On a night where UM was short-handed to begin, they also appeared to play with out their A game. Missing Reggie Johnson for a second straight game with a thumb injury, the Hurricanes missed an opportunity to knock off #4 Arizona in a sloppy loss.
In the first half, Arizona was very physical on defense. They really did a good job of keeping Durand Scott and Shane Larkin from penetrating, and the refs certainly let them play. That coupled with red hot three point shooting, (6-10) and a domination of the glass (unofficially 21-8 in the 1st half) were the keys to a 37-25 lead. Only Kenny Kadji and his 13 points kept Miami in it. Mark Lyons led the way for the Wildcats with 10. Durand Scott appeared to turn an ankle very early on, and was not the same player who lit up Hawaii for 20 just one night earlier.
Early in the second half, the 'Canes were more efficient on offense but uncharacteristically flat on defense. Lyons penetrated the defense with no resistance for a layup on one possession and UM left gigantic AU center Caleb Tarczewski alone for a dunk on another. Tarczewski had to have been hard to miss, he killed UM all night on the glass. Johnson's absence was a big factor tonight. Anytime the Hurricanes got any momentum going, either a missed front end of a one and one, an untimely offensive rebound surrendered, or a spectacular finish by Lyons or Nick Johnson thwarted things.
Had Miami played at full strength they still would have had their work cut out for them against a very very good team. But Hurricanes fans can only wonder, What if?!?!
Player of the Game: Lyons. 19 points and 4 assists and a plethora of nice moves. Kevin Parrom also hurt UM with a nice all-around game (11 points 8 rebounds).
The Good: Kenny Kadji. 19 points on 9-15 from the floor, and probably could have done more with more touches.
The Bad: Offense, Defense, Rebounding, Shooting. But especially the D and the boards. Zona got far too many easy looks. Miami got crushed on the glass.
The Ugly: Listening to Miles Simon all night. What, Mike Bibby wasn't available???