Coach Larranaga and Shane Larkin were happy to get the win. - Kevin C. Cox
Reggie Johnson (21 points 10 rebounds) and Kenny Kadji (12 points 11 rebounds) each had double doubles, and Shane Larkin added 13 points and 6 assists as the Miami Hurricanes won their season opener at the Bank United Center, 87-79 over Stetson.
Both teams came out firing, but Stetson was the hotter club to start. Aaron Graham hit his first 4 shots, all from downtown, and the Hatters jumped out to an early lead. The teams traded hoops through out the first 12 minutes with Miami's inability to find shooters in transition preventing them from taking the lead. Each time they got close Graham or Chris Perez seemed to knock down an open jumper. Reggie Johnson missed a number of point blank shots as well, starting 0-6 from the floor. Johnson nonetheless was active inside, and finally hit a baby hook with about 7 minutes left to break the spell and get going. A tip in by Kenny Kadji temporarily tied the score at 29, but Perez responded immediately with a three point play on a nice jump stop at the free throw line to regain the lead. Not to be outdone Big Reg hit the offensive glass for an and-one of his own to tie things at 32, and imposed his will with another put back for the lead a minute later. A fishy goal tend call at the buzzer on Julian Gamble evened things at 34 to end the half. Johnson finished the 1st half with 14 points and 5 rebounds. Stetson finished the half 7-14 from downtown with Graham 4-6.
The Hurricanes came out a much more focused team in the second half. Rion Brown knocked down a three and Shane Larkin added a 15 footer on Miami's first 2 possessions for a quick 5 point lead. The 'Canes clearly had more energy on defense. The teams traded buckets with Adam Pegg's post move and another jumper by Graham keeping Stetson close. A long distance jumper by Kadji and a floater by Shane Larkin extended the lead to 11 with 12 minutes to go. Stetson continued to hang around though. Despite Miami's dominance on the glass, the Hatters cut UM's lead to 6 on a layup by Graham. Two clutch buckets by Bishop Daniels swelled the lead back to 10, however a tip in and 3 pointer by Pegg kept the Canes from putting it away. Willie Green's dunk even cut the lead to 6 with 5 minutes left. Trey McKinney Jones extended the lead with a jumper, but when Pegg hit another three a minute later the lead was cut all the way to 3. The Hatters just would not go away. Miami responded. Some clutch free throws by Larkin, a big basket by Johnson, and a layup by McKinney Jones on a nifty pass by RJ put finally put it away.
McKinney Jones finished with 14 big points. Graham led Stetson with 22.
Player of the Game: Reggie Johnson. Despite struggling at times to convert, his presence on the offensive glass was the single biggest factor in UM's win.
The Good: Miami finished with 19 assists and just 11 turnovers. The 'Canes also held a big advantage on the boards 37-28. Johnson had 7 offensive rebounds. Had Graham not been red hot in the first half, this game would not have been nearly as tight. UM moved the ball effectively all night, and showed signs of dominating defense in the second. A win is a win, especially coming off the exhibition loss to St Leo's which should now be behind them.
The Bad: Miami gave up far too many open shots in the first half. They failed to put away Stetson when the lead swelled to double digits in the second. More consistency is needed as the prepare for the tougher teams on their schedule.
The Ugly: Despite the big game, Johnson was 0-3 from downtown. While Big Reg is capable of making deep shots, his flat footed release will not soon make anyone forget Reggie Miller.
Redshirt freshman Bishop Daniels scored his first ever points at UM with a three from the wing 10 minutes in. Daniels got his first assist on a look away pass that led to a Julian Gamble dunk just a minute later. Daniels finished with 7 points the 3 steals.
Miami played with out senior guard Durand Scott who served the first of a three games he will miss to start the season carried over from last year for illegal benefits.
Julian Gamble returned after missing all of 2011-12 with a torn ACL. Gamble finished with 9 points and 6 boards.
Referee Jamie Caldwell left the game early on with an illness and the officials were forced to go to a two man unit.
|Percentages||.444||.419||.714||Team Rebounds: 2|
|T. McKinney Jones||36||5-10||1-3||3-3||1||4||2||1||0||0||2||14|
|Percentages||.525||.333||.667||Team Rebounds: 1|
- Technical Fouls:
- BankUnited Center, Coral Gables, FL
- Jerry Heater, J.B. Caldwell, Brian Shey