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'Canes Get Divine Intervention from an Angel, knock off Gators 69-67

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The 'Canes leaned on Angel Rodriguez in the 2nd half as the junior point guard nailed tons of clutch shots giving Miami a pulse-pounding win in Gainesville over the 7/8 Florida Gators.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Wow. Where to begin? How about at the beginning?

High hopes for a quick start by the 'Canes were immediately dashed as the 'Canes couldn't score for the first 5 minutes of the game and fell behind 9-0, before Manu Lecomte broke the seal with a three from the top of the key. James Palmer followed with one of his own and the battle was joined.

Angel Rodriguez showed his defensive prowess on a steal and finish and his sick passing ability on a ridiculous no-look to Omar Sherman for a hoop and the harm. Sheldon McClellan struggled to score early, but the junior wing was aggressive on the boards and demonstrated a deft passing touch on a nice feed to Tonye Jekiri. He later power-slammed a great lob tossed by JaQuan Newton, one of the 'Canes highly touted freshmen.

Despite some positive possessions for the 'Canes, Miami's interior defense was ineffective in the first half as Gator after Gator sliced through the lane and converted a plethora of point-blank opportunities and WIDE-OPEN three-point attempts. 'Canes defenders overplayed their assignments and were killed on back door cuts. On the flip-side, Florida's defense was swarming and forcing bunches of turnovers. The Gators held a 33-21 lead at the half. The Gators shot 60.9% in the first frame, while Miami struggled at a 34.6% clip.

Palmer got the 'Canes off to a quick start in the second half, converting on a layup and hitting a medium-range jumper, but Miami's defense continued to part like the Red Sea allowing Michael Frazier III to waltz inside for an easy bucket. Eli Carter and Jon Horford nailed 3-pointers and the Gators extended their lead to a 41-28 lead with 15:50 to go.

Coach Larranaga went back to a big page from last season and switched to zone, which paid immediate dividends and helped trim the lead until Carter drained a three from Jack McClinton territory. The Gators were up 54-42 with just 7 minutes to play and that's when Rodriguez really went to work.

Rodriguez got hot - no check that - he got incendiary - and cut the Gator lead to 54-51 with back-to-back-to-back threes with five minutes left in the game.

After a free-throw by Florida's Devin Robinson, Sherman looked like an Ogre tossing a boulder at a small village when draining a three to cut the Gator lead to 1.

Rodriguez continued his hot shooting, nailing a step-back three with 16 seconds to play to put the 'Canes up by one. It was an absolute dagger!

The Good: Miami showed incredible fortitude in coming back from a late double-digit deficit. If the 'Canes can improve on last season's 17-16 record by a few games, this HUGE QUALITY win will factor big-time on Selection Sunday

The Bad: Miami's man-to-man defense was flat-out awful. Some of that was due to hot shooting by the Gators, but most of it was overplaying and getting caught on ill-advised double-teams.

The Ugly: James Palmer had a nice game, but the photos we had available for this re-cap were mostly pictures of the Florida Gators doing good things, which is contrary to the end result. LOL.

Highlights here: http://www.hurricanesports.com/mediaPortal/player.dbml?id=3542791&db_oem_id=28700

Miami (FL) Hurricanes
STARTERS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Tonye Jekiri, C 2-4 0-0 4-4 3 5 8 1 1 3 2 4 8
Joe Thomas, F 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Angel Rodriguez, G 7-14 5-8 5-7 0 2 2 3 3 0 3 0 24
Sheldon McClellan, G 4-10 0-1 1-3 2 5 7 5 0 0 1 1 9
Manu Lecomte, G 1-3 1-3 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 3 4 3
BENCH FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Omar Sherman, F 3-4 1-2 1-1 0 4 4 1 0 1 0 1 8
JaQuan Newton, G 2-3 0-0 1-2 0 1 1 3 0 0 1 0 5
James Palmer, G 4-9 2-3 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 2 10
Deandre Burnett, G 1-2 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
24-49 9-18 12-17 7 20 27 14 4 4 13 12 69
49.0% 50.0% 70.6%
Florida Gators
STARTERS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Jon Horford, C 5-9 3-6 4-4 0 7 7 0 1 3 2 2 17
Jacob Kurtz, F 3-6 0-0 0-0 3 5 8 2 0 0 2 4 6
Michael Frazier II, G 6-11 1-2 0-0 0 2 2 1 2 1 1 0 13
Eli Carter, G 8-9 3-4 2-2 0 1 1 2 1 0 3 5 21
Kasey Hill, G 1-9 0-1 0-0 1 1 2 8 1 0 2 3 2
BENCH FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Devin Robinson, F 1-3 1-3 1-2 0 1 1 1 2 1 2 2 4
Chris Chiozza, G 2-3 0-1 0-1 0 0 0 1 1 0 1 1 4
Lexx Edwards, G 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
26-50 8-17 7-9 5 19 24 15 8 5 13 18 67
52.0% 47.1% 77.8%

Technical Fouls: PLAYERS: None - TEAMS: None