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Miami Basketball Slices Through UTRGV Like a Hot Knife Through Butter; Win 86-59

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The 'Canes opened their season on Friday the 13th. Usually, this date is reserved for superstition, elves and other creatures of magic . . . and of course: slasher movies. Fortunately, the only victims tonight were the Vaqueros of UT - Rio Grande Valley. It wasn't death of any kind, whether by butcher knife or pitchfork - but by points on the scoreboard.

Evan Pike-USA TODAY Sports

The 'Canes open the season expected to win this one, just as Jason expects to chase down his victims no matter how slow he plods through the forest. Even without Kamari Murphy (suspended for 3 games due to the violation of team rules) Miami used superior size and athleticism to open up a can of you know what on you know who.

The 'Canes, taking the role of Jason, fell behind early, but Sheldon McClellan and Davon Reed had answers to keep it close. Ivan Cruz Uceda hit an open three after some good ball movement, and the 'Canes were off and running as Angel Rodriguez tossed the first of hopefully dozens of successful lobs to McClellan this season.

But the Vaqueros weren't ready to quit. Some timely 3-pt shooting kept them in it, but the 'Canes inability to hit open shots early appeared to be more of a factor. James Palmer looked solid taking the ball to the rim, but overall, both teams looked a bit sloppy on the offensive end.

Tonye Jekiri, converted a lay-up off a missed Cruz Uceda shot, and it looked like the senior big man was trying to assert himself as he crashed the defensive boards with reckless abandon.

The most fitting name in the game belonged to Dakota Slaughter of the Vaqueros. Slaughter nailed a three to tie the game at a woeful 15-15 with more than 8 minutes left in the first half.

The 'Canes started finding some more offensive rhythm and surged ahead on the strong play of Angel Rodriguez, who seemed much more focused on getting his teammates involved. Rodriguez even found Cruz Uceda on a deft bounce pass which lead to a two-handed dunk by the big (yes, that really happened). Rodriguez wasn't finished. The shifty point-guard found McClellan for another lob and the 'Canes were surging toward the end of the first frame, leading 28-20.

Cruz Uceda started off the second half by nailing a three and the 'Canes looked to have benefited from a half-time "pep" talk from Coach Larranaga. Just 5 minutes in, the 'Canes were up 42-27. Then, McClellan got hot from beyond the arc and nailed two in a row to give the 'Canes a big lead that they would never relinquish.

By the time the dust settled, even Mike Robinson was draining 3's and the 'Canes were on the way to a big-time rout.

The Good: Ivan Cruz Uceda. Expected to back-up Jekiri and Murphy this season, Cruz Uceda seems to have had his head transplanted onto the more athletic body of an entirely different human being. I'm not saying he's a superior athlete, but last season it seemed as though his feet were nailed into the floor.

Angel Rodriguez really looked to be more focused on passing the ball - and doing so effectively. Sure, he was pretty crappy shooting the rock, but if he plays within himself and focuses on being the floor general, maximizing the offensive fire-power around him, the team will flourish.

James Palmer played a great game from beginning to end.

Game Metaphor Footage: Miami = Dark Side; UTRGV = Alderaan

The Bad: Kamari Murphy's suspension. Out of all the players I was looking forward to watching today, it was Murphy. In all fairness, I did get to see him - sitting on the bench.

The Ugly: Ja'Quan Newton's missed lay-up and terrible pass in the first half. Early on in the game, Newton - also expected to contribute a ton this season - looked a bit lost. His point blank missed 'chippie' was something a person does the first time they ever play basketball. Newton, in all fairness, got it together in the second half and looked like the player h

UT-Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros
STARTERS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Dakota Slaughter, F 2-7 1-5 0-0 1 1 2 1 0 0 3 4 5
Shaquille Hines, F 7-14 3-4 1-1 3 3 6 0 0 0 1 4 18
Dan Kimasa, F 5-11 0-0 0-0 0 5 5 1 0 0 1 3 10
Nick Dixon, G 0-7 0-2 1-2 1 3 4 1 1 0 1 1 1
J.J. Thompson, G 1-5 1-3 2-2 0 1 1 5 1 0 4 3 5
BENCH FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Christopher Ikuenobe, F 0-0 0-0 2-3 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 1 2
Adonis Rwabigwi, F 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 0 0 1 2 3 0
Everett Osborne, G 2-3 1-2 2-2 0 1 1 0 1 0 1 1 7
Walter Jones, G 1-1 0-0 0-2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2
Antonio Green, G 4-6 1-3 0-0 0 4 4 1 1 0 0 4 9
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
22-55 7-19 8-12 6 28 34 9 4 1 15 26 59
40.0% 36.8% 66.7%
Miami (FL) Hurricanes
STARTERS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Tonye Jekiri, C 2-5 0-1 3-4 2 10 12 1 0 0 1 3 7
Ivan Cruz Uceda, F 5-9 4-7 2-2 1 6 7 1 1 0 1 2 16
Angel Rodriguez, G 2-10 1-7 0-1 1 1 2 7 2 0 0 1 5
Sheldon McClellan, G 6-10 2-4 4-4 1 3 4 1 1 0 1 3 18
Davon Reed, G 4-11 0-4 6-9 1 2 3 0 1 0 0 3 14
BENCH FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Ebuka Izundu, C 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
Chris Stowell, F 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Anthony Lawrence Jr., F 0-1 0-0 1-2 2 0 2 0 0 0 1 1 1
Ja'Quan Newton, G 3-6 0-1 5-7 0 2 2 1 1 0 3 0 11
James Palmer, G 3-7 2-4 3-4 1 5 6 3 0 0 0 0 11
Mike Robinson, G 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 3
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB DREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
26-62 10-31 24-33 15 30 45 14 6 0 8 16 86
41.9% 32.3% 72.7%

Next Game: The 'Canes take on Louisiana on Nov 13th @7pm at the BUC. Come out and support Miami Hoops!