Uceda provided a lift on the bench by hitting three 3-pointers against Charlotte.
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- Rodriguez scored 22 second-half points and hit the winning 3-point shot to beat the Gators last December in Gainesville at a time when Florida was ranked in the top 10.
- Florida leads the series 45-23.
- In its seven wins this season, Miami has led 1,414 minutes, 19 seconds out of 1,425 minutes played.
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