UM got the job done.
Although the game was not an aesthetic masterpiece, a few things went very well.
- Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan combined for 44 points. It was McClellan early who helped the Hurricanes survive the avalanche of triples by the Bulls. Down the stretch, Rodriguez kept attacking and getting to the line when Buffalo made a final charge. Having two seniors in your back court can help you avoid massive upsets this time of year.
- The two other unsung heroes of the night are Kamari Murphy and Davon Reed. Murphy had 3 huge 1st half blocks, and contested a number of other shots. If not for his defensive presence, Miami would have been even further behind in the early going. Reed who finished with double digit rebounds, had a number of those boards in traffic. With Tonye Jekiri having something of an off night, these two were sorely needed on defense and the glass. They came through.
- UM's bench production has shrunk of late. Sure Ja'Quan Newton is almost always good for a lift. And freshman Anthony Lawrence Jr. plays excellent D and contributes in other ways. But for Ivan Cruz Uceda and James Palmer, the minutes seem to be significantly less of late. Coach L is going to play the players he trusts most the most minutes in March. This is a bi-product.
The Hurricanes survived and advanced. But to get to the Sweet 16 they need to take better care of the ball. Wichita State absolutely blitzed Arizona last night, with some of the best defense I've seen this side of Virginia.
UM will need to be very much on top of their game to get by the Shockers in the Round of 32.
Finally, the highlights: