The Canes won their second consecutive game since returning from exams, as local opponent FAU headed down the coast to take on Miami at the Watsco Center.
Miami was in control from the tip, opening the game with a 14-3 run. Ebuka Izundu was the star of the first half, with 11 points and 7 rebounds on a perfect 5 for 5 from the field. Chris Lykes was also in double-figures, with 10 points and 5 assists before the break. The Canes dominated on both ends of the floor, shooting 60% from the field while only allowing 30% shooting for FAU.
The Owls outscored Miami 32-29 in the second half, led by strong finishes from Jaylen Sebree (18 points) and Anthony Adger (19 points), but the Canes were comfortably ahead all afternoon and avoided giving up a late lead as they did against Seton Hall, Rutgers and Yale. After seeing their bench get shorter and shorter over recent weeks, Miami received solid performances from nearly everyone in their 7-man rotation. Izundu had his second-straight double-double, finishing with 19 points, 13 rebounds and 3 blocks. Lykes had a modest scoring output of 12 points, but made up for it with 7 assists, 3 steals and only 2 turnovers. Anthony Lawrence II came very close to the Canes’ first triple-double since Bruce Brown Jr, putting up 17 points, 8 rebounds, and 8 assists. Redshirt-freshman transfer Anthony Mack had his best performance to date with 8 points and 2 assists off the bench on 3 of 4 shooting.
Miami’s showing should be comforting to Canes fans, as the team returned to their brand of efficient offense and stifling defense that is characteristic of Coach Larranaga’s programs. The Canes hit 50% of their shots, had a great assist to turnover ratio (21 assists, 10 turnovers), took care of the boards, and made their opponent take difficult shots the entire game (FAU shot 20/60, 33%). Coach L is throwing in new wrinkles each game, such as their 1-2-2 halfcourt press and zone, and embracing the cards he’s been dealt. Hopefully, Miami can continue trending upwards as they approach ACC play.
Miami will return to the Watsco Center after Christmas for their last non-conference matchup against Campbell on 12/29 at 4:00pm ET.