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MIAMI (SportsDirect Inc.) – Miami (Fla.) returns from a 10-day break on Saturday as it hosts Charleston, which is riding a five-game winning streak that includes a 12-point victory over LSU and freshman phenom Ben Simmons. The 19th-ranked Hurricanes showed an improved defense in their last game, a 66-55 victory over Florida.
Miami has held its opponents to 4-of-30 shooting from 3-point range in its past two games after being burned from long range in a loss to Northeastern (12-of-22) and an overtime win at Nebraska (9-of-18). “I really was impressed with Miami defensively,” Florida coach Mike White told the media after his team’s loss to the Hurricanes. “We knew what their offensive numbers were, which were really impressive. But they were equally impressive defensively.” That defense will be tested by 6-6 junior guard Canyon Barry (21.4 points a game) — the son Rick Barry, who averaged 37.4 points as a senior at Miami and is the only player to lead the NCAA, ABA and NBA in single-season scoring. The Hurricanes passed their first test against the younger Barry, holding him scoreless in last year’s 67-40 win over the Cougars.
ABOUT CHARLESTON (7-2): The Cougars’ offense revolves around Barry, who has attempted 61 more shots than Cameron Johnson, the team’s second-leading scorer at 12.1 points a game, and 26 more foul shots (61-35) than anyone else on the team. Barry is shooting only 41.4 percent from the field and 34.5 from 3-point range but is an impressive 86.9 percent from the foul line. Versatile junior Payton Hulsey, a 6-5 junior guard, is averaging only 4.8 points a game but is second on the team in rebounding (4.9) and leads the team in assists (30) and steals (16) while turning the ball over only nine times.
ABOUT MIAMI (8-1): Senior shooting guard Sheldon McClellan (team-leading 16.8 points a game) continues to be among the nation’s most efficient players, shooting 59 percent from the field (54.8 on 3-pointers) and 87.8 percent from the foul line. In addition to being one of just seven teams in the nation shooting at least 49.9 percent from the field and 42.4 from 3-point range, the Hurricanes are an impressive 78.3 percent from the foul line with three starters – McClellan, point guard Angel Rodriguez and swingman Davon Reed – all above 80 percent. Sophomore point guard Ja’Quan Newton, who has raised his average from four points a game as a freshman to 11 points this season, anchors a deep bench.
- All 10 Miami scholarship players are shooting at least 40 percent from the field with five of them (McClellan, Tonye Jekiri, Ivan Cruz Uceda, Anthony Lawrence and Kamari Murphy) making at least half their shots.
- Charleston plays in the Colonial Athletic Association with Northeastern, the team that handed Miami its only loss.
- Miami outrebounded Florida, one of the nation’s top rebounding teams, 42-31 and the Hurricanes face a Charleston team that has only one player over 6-8 — redshirt freshman Nick Harris (6-10).
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