Looking to rebound from a tough 1st round OT loss at the DirecTV Wooden Legacy, the 'Canes took on host Cal State Fullerton in the consolation game.
When the 3's fall for Miami, even short-handed, the 'Canes are tough to beat. For most of this season, however, the 3's have not been falling true. James Kelly hit a turn around jumper for Miami's first points and the 'Canes looked to attack the rim early. Rion Brown hit a tough runner and Davon Reed took an outlet pass off a Donnavan Kirk block and raced down court for the hoop and the harm.
It looked like the 'Canes were going to consistently attack the rim early, but old habits die hard. By halftime Miami was a miserly 1-10 from beyond the arc. Even with struggling from long range, Miami was up 23-17 going into the break.
The 'Canes came out with a lot of energy, especially on the defensive end. Reed hit a smooth jumper and appeared to turn his ankle. Then Reed found Kelly for a wide open three that snapped the net on the way through. After another defensive stop, Garrius Adams drilled a trifecta and the 'Canes were rolling.
But a lopsided victory wasn't meant to be. The 'Canes blew a 17-point lead with just under 9 minutes left in the game. The Titans went on a Sheldon Blackwell and Michael Williams fueled 18-2 run to close within three points and a chance to tie with under a minute left. Brown was rocked by an illegal pick and the 'Canes, for the second day in a row, had a chance to close out the game in regulation.
After some shabby FT shooting, Miami somehow found themselves up by 2, 48-46, with time running out. The Titans rebounded Reed's missed FT and raced down the court, looking to either win the game with a three or force yet another OT game in the young season. The 3-pointer clanked out and the put-back attempt was just a bit off.
The 'Canes had secured a much-needed win.
The Good: The 'Canes held on...Tonye Jekiri hasn't lit it up offensively so far this season, but his turnaround jumper in the first half looked fluid.
The Bad: The 3-pt shooting is either 'All Systems Go' or 'Closed For Maintenance'. Unfortunately, it's usually the latter so far this season. Also, squandering away a 17-point lead with under 8 minutes to play is pretty bad.
The Ugly: The 1st half backcourt violation committed by Miami looked like it was in slow-motion. 10 1st half turnovers are way too many.
The Bottom Line: Coach Larranaga changed the starting lineup once again. I think starting Reed at the PG slot is the best move for a couple of reasons. 1) Reed is a superior defender. 2) Davon "Need Minutes' Reed will develop faster and be ready to be a big-time contributor on next year's balanced squad.
Highlights (ACC Digital)