The Miami Hurricanes held on to beat the FIU Panthers tonight at the Watsco Center, 86-80. Matthew Cleveland led the Canes with 23 points, 7 rebounds, and 4 assists. Wooga Poplar had 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists. Bensley Joseph also had 18 points and 4 assists. Arturo Dean led the Panthers with 19 points, 5 rebounds, and 6 assists. Miami improves to 3-0. FIU falls to 0-3.
Below are some random thoughts from tonight’s game.
Miami shot 13-21 from three-point range tonight, 62%. Good thing they did, because they weren’t getting any second chance points against the much taller FIU team. Cleveland was 3-3, Joseph was 4-5, and Poplar was 4-6. Pack shot the worst at 2-6. For the third year in a row, the Canes have guys that can fill it up from deep. They will need it during conference play. They will also need to rebound better. Call me naive, but I trust that they will.
The FSU transfer was the best player on the floor tonight. Cleveland hit a couple big three-pointers in the second half when FIU was making runs. He also scored Miami’s first second chance points of the game with about five minutes left. I don’t want to see Cleveland shooting a bunch of threes all season, but he made all three he took tonight. They were open, in-rhythm shots. Those are fine with me. Plus, he shot 8-10 overall from the field. Finally, he was fired up during Miami’s comeback; his energy was a spark. The dude is athletic, efficient, and cares. Great start to the season for Matthew Cleveland.
Cleveland is repping The U in the below tweet showing their #12 ranking in the new AP Top 25 Poll released today.
Tonight was way too close of a game
The Canes beat UCF, 88-72. UCF beat FIU, 85-62. When I saw that second score earlier today, I thought Miami was going to cruise tonight. Halfway through the first half, they were up 28-11 and everything was going according to plan. After that, it was mostly a disaster for the home team. Coach L’s squad did not play well for long stretches tonight. Too many turnovers. Bad defense. It was frustrating to watch. Having said all that, I’m relieved they won. This team is mature enough to learn from a game like this. The Canes will be ready to play this weekend.
Miami travels to Nassau to take on Georgia in the first round of the 2023 Bahamas Championship on Friday, 11/17 at 3:30 PM EST. Every tournament game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.