Canes Stifle Tech In Exhibition Opener

Rob Carr

Miami opens the season 11/8 against St. Francis at the BUC.

Courtesy UM

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Rion Brown’s 20 points led the University of Miami men’s basketball team past Florida Tech, 84-55, in the season-opening exhibition game at the BankUnited Center Wednesday.


After weeks of practicing and playing against each other, Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga was glad his team was finally able to face an actual opponent.

"It’s great for our players to play against outside competition," Larrañaga said. "They’re tired of seeing each other. I’d like us to have two or three exhibitions or scrimmages, but we only get one exhibition and one scrimmage."

Brown got the Hurricanes offense going, throwing down a thunderous alley-oop from Garrius Adams to score Miami’s first points of the year.

"Me and Rion practice a lot together and obviously it showed today," Adams said. "We did a good job and the rest of the team did, too."

After holding Florida Tech scoreless for nearly five minutes, Chris Carter hit a three to get the Panthers on the board and snap a 7-0 Hurricanes run.

The Hurricanes built a big lead early in the first half, running a 23-6 lead with 10:26 to go. Brown and Adams combined for 25 points in the first half to propel Miami to a 40-18 lead at the break.

"He and Garrius are seniors," Larrañaga said of his senior wings. "We need them both to play hard and well."

Florida Tech battled back in the second half, cutting Miami’s 32-point halftime lead to 10 with 11:09 to go. But the Hurricanes proved to be too much for the Panthers, pulling away over the remainder of the second half to finish off their 29-point victory.

Adams shined in his first game action since the 2011-12 season. The talented wing finished with 16 points, tied for second-most for the Canes with freshman Deandre Burnett.

"I’ve been practicing for a while now so I don’t feel like this is anything more than how we practice," Adams said. "We practice hard and play hard. I felt great."

Burnett opened the game cold, scoring just four first half points on 1-of-5 shooting. But the Miami native found his stroke in the second half, leading all Canes with 12 points after the intermission.

"Anytime I step out on the court with my team, with my brothers, it’s a great feeling," Burnett said. "My teammates encouraged me and that helped all the nerves go away."

While Burnett was the standout freshman, fellow newcomers Manu Lecomte, Davon Reed and James Kelly saw their first game action in orange and green. Lecomte started and finished with two points and three assists, while Reed added six points and Kelly grabbed three rebounds off the bench.

Sophomore center Tonye Jekiri and transfer big man Donnavan Kirk worked hard on the glass for the Hurricanes. Jekiri scored three points and led the Canes with 10 rebounds, while Kirk reeled in nine boards and scored 13 points in his first game back at Miami since the 2010-11 season.

"I would have liked for Tonye to score a little bit more," Larrañaga said. "He missed a couple of shots and got himself in a hurry a little bit."

While Miami won by a large margin, Larrañaga saw plenty of room for improvement for his team.

"I told the team after the game that this is a whole new environment," Larrañaga said. "Every guy has got a different role. We have a whole new starting five, a whole new substitution pattern. Everybody had a different role and until we gain some positive experiences, we’re going to have a lot of things that are going to need to be ironed out."

The Hurricanes are back in action Friday, Nov. 8, in their regular season opener against St. Francis (NY). Tipoff against the Terriers is schedule for 10 p.m. at the BankUnited Center.

Season tickets, mini-plans and non-coference single-game tickets are on sale now, and can be purchase at CanesTix.com or by calling the BankUnited Center Ticket Office at 305.284.2263. The ticket office is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.

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SOTU Analysis:   Adams looked like a star with 16 points 10 rebounds 5 assists and 2 steals.  Brown got off to a quick start with a three ball and alley oop dunk on UM's first two possessions.

SOTU correspondent Josh Kaufman says that freshman wing Davon Reed has "Scottie Pippen like" mannerisms, especially on D.

Deandre Burnett is a pure scorer.  Tonye Jekiri struggled offensively but played with aggression.

James Kelly also had a rough go,  going scoreless in his UM debut in 9 minutes.

Donnovan Kirk had a very nice game with 13 points 9 rebounds and 3 blocks.

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