Not everything went the way of the Miami Hurricanes at the Barclays Center against the Temple Owls. The three pointers didn't consistently fall, and Temple lived off the fast break and offensive glass across large swaths of the game. But in spite of shooting just 22% from three-point range and getting outrebounded 11-5 on the offensive glass, UM was able to squeeze out a 78-77 win Tuesday night in Brooklyn.
Miami (7-3) switched to a 2-3 zone defense late in the game to slow down an Owl offense it had trouble containing for most of the contest. Temple shot 41% from the field, a figure that was much higher until a stretch where they shot just 1-13 as Jim Larrañaga abandoned man-to-man looks in the second half. And Chris Lykes drew a foul above the key down a point with 4.4 seconds remaining, knocked down the ensuing free throws, and prevented any Owl heroics on the other end of the floor as the final horn sounded.
Lykes’ free throws were the cherry on top of a team-high 17-point performance, with 12 of those points coming in the second half while connecting on three of the Hurricane’s four three-pointers.
Equally impressive was the collective career night for UM’s big men, with Keith Stone scoring 13 points and Rodney Miller adding 11 points and nine rebounds in a homecoming game for the Brooklyn native. Miami totaled 42 points in the paint, a season-high.
In front of a crowd of friends Tuesday night, DJ Vasiljevic scored 11 points and pulled down eight rebounds, while Kameron McGusty logged a double-double with 12 points and a team-high 10 rebounds.
A 10-2 first half run gave UM their first of two separate nine-point leads with eight minutes remaining in the opening half, the largest amount of separation the Hurricanes would have before the break as the Owls regrouped and ended the half with a lay-in which cut the margin to just 39-38.
A Miller dunk late in the period highlighted there big man’s eight first half points, while Vasiljevic also scored his thousandth career point. Temple’s 6-12 half from three-point range accounted for nearly half of their points before the intermission and kept UM from pulling away when it may have been possible.
Temple took their first lead of the game on the first possession of the second half, and led by as much as six points in the half.
The Hurricanes are next in action 2 p.m. Saturday against Coppin State at the Watsco Center. It will be the last non-conference test UM faces until the remaining 19-game ACC slate.