Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports
In a game of runs, FSU's final burst was not quite enough to upset UM.
They can't all be masterpieces! Miami held off FSU in a game where the 'Canes shot 64% from the floor but never did quite run away with it.
Miami got off to a slow start and fell behind 11-2 with three early turnovers on offense. The 'Canes looked flat defensively as well, allowing Kiel Turpin to get an easy look down low, and giving a second chance opportunity that Aaron Thomas converted with a wide open jumper. UM finally showed some life when Reggie Johnson checked in and got two early buckets. Shane Larkin, who almost never comes out of a game, found himself on the bench for a few minutes. When he returned it was clear he got the message as he was far more aggressive and effective. Miami eventually tied the score at 16 on a jumper by Trey McKinney Jones. UM started to force turnovers, and played much more effectively during a 25-5 run that gave them a 8 point lead. Julian Gamble's effective inside play sparked the Hurricanes to a 27-18 lead. The Noles climbed back in it, capitalizing off Miami turnovers to cut the lead back to 4 on a 3 point play by Ian Miller. Johnson, however, starting schooling surprise starter freshman Michael Ojo again, to help build the lead back up. Big Reg hit his first four shots of the game, showing the low post game that 'Canes fans missed so dearly when he was out with injury. UM as a team shot the ball tremendously when they did not turn it over . Larkin found Erik Swoope for a dunk in the final minute, but FSU's Devon Bookert hit a three at the halftime buzzer to cut the lead to 38-30 at the intermission.
Johnson led the way with 8, and Durand Scott, McKinney Jones, Larkin and Gamble each had 6 at the half. Snaer and Okaro White had 6 each for the Seminoles. The Hurricanes missed their one and only attempt from 3 but were an incredible 17-23 from the floor against Leonard Hamilton's vaunted D.
An odd flagrant foul on McKinney Jones opened the second half, but Miami did not get rattled. Kenny Kadji nailed a three, a minute in, for his first bucket of the game. Turpin and Johnson traded baskets down low as the physicality of the game picked up a notch. Despite some real tough play and effort from FSU, Miami extended back to a 12 point lead following a long three by Larkin and a steal and old fashioned three point play by Scott. The 'Noles however would just not go away. Back to back threes by Terry Whisnant cut the lead back to 4. A tip in by White even tied it, before Miami responded with 2 dunks by Gamble. The teams traded buckets and free throws and the lead was just 6 when Larkin made a huge play and took over the game for a stretch. He scrambled for a loose ball, gained control and finished acrobatically despite being fouled had from behind. Another Larkin runner followed by a deep three closed out the Larkin run and made it 68-56 with under 5 to go.The game appeared won and FSU needed a TO as Sugar Shane celebrated his way the Miami bench. But this one was NOT over! A 7-0 run capped by an Ian Miller jumper made it suspenseful again. Bookert cut it three as the game got frantic in the final minutes. Miami held on though, behind some clutch free throws and happily exited Tallahassee with the win.
Despite sizzling from the floor, this was not a vintage all-around Miami performance. They turned the ball over far too often. But finding a way to win when you don't quite have your A game is the sign of a great team. And the Hurricanes have certainly shown the ability to do so. Give FSU credit for playing giving the 'Canes their best shot. And in the end, a win of your rival on the road, is always a thing of beauty.
Player of the Game: Reggie Johnson (14 pts 7 reb) for the first half, and Shane Larkin (22 pts 4 assists) for the second. Larkin is piling up the POTG's this season!!
The Good: The shooting was outstanding. UM also showed poise every time FSU rallied.
The Bad: The turnovers kept FSU in the game every time Miami looked to pull away.
The Ugly: 11-19 from the line. If Miami can improve in any area, this is it.
Next Game: Miami heads to Littlejohn to take on the Clemson Tigers, Sunday 2/17 at 6PM.
|Trey McKinney Jones||3-4||0-1||0-0||0||3||0||2||6|
|Terry Whisnant II||2-5||2-5||2-2||0||1||0||1||8|
- Technical Fouls:
- Donald L. Tucker Center, Tallahassee, FL