After dropping two in a row, the Hurricanes (4-3) followed their small skid by taking one of two, beating Lafayette and losing a heartbreaker to Northwestern, before strapping up for their first ACC game of the year against No. 24 Georgia Tech on Sunday.
Saturday against the Leopards, the Hurricanes blew through Lafayette. The game was close, for the first five minutes, but after Miami sniffed their first lead, they wasted no time extending their edge to double-digits.
The Hurricanes spent the rest of the game extending the lead they had built, which at one point featured a 36-point Miami lead. The Hurricanes finished the game with a 32-point victory, 98-66.
The Hurricanes dominated Lafayette in all facets of the game by recording better field goal and free throw percentages while having more offensive and total rebounds, more assists, less turnovers and more points.
The Hurricanes were led by guard Jack McClinton, who scored 23 points, going 7-of-11 from the field and knocking down four shots from downtown.
Forward Brian Asbury also chipped in with a career-high 19 points, four rebounds, three blocks and three steals. Guard Denis Clemente and forward Raymond Hicks also registered double-digit points for the Hurricanes, scoring 12 and 11 respectively.
After a dominating home victory against the Leopards, the Hurricanes took their act on the road, to face the Northwestern Wildcats on Tuesday, as part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
The game, which for the most part was slow-paced, turned into an extraordinary nail-biter in the final three minutes. The ‘Canes, who had trailed for most of the second half, were down by 10 with 3:21 to go in the game when they made an exhilarating comeback on the back of McClinton.
McClinton registered two free throws, an improbable two-point basket, a two-point layup and a three point shot from way downtown to bring the game to within two points. After the Hurricanes went down by four, Brian Asbury hit his third three of the game, shaving the Wildcat lead to one, with 14 seconds left to play.
After Miami took a quick foul, they saw themselves down by two with 12 seconds to go, as Wildcat guard Jason Okrzesik hit one of two at the charity strike.
With no timeouts to go, the inbounds went to Miami’s hot hand, Jack McClinton, who took the ball up court and launched a three from the next area code. The game ended with the ball bouncing off the back of the rim to seal the 61-59 Wildcats win.
The difference in the game was Miami’s poor field goal percentage. The Hurricane’s shot at a 39 percent clip, while the Wildcats connected on 50 percent of their shots.
However, the way the Hurricanes dominated on Saturday and fought back on Tuesday, it is evident the ‘Canes will be a threat in the ACC.
Pravin Patel may be contacted at email@example.com.