Miami finished non-conference play 11-1 and is ranked No. 15 in the AP Poll and No. 16 in the Coaches Poll thanks in part to the play of three sophomore standouts.
Dewan Huell scored 21 points, Bruce Brown Jr. added a season-high 20 points, and DJ Vasiljevic scored 13 points to help the Hurricanes finish third in the eight-team tournament in Hawaii.
Huell reached double figures for the 10th time in 12 games while Vasiljevic reached double figures for the eighth time in 12 games.
Head Coach Jim Larranga on Dewan Huell’s improvement this season: “There’s no question this year that he is more confident in his scoring ability.”
The 6-foot-11 Huell was named to the Diamond Head Classic All-Tournament Team averaged 15.7 points and 6.0 rebounds in the tournament. He is the team’s leading scorer.
The three sophomores were all dominant in Miami’s third game in four days.
They gained confidence from last season and have all been more aggressive on the offensive end.
Sophomore standouts.— Canes Hoops (@CanesHoops) December 26, 2017
Dewan scores 21, while BBJ finishes with 20 as the Canes improve to 11-1. pic.twitter.com/3jFGctf45Z
Brown scored 14 of his 20 points after the half. He shot 50 percent from the field and added six rebounds and three assists.
“To be successful in basketball you have to be the aggressor and after the first half of the NMSU game we think he (Brown) did that,” Larranaga said.
Brown finished with a season-high 20 points and Huell recorded his second career 20-point game. The duo’s 20-point effort is the first for the Hurricanes since Dec. 31, 2016.
Ja'Quan Newton (21) and Davon Reed (20) was the last duo to accomplish this feat against the NC State Wolfpack.
Miami is stacked with young talent and has to bring the same motivation and poise into conference play.
Hit some adversity in Hawaii, but we battled and got that W tonight.— Canes Hoops (@CanesHoops) December 26, 2017
Now on to some ACC hoops. pic.twitter.com/FSl5TjdiB2
Next up: The ‘Canes open ACC play 4 p.m. Saturday against the Pittsburg Panthers.