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Canes Hoops: Miami Set to Open Charleston Classic Thursday

The Hurricanes will open the three-game tournament on Thursday with a matchup against Missouri State.

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

The Miami Hurricanes take their first trip outride the State of Florida this week for the Charleston Classic. UM (3-1) will play in three contests over the pre-Thanksgiving tournament, opening up with the Missouri State Bears Thursday.

Missouri State isn’t a team on the radar of most Canes fans. But they are a program that was picked to finish first in the Missouri Valley Conference this year.

The Bears are led by senior guard Keandre Cook, averaging 17.8 points per game in 2019-20. Lamont West, a forward and graduate transfer from from West Virginia, follows with just under 11 points per game.

Cook’s 10 three-point field goals are also a team-best, both in total made shots and in percentage (50%). Tulio Da Silva’s eight rebounds per game is tops among Bears, with Cook’s 5.3 rebounds coming right behind.

Missouri State enters the contest 2-2, with their pair of losses coming by a combined four points. On November 15, they fell 59-56 at No. 21 Xavier, with Cook and West sharing a team-high 13 points. Junior guard Tyrik Dixon added another 12 points.

The Bears have logged wins over Cleveland State and Alabama State this season, as well as a loss to Little Rock on opening night.

Miami’s only prior meeting with Missouri State resulted in an 81-72 win at the Watsco Center in the 2011 National Invitational Tournament.

Should the Hurricanes again beat the MVC team Thursday, they’ll play the winner of the Florida/St. Joseph’s game on Friday. A UM loss would mean the loser of the UF/St. Joseph’s game would meet Miami.

On Sunday, the Canes will see a team from the other side of the tournament bracket—either Buffalo, UConn, Towson, or Xavier—to wrap up their games in South Carolina.

Miami has and will continue to turn to their new players for firepower and depth. Oklahoma transfer Kameron McGusty scored a career-high 22 points in UM’s win over Quinnipiac November 16, and leads all scorers with 14.8 points per game in 2019-20. Freshman guard Harlond Beverly added 10 against Quinnipiac and is one of four Canes averaging double-figures, with 12 points per game.

Following a nonchalant first three games from guards Chris Lykes and DJ Vasiljevic, the explosive returners began to look more like the players fans are used to seeing. Vasiljevic’s 13 points Saturday were supplemented by a career-high 10 rebounds, as the Australian recorded his second UM double-double. Meanwhile, Lykes’ scoring average is up to 14 points per game, second on the team after a 12-point outing against Quinnipiac.

Miami also found their three-point shot in their last game, going 11-15 from beyond the arc after halftime. UM made more three-pointers in the second half against Quinnipiac than against any other Division I opponent in a half since joining the Atlantic Coast Conference.

How to Watch Miami vs Missouri State

The game is scheduled to start at 11:30 a.m. Eastern time from the TD Arena in Charleston, South Carolina. The game can be found on ESPNU, and will also be carried on WQAM 560 AM.

TV assignments for the following two games will be determined after round of the tournament.