They came, they saw, they conquered.
The Miami Hurricanes went through the field in Puerto Rico like Alexander the Great went through Asia.
Tonight, UM faced a plucky and nationally ranked Butler team that refused to go away, but did not have the weapons to keep up with the 'Canes.
Led by Ja'Quan Newton, Angel Rodriguez, and Tonye Jekiri, the 'Canes took home the crown from the Caribbean with a 85-75 win tonight.
Truth be told it could have been any of 9 players who came though for a team that should be ranked in the top 15 if not the top 10 by tomorrow.
Both teams were white hot entering tonight's Championship battle, but early on each team appeared to have the jitters.
It didn't last long though, especially for the Hurricanes.
Once they settled down, Tonye Jekiri got a pair of buckets in tight and Angel Rodriguez knocked down a triple as UM jumped out in front.
Roosevelt Jones converted an and one for Butler and things were tight in the opening minutes.
But as has been their nature all season long, UM struck back immediately.
Baskets from Kamari Murphy, Ja'Quan Newton, and Anthony Lawrence off the bench sparked a run.
Before you knew it, it was 21-9 'Canes after a Lawrence triple.
The story of the first half was the Miami athleticism. Newton beat two Bulldogs to a loose ball that led to a James Palmer bucket to extend the lead.
UM was getting their hands on a lot of passes. Butler was clearly affected by the Hurricanes' length and quickness.
Another Jones hoop and harm did keep Butler within shouting distance.
Yet even when the pace was one the Big East school preferred, the 'Canes were seemingly in control.
A three by Ivan Cruz Uceda and a dunk by Lawrence swelled it to a 36-21 lead.
In the final minute of the half Jekiri punctuated things with an offensive rebound and a two handed slam. The senior 7 foot C had 8 points and 7 rebounds in the first stanza.
Another Jones bucket late made it 42-29 after 20 minutes.
And two more Jones baskets helped open the second half quick for Butler, but the three pointers by Sheldon McClellan, Cruz Uceda, and Rodriguez were potent answers.
But this one was far from over.
A Kellen Dunham three and a series of advantageous calls for the Bulldogs amazing cut it to 53-45.
This seemed to aggravate and re-focus the 'Canes.
4 straight points by Rodriguez and 2 from the charity stripe by Jekiri put the lead back in double digits.
However Dunham was a man on a mission in the second half, and two more bombs from the senior G narrowed the margin to 64-57 with 7 minutes to go.
Some clutch baskets by Newton, Reed, and Rodriguez were huge as Miami once again answered.
But in the final 6 minutes things would get sticky for the 'Canes.
The refs kept parading the Bulldogs to the line, and Butler seized momentum.
Another Dunham three had the lead down to just 76-72 with 3 minutes to go.
Some stingy defense and clutch FT shooting by the Hurricanes would be too much down the stretch though.
They finally got some stops with out any whistles, and salted the game away nicely in the final 2 minutes.
Miami faced their first true test tonight, and they came through.
It's likely only the beginning for a team that will return to the mainland surely having gained the attention of the College Basketball world.
|Andrew Chrabascz, F||3-7||0-1||0-0||2||0||2||2||0||1||0||4||6|
|Tyler Wideman, F||3-6||0-0||2-2||4||6||10||0||2||0||0||4||8|
|Roosevelt Jones, G||7-13||0-0||5-11||3||2||5||5||1||0||3||2||19|
|Tyler Lewis, G||1-5||1-4||0-0||0||0||0||1||0||0||2||1||3|
|Kellen Dunham, G||6-17||5-8||6-6||0||0||0||1||0||0||4||3||23|
|Austin Etherington, F||0-1||0-1||0-0||0||1||1||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jackson Davis, F||1-2||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||2|
|Kelan Martin, F||3-5||0-1||2-2||0||5||5||0||0||0||3||3||8|
|Jordan Gathers, G||2-3||2-3||0-0||0||0||0||1||2||0||1||1||6|
|Miami (FL) Hurricanes|
|Tonye Jekiri, C||4-6||0-0||4-4||4||8||12||1||0||2||3||4||12|
|Ivan Cruz Uceda, F||3-4||2-3||0-0||1||3||4||0||0||2||0||1||8|
|Angel Rodriguez, G||6-10||3-6||4-4||0||1||1||3||3||0||4||3||19|
|Sheldon McClellan, G||2-6||2-5||2-2||0||2||2||2||1||0||1||2||8|
|Davon Reed, G||1-3||1-1||4-4||1||4||5||3||0||0||2||3||7|
|Kamari Murphy, F||2-3||0-0||1-2||1||3||4||0||0||0||0||4||5|
|Anthony Lawrence Jr., F||3-6||1-3||0-0||0||1||1||1||2||0||0||1||7|
|Ja'Quan Newton, G||5-12||0-1||7-8||0||1||1||3||2||1||1||1||17|
|James Palmer, G||1-2||0-1||0-0||0||1||1||1||0||0||0||2||2|
Technical Fouls: PLAYERS: 1 MIAMI (FL) ( Murphy 1 ) - TEAMS: None
Next Up: Miami hosts Northeastern, Friday 11/27 3 PM EST at the Bank United Center.