The Hurricanes accomplished their first undefeated week in conference play, and this came without NBA draft prospect and sophomore guard Bruce Brown Jr. who is out six weeks after having foot surgery.
Many questioned how the Canes would respond to losing arguably their best player at a time where their play has been inconsistent, so Coach Jim Larranaga decided to introduce a new starting lineup that inserted guards Chris Lykes and Dejan Vasiljevic while sending Ja’Quan Newton back to a sixth man role where he had great success in such role during his sophomore year.
Miami responded by controlling an inferior Pitt team at the Watsco Center for most of the 40 minutes, though they did cough up the lead briefly in the second half, before going on to win 69-57.
Miami then traveled to Blacksburg where they beat Virginia Tech 84-75, in a crucial ACC game for conference standings and NCAA tournament implications. This was the Canes’ biggest road win of the season and it was a collective effort led by Anthony Lawrence’s career day scoring 25 points on 9-10 shooting from the field and grabbing 13 rebounds.
Miami looks for another perfect week in conference play as they host Wake Forest (2-9 in ACC) and travel to Boston College (4-6 in ACC). The Canes currently sit fourth in the ACC, one back in the loss column to Duke and Clemson. If the Canes handle their business this week, they could make a jump in the ACC standings and the AP Polls.