Steve Mitchell-US PRESSWIRE
The big story coming into last night's game against Jacksonville wasn't Reggie Johnson's injured tailbone or Durand Scott's last night of suspension. It wasn't talk about a team that was ranked by preseason experts as talented enough to be on the edge of the Top 25.
No,the focal point of the game was Miami's intensity - or recent lack of intensity. At least for one night, that criticism could be put to rest. Led by Shane Larkin's offensive explosion, Miami played hard and fast on both ends of the floor and sent Jacksonville home with a tick in the L column.
Shane Larkin (27pts, 5ast, 4reb, 1stl) led the way offensively with a career-high in points scored. Julian Gamble (13pts, 2reb, 2ast, 2stl, 1blk) started in place of Reggie Johnson and demonstrated why he's going to be a big part of the team this season.
Trey McKinney Jones (11pts, 6reb, 3ast, 3stl) continued to earn the nickname "Swiss Army Knife" as he can fill so many roles for the 'Canes. Rumor has it that Fox is planning a MacGuyver spin-off and TMJ would be a perfect fit for the part.
Rion Brown (8pts, 7reb, 1ast, 2stl) hit the boards with intensity and was efficient shooting the ball. Erik Swoope (7pts, 2reb, 1ast, 2stl) had three monstrous dunks in only 16 minutes of play and was a spark for the team when he was on the court.
It seems that no matter who Miami plays, there's always someone who goes ape-s**t. Tonight it was Jacksonville's Dylan Fritsch (23pts, 1reb, 1ast) who had been 4-21 from the field and 2-14 from beyond the arc this season. Fritsch made the game seem a lot closer than it was as he hit high-difficulty shots, including a three from Jack McClinton territory.
Offensively, the night belonged to Larkin. Once he realized he could annihilate Dolphin defenders at will he sliced them to ribbons. Sure, JU is a team Miami is supposed to beat and tonight, for the most part, the 'Canes played like that team.
It's great being able to sit within earshot of Coach Larranaga. He's animated on the sideline and his vocal chords were on full display last night. Some notable quotes from the game:
To the team: "We've got to get a lot tougher"
To Kenny Kadji after passing up an open three for a drive that ended in a turnover: "You are who you are. You're a helluva shooter, Kenny. Shoot the ball."
Player of the Game: Shane Larkin. The speedy sophomore was all over the place.
The Good: Miami wins. End of story.
The Bad: After the FGCU game, I'm gonna leave this one blank. Hopefully, this is a stabilizing win and the 'Canes can get back to the hard-nosed brand of basketball they are capable of.
The Ugly: As I feared, the attendance at the BUC did look like a late lunch crowd at Denny's. C'mon people. Get to the games!
|Percentages||.400||.350||.500||Team Rebounds: 5|
|T. McKinney Jones||38||2-6||1-3||6-6||0||6||3||0||3||0||2||11|
|Percentages||.590||.333||.657||Team Rebounds: 4|
- Technical Fouls: None
- Arena: BankUnited Center, Coral Gables, FL
- Attendance: 3,135
Next Game: Miami hosts Detroit next Saturday, Nov. 24th at 2pm. Detroit is a talented, competitive team and presents the 'Canes with their biggest test so far this season.