MIAMI (SportsDirect Inc.) – Miami is two points away from being undefeated entering ACC play, but regardless of the team’s one loss, the Hurricanes have received some national attention. The 15th-ranked Hurricanes tangle with visiting Syracuse on Saturday in their first league game of the season.
Miami did not pull away from Princeton until the final minutes its last time out, but it still escaped with a 76-64 victory to win its sixth straight game since a 78-77 loss to Northeastern. “That was exactly what the doctor ordered,” Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga said. “We needed a challenge. We needed a gut check. We needed someone to really test us. We needed to fall behind and have to come back.” Miami ranks in the top 20 nationally in scoring (85.3), while Syracuse is way down the list at 215th nationally (72 ppg). The Orange opened their ACC campaign with a 72-61 setback at Pittsburgh earlier this week.
ABOUT SYRACUSE (10-4, 0-1 ACC): The Orange continue to play without coach Jim Boeheim (suspension), but interim coach Mike Hopkins is feeling much of the same stress that Boeheim has felt as the team’s coach over the last four decades. “I felt really good for 35 minutes. I had heartburn the last five,” Hopkins told reporters after Syracuse missed its final six shots against Pitt. “Sometimes the ball just doesn’t go your way.” Tyler Roberson (15 points, seven rebounds) and Michael Gbinije (14 points, seven assists) were among the bright spots against the Panthers.
ABOUT MIAMI (11-1, 0-0): Angel Rodriguez paced the team in points (14) and assists (five) against Princeton, raising his season averages to 12.5 points and 3.9 assists. The senior guard is complemented in the backcourt by Sheldon McClellan (15.4 points), who is coming off a season-low six-point effort his last time out. Ja’Quan Newton has shot at least 50 percent from the floor in eight of the 12 games and averages 11.8 points – nearly triple his mark (4.0) from his freshman year.
- Miami shoots 41.2 percent from 3-point range as a team, led by Ivan Cruz Uceda (56.1 percent) and McClellan (47.5) among players with double-digit attempts.
- Hurricanes C Tonye Jekiri (9.2 points, 10.1 rebounds) has only three double-doubles despite nearly averaging one for the season.
- Gbinije had made multiple 3-pointers in every game this season before going 1-of-4 against Pitt.
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