On their best days, the Miami Hurricanes are good enough to embarrass some very good teams.
But when they effort isn't there, they can look very pedestrian.
The 'Canes weren't very good tonight, their energy was lacking until the final 10 minutes, and they nearly paid the price.
But sparked by some great all around play by Ja'Quan Newton and Angel Rodriguez in the second half, they survived Princeton in a 76-64 win from the BUC.
Despite a sluggish start offensively, UM was up four at the first TV time out, thanks to a pair of buckets Rodriguez.
While their offense wasn't lighting it up, the D was on point, contesting every Princeton shot and pass.
Still this was a struggle from the onset.
And when Miami got a sloppy with the ball, it led to a Henry Caruso dunk off a turnover to tied things up.
Three balls by Ivan Cruz Uceda and James Palmer temporarily regained the lead for the 'Canes, and Kamari Murphy got loose for 8 quick points, but yet another turnover helped Spencer Weisz get an and one to keep it close.
2 more Princeton steals off bad passes and a three by Devin Cannady tied things back up at 27.
UM was terrible offensively in the opening 20 minutes, with even the very reliable Sheldon McClellan air balling a wide open three.
Amir Bell's triple at the buzzer sent the Tigers to the intermission with a three point advantage.
In addition to the 'Canes miserable passing that led to 6 Princeton steals, they were also a dismal 2-10 from deep in what was easily the worst half of basketball Jim Larranaga's squad has played all season.
Both teams were a lot better offensively over the final 20 minutes.
Right off the bat, two more buckets by Bell kept the Tigers up 6.
UM was also getting beat to every loose ball.
But after the opening TV time out of the final stanza, Rodriguez exploded for 5 quick points.
The Hurricanes seemed poise to take control.
However missed FTs, a defensive lapse that led to a Caruso three, and another bad turnover stymied their momentum.
Miami tried to turn it on and even went to some 2-2-1 pressure, but they just didn't finish possessions well enough on both ends.
With ten minutes to go, it was 53-47 Princeton.
Things were looking pretty bad.
However, Newton went to work with a few very tough buckets, and a lob from Rodriguez to Murphy finally put the Hurricanes back in front 54-53 at the 8 minute mark.
The lead stretched to 4 and momentum was on their side, but back to back turnovers once again sparked the Tigers, who promptly retook the lead.
Rodriguez hit a huge three, Newton found Jekiri for a drunk, and then called his own number and hit an impossible floater to make it 66-60.
Down the stretch a four guard line-up of Newton, Rodriguez, McClellan, and Davon Reed surrounding Tonye Jekiri made the difference.
Newton to Reed for a huge one-handed flush at the 1:30 mark would seal it.
But this one was a lot closer and a lot more uncomfortable than the final score would indicate.
|Henry Caruso, F||4-8||0-3||6-8||2||2||4||1||3||0||1||0||14|
|Steven Cook, F||2-7||0-2||2-2||1||1||2||1||2||1||1||2||6|
|Pete Miller, F||1-8||0-0||0-2||2||2||4||0||0||2||0||0||2|
|Spencer Weisz, F||4-9||1-6||1-1||1||5||6||2||0||0||0||4||10|
|Alec Brennan, F||1-4||0-0||0-0||0||2||2||0||1||0||1||2||2|
|Jackson Forbes, F||0-1||0-1||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||0|
|Devin Cannady, G||4-6||2-3||3-4||0||0||0||1||2||0||2||3||13|
|Myles Stephens, G||0-2||0-0||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Amir Bell, G||7-14||3-5||0-0||2||3||5||0||0||0||1||3||17|
|Miami (FL) Hurricanes|
|Tonye Jekiri, C||3-5||0-0||1-2||4||4||8||0||0||2||0||2||7|
|Kamari Murphy, F||5-7||0-1||0-0||1||4||5||1||0||2||1||0||10|
|Ivan Cruz Uceda, F||3-3||2-2||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||1||1||4||8|
|Anthony Lawrence Jr., F||0-1||0-1||0-0||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Angel Rodriguez, G||5-7||2-3||2-2||0||2||2||5||1||0||3||3||14|
|Sheldon McClellan, G||2-9||0-3||2-2||0||2||2||0||0||1||2||1||6|
|Davon Reed, G||5-11||0-2||3-5||1||8||9||0||1||0||2||0||13|
|Ja'Quan Newton, G||5-8||0-0||3-3||1||3||4||4||0||1||1||1||13|
|James Palmer, G||2-4||1-3||0-0||1||3||4||1||0||0||1||1||5|
Technical Fouls: PLAYERS: None - TEAMS: None
Next Up: The Hurricanes host Syracuse in their ACC opener, this Saturday at 2:30 EST.