Monday night at the Convocation Center turned out to be one of the greatest in men’s basketball history. Records were shattered and the Hurricanes’ two-game losing streak went by the wayside as Miami defeated Florida Atlantic 84-68.
Anthony King recorded Miami’s first ever triple-double, as he had 11 points, 10 rebounds, and an astonishing 13 blocks. King shattered the previous school record of eight blocks in the first half. King also set a new ACC record with the feat.
“Anthony’s performance tells me one thing: that he plays his role,” Head Coach Frank Haith said. “He doesn’t try to do more than what his role is, and we can all learn from that.”
Robert Hite led the way for the Hurricanes with a career-high 38 points and Guillermo Diaz added 27 on 11-for-13 shooting for his new career high. Haith was more impressed with the way Diaz handled the ball than his point total. Diaz finished with four assists, zero turnovers, three steals, and even added four rebounds.
Anthony Harris also had a career night with 10 assists, even though he struggled from the field, going 1-for-10.
The Owls were able to hang around in the first half, as the Hurricanes only took a 33-30 lead into halftime. It took the Owls five minutes to first get on the board, largely due to the interior defensive play of King, who blocked six of the Owls first 10 shots.
The second half was largely dominated by Miami, which outscored FAU 51-38 in the half. Hite and Diaz couldn’t miss at times as Hite had 28 of his 38 after the break. The half even included an alley-oop to Diaz that ended up as the No. 3 play on SportsCenter’s top 10 plays of the day.
Miami was able to shoot 49 percent from the field while holding FAU to 37 percent. Mike Bell of the Owls led them with 23 points off the bench. Owls Head Coach Sidney Green was impressed by Miami’s athleticism.
“We have a fine player in Mike Bell, but they have five or six Mike Bells,” Green said. “And that’s why they’re an ACC school and we’re an Atlantic Sun school. They did what they were supposed to do.”
The 1,533 at the Convocation Center saw Miami pull ahead by 15 with 13:30 to play in the ballgame, but FAU came back after an 11-0 run that cut the lead to 51-47. After an 11-2 run of their own, Miami never looked back, largely in part to a number of fast breaks by Diaz and Harris.
Miami will have their toughest test of the early season when they go up to Gainesville to take on the ranked Florida Gators tomorrow at noon.
“We’re all looking forward to that opportunity on Saturday up in Gainesville,” Haith said.
Douglas C. Kroll can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.