The excitement in the BUC was palpable. In his pregame speech Coach Jim Larranaga pleaded with his team to match that excitement, play with the passion, and "dive after every loose ball."
The 'Canes obliged!!
Kenny Kadji nailed a three from Jack McClinton range to open scoring. An early 9-0 run also featured strong moves by Shane Larkin and Durand Scott. The U's defense was its' usual stingy self. Reggie Bullock finally got Carolina on the board with a transition bucket, but every pass and shot attempted was heavily contested. James Michael McAdoo took the ball strong to the rim but was denied sensationally by Kadji. Lebron James and D Wade could be seen cheering from front row next to Donna Shalala!!
Consecutive bombs by Trey McKinney Jones and Larkin stretched the lead out to 22-9, before a long three by Bullock cut the lead back to 10 and ended a long scoring drought by the Heels. PJ Hairston got hot from deep to keep things close, but Miami as usual, had the answers. The teams traded three balls over a 2 minute stretch that would have made Reggie Miller proud. Rion Brown matched Hairston, Hairston matched Larkin. The lead was still double digits. Just before the buzzer Kenny Kadji hit a three in the corner to extend to a 44-27 lead.
In a half where Miami sizzled, Larkin led the way with 14. Scott chipped in 9, and Brown and Kadji 8 a piece. Hairston has 9 on 3 triples for UNC.
The second half started with more of the same. The lead increased to 20 as Julian Gamble followed a deep three by Trey McKinney Jones with a spectacular tip dunk. Kadji blocked another dunk attempt by McAdoo to further invigorate the crowd. Larkin continued his masterful play with another catch and shoot three and a sweet pass to Kadji for a pick and pop triple. The Hurricanes looked unstoppable!! Despite being on fire and alone Larkin hit Kadji for a two handed stuff under the bucket with 10 minutes to go. Just a minute later Suga' Shane was alone with an opportunity to finish himself but tossed it off the window for K2 to flush. (sorry for the quality of the video below) Miami had turned the game into their own personal all-star game!!! The dunk fest continued when Julian Gamble finished a break and hung on the rim. The officials called a T, but it didn't matter. Nothing could dampen the spirit of this team or the arena.
In some ways the performance today almost surpasses the Duke win. It looked and felt like UNC was playing well and competing hard. But the 'Canes were just too good. Offense, defense, inside, out, it is all clicking in Coral Gables. With all the teams ahead of Miami that have fallen there is no telling how high they will be ranked come Monday. Perhaps #1?!?! A strong argument has been made by Jim Larranaga's squad!!
Player of the Game: The coaching staff deserves a game ball for having this team so ready to play. Among actual players Shane Larkin (18 points and a career high 9 assists) gets huge kudos as well.
The Good: Everything. If the Duke game was a statement, this one was an exclamation point. Miami also hit a team record 15 triples!!
The Bad: That this masterful performance had to end!!!
The Ugly: Reggie Johnson's 2 three point attempts. Big Fella we love ya, but keep those in your pocket.
Next Game: Miami hits the road and heads up to Tallahassee to take on the Noles, Wednesday 2/13 7PM EST.
|James Michael McAdoo||3-13||0-0||0-0||1||3||0||1||6|
|Trey McKinney Jones||2-4||2-3||0-0||0||2||1||1||6|
- Technical Fouls:
- BankUnited Center, Coral Gables, FL