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Canes Hoops: Second Half Sees Florida Gators Pull Away From Miami

Florida senior Kerry Blackshear scored 20 as the Hurricane shooters went dry after halftime.

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

The Miami Hurricanes couldn't overcome the Florida Gators and the firepower of a familiar face Friday in the Charleston Classic, dropping a 78-58 decision.

Kerry Blackshear—a graduate transfer from Virginia Tech—led UF and all scores at the TD Arena with 20 points, and pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds on his way to a double-double.

Miami wasn’t able to zero in on only Blackshear, as the SEC Preseason Player of the year was joined by teammates Scottie Lewis, Keyontae Johnson and Ques Glover, who each scored 13, 12 and 11 points respectively.

Only Chris Lykes—who scored a team-high 16 points—and Kameron McGusty, who added 10, finished the afternoon in double-figured for the Hurricanes, while McGusty and Sam Waardenburg each collected a team-high five rebounds.

Coming into the matchup in the top-six nationally in turnovers per game with less than nine, Miami gave the ball away 14 times against UF. UM was also out-rebounded for the second game in a row, 37-28. And a less than 24 hours after going 15-17 on free throws, the Canes shot a paltry 5-11 from the line on Friday.

It was a tale of two haves for UM.

The Hurricanes jumped out to a 14-8 lead six minutes into the game, before the Gators went on a 17-0 run that gave themselves a 12-point advantage that stretched beyond the ten-minute mark in the first half.

UM counter responded with an 8-0 run, which allowed them to stay within 38-33 of the Gators at halftime, in spite of 13 points from Blackshear and UF shooting 58% from three-point range in the opening frame. Miami entered the second half down just five in part due to their own ability to shoot the ball in the first half, going 5-10 on three-point field goals.

DJ Vasiljevic, a day removed from a career-high 25 points against Missouri State, looked to continue showing his hot hand, with eight points and two three-pointers before the break. But just as the Canes led the game slip away in the second half as Florida outscored Miami 40-25, Vasiljevic was held scoreless and the Hurricanes shot just 2-9 from beyond the arc.

UM will have a day off before playing in the third-place game on Sunday, with tip-off time TBD but will be between 1 p.m. and 3:30 ET. They will receive the loser of the Xavier-UConn game, scheduled for Friday night at 9 p.m. Sunday’s TV network is also yet to be determined, but the game will be on one of the ESPN family of networks.