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Miami Basketball Strong Down the Stretch, Defeats Wake 77-63

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

In the northeast, blizzard like conditions caused the cancellations of more than a few games.

Meanwhile in sunny Coral Gables, the Miami Hurricanes were mostly chilly from the floor.

Nonetheless they used some outstanding D including 12 steals, and great overall effort,  to come away with a 77-63 victory from the BUC.

The first 20 minutes were all about runs.

At the first TV timeout, Wake was up two, thanks to some porous transition defense by the 'Canes.

However Angel Rodriguez did knock down two triples and create two steals in the opening moments, an encouraging sign for Miami considering Rodriguez' struggles of late.

Angel was much better overall today.

But Wake's stretch 4, Konstantinos Mitoglou, was a match-up nightmare at the onset.  His dunk off the break gave the Deacs the lead again.

It was short lived though, as James Palmer came off the bench to nail two triples and one at the charity stripe to give the Hurricanes a 22-16 lead.

UM continued to stay aggressive, both on the offensive glass and driving the ball to the basket, and the lead extended to 11 following a FT from Ja"Quan Newton and a fast break dunk for Sheldon McClellan.

Things were looking good, until the Wake Forest fast break got going again.

Devin Thomas and John Collins scored in transitiion on consecutive possessions to close out a 13-4 run that cut the Hurricanes lead to just 35-33 at the half.

The second half started with UM getting lots of good early looks,  that they could not convert.

Wake was equally inept.

Ivan Cruz Uceda finally took the seal off the bucket with a long three ball to put the 'Canes up 6 at the first TO.

The teams combined to shoot 6-24 in the first 7 minutes of the second half.

A Newton dunk off a Deacs turnover kept Miami in front, but it was just a one point lead after a stick back by Devin Thomas at the 12 minute mark.

The Hurricanes really struggled to convert a lot of make-able buckets that could have extended the lead.

Both McClellan and Kamari Murphy missed second half alley hoops.

They finally converted some inside looks about halfway through the final stanza, as Newton and Rodriguez scored.

This seemed to spark UM.

A great hustle play by McClellan moments later led to two FTs to put Miami up 6 at the 8 minute mark.

A few minutes later Newton converted a pretty and one to put the Hurricanes in control 63-51.

McClellan got loose from another dunk to stretch it to a 13 point lead at the 3 minute mark, and the rest was history.

It was a less than stellar offensive performance but a solid win regardless. The Hurricanes are clearly good enough to rack up wins against the bottom half of the conference.  As they push forward, some better shooting will be needed against the elite teams.

Newton led UM with 18. McClellan pitched in 14 and 5 assists, and Rodriguez had 6 steals.

Next Up:  Duke on Monday at 7PM EST. #PACKTHEBUC