Miami came out strong early, surging to an early 4-0 lead. Miami's defense was active and forced Notre Dame into some long-range misses. Notre Dame did some damage inside, clearly happy to have Zack Auguste back after a one game academic suspension. Both teams were cold from long distance until 3's by Davon Reed, Manu Lecomte and Sheldon McClellan extended Miami's lead to 14-9 with 10:58 to play in the first frame.
Pat Connaughton nailed Notre Dame's first 3-ball and the athletic guard and pitching prospect made his presence felt on the boards. For Miami, it was no surprise that Tonye Jekiri continued his fine work cleaning up missed shots and keeping possessions alive on the offensive glass.
Angel Rodriguez struggled early, but drained a three to grow Miami's lead to 17-12. James Palmer then cashed in from the wing with a 3 and Miami lead 20-12 with 7:31 left in the half.
Ivan Cruz Uceda made his first appearance and had a solid defensive play to force a missed shot down low. Miami slopped it around for a few possessions, enabling the Fighting Irish to make a run and close the gap to 22-19.
Cruz Uceda scored on a quick layup inside for his first bucket as a 'Cane after missing the first 16 games of the season due to a ridiculously stupid NCAA rule.
Jerian Grant - a surefire NBA prospect - provided a lot of offense for the Irish and appeared to be a handful for the 'Canes defense.
Jekiri scored off a loose ball and botched fast-break attempt and the 'Canes clung to a 26-23 lead with just 3:18 left in the first half.
Ja'Quan Newton made a tough jumper in the key, but a bungling sequence by Sheldon McClellan enabled the Irish to close the gap to 1 on the easiest fast break in college basketball history just before the teams headed to the locker room. The 'Canes held to the slimmest of leads: 30-29.
Miami came out of the break with the same intensity they demonstrated in the first half. Jekiri continued to shine and Newton made some timely buckets leading to another Reed 3-ball that hit every part of the rim before falling through. The Miami run put the 'Canes up 40-31 with 15:32 left in the contest.
McClellan nailed a 3 off an inbound pass and the 'Canes stretched their lead to 43-31. After an Irish 3, Newton slashed to the hoop for a pretty layup.
V.J. Beachem drilled 2 3's sandwiched between an impressive dish to McClellan for a hoop and the harm and then Connaughton hit a three and suddenly the Irish and their fans were back in the game as Miami's double-digit lead had been trimmed to 5.
Newton continued to go on the attack and drove the lane resulting in a pair of converted FTs. At this point in the contest there were no big men on the floor. Reed at 6'6 was the tallest player in a really fast-moving up-and-down game.
All of a sudden, out of nowhere, Miami seemed to regress into the style of play that has been dreadful for them all year long. Terrible hoggish 3-point attempts with no offensive concept and they found themselves behind 52-50. Rodriguez continued to struggle shooting and with each miss came another shot that was worse than the previous one. When Rodriguez is on, he's one of the most electrifying players in the country. When he's off, he seems to not realize that he's off and almost refuses to defer to teammates.
Newton stopped the bleeding temporarily, but Notre Dame really caught fire from deep. It seemed like they couldn't miss. Fortunately, Palmer hit a couple of big shots and with just 5:32 left, Notre Dame led 63-60.
Notre Dame extended their lead to a comanding 68-61 with 3:38 left and the 'Canes needed a bucket. Reed hit a three to close the gap to 68-64 with just three minutes left.
After Newton hit a 2 off a Rodriguez dish, ND held a 70-66 lead with 1:16 left and possession of the ball. The game was effectively over.
When the dust settled, Notre Dame walked away with a gift given to them by Miami - and half-earned by their lights-out 2nd half shooting.
One of the bright spots for the 'Canes was the outstanding play by Newton, who looks like a star in the making. As good as Newton was, Grant was the best player on the court, scoring 23 points and doing serious damage in the 2nd half.
|Miami (FL) Hurricanes|
|Tonye Jekiri, C||4-9||0-0||0-0||4||9||13||0||0||0||0||2||8|
|Deandre Burnett, G||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||2||1||0|
|Davon Reed, G||3-6||3-4||0-0||0||4||4||4||0||1||1||5||9|
|Angel Rodriguez, G||1-10||1-7||1-2||0||1||1||4||0||0||1||3||4|
|Sheldon McClellan, G||6-13||2-6||3-3||0||2||2||1||1||1||1||0||17|
|Omar Sherman, F||0-1||0-1||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Ivan Cruz Uceda, F||1-2||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2|
|Joe Thomas, F||0-0||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Manu Lecomte, G||1-4||1-2||0-0||1||0||1||1||1||0||1||0||3|
|Ja'Quan Newton, G||6-9||0-0||4-6||2||0||2||5||1||1||2||1||16|
|James Palmer, G||3-3||2-2||3-4||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||11|
|Notre Dame Fighting Irish|
|Bonzie Colson, F||1-3||0-0||2-2||0||3||3||0||1||2||0||0||4|
|Jerian Grant, G||8-10||2-3||5-6||0||0||0||8||1||1||3||2||23|
|Pat Connaughton, G||3-10||2-8||2-2||1||10||11||1||0||2||2||2||10|
|Demetrius Jackson, G||4-10||1-6||1-2||2||3||5||4||2||0||1||2||10|
|Steve Vasturia, G||5-8||1-4||0-0||0||5||5||3||1||1||0||3||11|
|Zach Auguste, F||1-3||0-0||2-2||2||2||4||0||1||0||2||0||4|
|V.J. Beachem, F||5-11||3-7||0-0||0||2||2||1||0||1||0||1||13|