The Miami Hurricanes’ basketball team (3-0) defeated both Marist and Virginia Commonwealth University in the O’Reilly Auto Parts Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
The Canes never trailed against either team and were led by senior Anthony King, who dominated in both games.
“The team chemistry is great,” King said. “This is the first time in a long time that I can say that. The team cares for each other.”
King was hitting on all cylinders by knocking down long jump shots to help the Hurricanes overpower Marist, 85-61. King recorded a team-high 13 points and seven blocks.
Sophomore James Dew got his first career start for the Canes and did not disappoint, as he totaled 11 points and made three three-pointers.
Guard Jack McClinton added 11 points as well.
Miami shot nearly 55 percent from the field against Marist and shot 78 percent from the free-throw line.
The Canes went 11-for-21 from beyond the arc.
King set the tone early in the game with three blocks in the opening minutes leading the Canes to hold Marist without a field goal for seven minutes.
Marist only had eight field goals in the first half and shot 29 percent.
“We came out and played with great enthusiasm and energy,” Coach Frank Haith said. “We wanted to get a lot of production in the paint and our post guys set the tempo early. Our guys came out and played hard throughout the game.”
Marist couldn’t stop the Canes from snagging rebounds. Marist had 22 rebounds compared to Miami’s 37.
The Canes were in command at halftime with a 39-21 lead, and came out in the second half on an 18-3 run, pushing the game out of reach.
Junior Lance Hurdle put the nail in the coffin with three three-pointers in the second half against Marist.
The following day, the Miami took on VCU, who defeated Duke last year in the NCAA Tournament.
McClinton paved the way for the Hurricanes with 23 points and came up with numerous big shots to outlast VCU, 69-63.
King once again had a stellar performance with 10 points, 15 rebounds and seven blocks.
VCU pressed Miami in the final minutes and the Canes responded by hanging on for a win.
“I thought that for 37 minutes we controlled the ball game and that our guys did a real good job to get off to a great start,” Haith said. “But in the last three minutes, we turned over the ball in some crucial situations. But we found a way to win.”
VCU cut Miami’s lead down to six with six minutes left, but after a Miami timeout, McClinton banked a three-pointer and then banked another two-pointer.
“This is a great win.a hell of a win for our team,” Haith said. “VCU is a good team. We played a hell of a ball game.”
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at email@example.com.