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Canes Hoops: Rutgers Game Preview

The ACC-Big Ten Challenge returns to Color Gables for the matchup between two former Big East members

NCAA Basketball: Northwestern at Rutgers Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Miami returns from a runner-up finish in Orange County at the Wooden Legacy Tournament to play the Rutgers Scarlett Knight in Coral Gables, part of the annual ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

Rutgers has an 4-1 record, with wins against Fairleigh Dickinson, Drexel, Eastern Michigan and Boston University. A loss to St. Johns is sandwiched between the wins.

So far, RU has preferred games that are slower-paced and lower scoring, averaging 73.4 points-per-game as a team and allowing 57. Their most recent game against BU ended 55-44, a contrast from the fast paced trend the Hurricanes are setting so far throughout this young season.

Their leader in the clubhouse is forward Eugene Omoruyi. The junior from Canada has a team high 15.8 ppg and 9.8 rebounds per game.

Also averaging double figures in points is sophomore guard Geo Baker and junior Nigerian forward Issa Thiam, with 15.2 and 10.2 ppg, respectively.

Sophomore Peter Kiss, a transfer from Quinnipiac, rounds out the starting lineup with just over nine points each game.

And Ron Harper Jr, the son of former NBA star Ron Harper, is a freshman and averages 6.4 ppg.

Rutgers is more hesitant to hoist the three-pointer than Miami is, having attempted almost 25 fewer shot from beyond the arc than the Hurricanes. But RU will shoot, and has a team 40 percent three-point total, slightly higher than UM despite the long ball being a smaller part of their typical gameplan.

Miami will still be without Dewan Hernandez as the NCAA reviews his eligibility. In each of the last two games for Miami, Sam Waardenburg and Ebuka Izundu have experienced some kind of foul trouble, leaving depth at the forward positions thin.

Zach Johnson will look to continue his breakout over the past couple of outings, having scored 24 and 18 points in the last two games.

And Chris Lykes, the leading pure scorer for the Canes, will try and improve his assist-to-turnover ratio, which was addressed by Jim Larranaga at the press Confrence on Monday.

Tip-off is at 7:15 at the Watsco Center. Those who will not be in Coral Gables tonight can watch the game on ESPN2.