It was a late night for yours truly.
I have watched last night's sensational performance by the 'Canes no less than 3 times.
And although the 80-69 win over the Blue Devils was far from perfect, it displayed how talented and tough this Hurricanes group is.
Before we get started on what made it such a complete performance, a little dancing:
These kids deserved to have some fun after that victory. Beating Duke, even a Coach K squad that is struggling a bit at 4-4 in the conference, is always a big deal.
#1 Was this the best performance of Angel Rodriguez' career? Yes we went for 25 points, 5 assists, and 5 steals last season at Cameron. And he was the MVP of the Puerto Rico Tip Off earlier this year. But I love how confidently he shot the ball early on, and his career high 11 assists were the big difference in the game. When Angel looks to be a passer first and get his talented teammates the ball in positions to score, this team takes it to another level. But it was all set up by the fact he made enough shots early to be a threat. UM needs more of this kind of play from Rodriguez going forward. Easy choice for player of the game last night.
#2 Speaking of assists....In his pregame speech, Coach L told his team the names on the back of the jerseys did not matter and it was all about team ball. Boy did they listen. Miami had 24 helpers on 30 made buckets. That is impressive. Sheldon McClellan, Ja'Quan Newton, and even Tonye Jekiri all had strong games passing the ball.
#3 If I have one small complaint about McClellan, it is that he us often too unselfish and laid back. Well he too was aggressive last night (particularly in the second half) and played an emotional game. Almost too much so as he was nearly called for a T on two occasions last night. But I loved seeing the senior play the game with lots of passion. McClellan is the Hurricanes' best overall player. If he can raise his game another level, Miami has a shot to win the ACC and go deep into March Madness.
#4 Dickie V called Newton, "the best 6th man in America" last night. The sophomore from Philly (15 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists in 23 minutes) is not making a liar of Vitale. Another spectacular performance off the bench.
#5 Last but but not least, props to the fans and the especially the student section at the BUC last night. Duke played their hearts out. But every time they got close, UM fed off the sold out crowd to find the energy to stretch the lead. This team loves playing in front of boisterous spectators. Let's hope last night was something we see for the rest of the home schedule.
Enjoy this one 'Canes fans. And enjoy your day!
And the box score:
|Duke Blue Devils|
|Marshall Plumlee, C||36||1-4||0-0||5-6||4||5||9||1||0||0||1||1||7|
|Matt Jones, G||33||4-11||2-5||0-0||3||1||4||0||0||0||2||5||10|
|Grayson Allen, G||39||6-17||1-5||4-6||3||1||4||2||1||0||3||3||17|
|Luke Kennard, G||32||3-8||1-3||2-3||0||5||5||2||1||0||0||1||9|
|Brandon Ingram, G||39||8-13||1-3||2-2||3||7||10||2||1||0||4||2||19|
|Chase Jeter, F||2||0-1||0-0||0-0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Derryck Thornton, G||19||3-6||1-4||0-0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||7|
|Miami (FL) Hurricanes|
|Tonye Jekiri, C||34||3-7||0-0||1-1||6||4||10||3||0||2||0||3||7|
|Kamari Murphy, F||29||2-4||0-0||0-0||1||4||5||0||0||2||1||3||4|
|Davon Reed, G||27||6-10||2-5||0-0||1||3||4||1||1||1||0||3||14|
|Angel Rodriguez, G||32||4-9||3-7||2-2||0||5||5||11||1||0||1||2||13|
|Sheldon McClellan, G||33||8-12||1-3||4-6||0||2||2||3||0||1||1||2||21|
|Ivan Cruz Uceda, F||11||0-1||0-1||0-0||1||1||2||1||0||0||1||2||0|
|Ja'Quan Newton, G||23||6-11||0-0||3-4||2||3||5||5||0||0||2||1||15|
|James Palmer, G||11||1-5||1-4||3-4||0||0||0||0||1||1||0||0||6|