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Canes Hoops: Miami to Continue Early Season Push with Matchup Against Quinnipiac

After three games and two wins to kickstart the new season, Hurricanes look to continue to settle into 2019-20 against Quinnipiac Saturday.

NCAA Basketball: Louisville at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

After a season-opening conference loss to the Louisville Cardinals on November 5, the Miami Hurricanes have bounced back over the past two games, not unlike exceptions. On Saturday, look for the team to continue their natural easing into the season, as they seek their third straight win when meeting the Quinnipiac Bobcats.

UM (2-1) will meet a Quinnipiac team that is fresh off an opening season loss of their own Wednesday, dropping a 70-68 decision at Brown.

The Bobcats return three starters from last year’s 16-15 team, led by Rich Kelly who averaged over 13 points per game in 2018-19. Kelly is followed by fellow returnees Jacob Rigoni and Tyrese Williams, who averaged just over 10 and just under nine points per game, respectively.

However, it wasn't either of those three who stood out Wednesday, but redshirt freshman guard Matt Balanc, whose 23 points was a team-best against Brown. Kelly was the only Bobcat to join Balanc in double-figures, scoring 13 points.

Some other notes about Quinnipiac.

  • Quinnipiac is led by 37-year-old head coach Baker Dunleavy, son of longtime NBA coach Mike Dunleavy.
  • The Bobcats averaged more than 11 three-point field goals per contest a year ago on 37.7% shooting, fifth-best in the nation and tops in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
  • The Canes beat Quinnipiac in their only prior matchup all-time, 80-66 in 1999.

As for the Hurricanes, there are several things worth watching in Saturday’s game. Miami is shooting just over 32% from three-point range. Given the return of guards Chris Lykes and DJ Vasiljevic, many observers expected UM to be connecting on more of their long shots.

Rodney Miller, as expected, is playing at an elevated level so far this year, after taking the 2018-19 season off to reset his career trajectory and lose 45 pounds. His 6.7 rebounds per game and 75% field goal percentage lead all Hurricanes over the opening three matchups, all games that Miller has started in.

Coach Jim Larrañaga is getting what he expected from his freshman class, with Harlond Beverly’s 12.7 points per game third on the team so far in this young season. Beverly has made four of his nine three-pointers, good for a team-high in three-point field goal percentage that he shares with Vasiljevic. Fellow newcomers Isaiah Wong and Anthony Walker have also shown flashes of promise early in their Hurricane careers.

How to Watch

The game will be broadcast on ACC Network Extra, and can be heard on WQAM 560 AM and WVUM 90.5 FM.

Looking ahead, UM will enjoy much of the upcoming week off, before returning to the court Thursday against Missouri State in the Charleston Classic in South Carolina.