After a dominant performance against the No. 1 ranked Duke Blue Devils on Wednesday night, the Canes were able to pick up right where they left off on Sunday in front of yet another sold-out crowd in the BankUnited Center en route to a 71-47 victory over the visiting Florida State Seminoles. With the win Miami moves to 6-0 in the ACC and 15-3 overall while remaining unbeaten at home in the regular season.
An unexperienced Florida State team was hopelessly overmatched at times against the Hurricanes who led for the entirety of the game and even put on a show at times with breathtaking alley-oops, emphatic blocks and exciting fast breaks.
“I think that’s the key,” said senior guard Trey McKinney Jones who led all players in scoring with 15. “I mean, we’re out there playing hard and I think like you said most importantly we’re having fun and if we come out and play together and have fun every game, we’re going to be a tough team to beat.”
Miami jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead after senior centers Kenny Kadji and Julian Gamble both completed three point plays. The team was in control for most of the first half until the Seminoles were able to close the gap to two points with 3:17 left in the half.
“We called a timeout,” Canes head coach Jim Larranaga said. “We put in Erik Swoope and we were able to pick up our defensive intensity, we trapped a ball screen, forced a turnover and we were able to push the lead back up to nine, and I thought that was a very good sign for us.”
The Canes continued a strong defensive showing in the second half, only giving up five points in the first eight minutes while riding a balanced offensive attack to a 21-point lead. In the end Miami’s experience, with four of the five starters being seniors, trumped any potential for a letdown game four days after the emotional Duke win.
“I feel like we’re a veteran team,” McKinney Jones said. “We got a lot of guys who are experienced and we’re not going to let ourselves do that.”
The game also marked the return of former Hurricane coach, and now Seminole head coach, Leonard Hamilton who was impressed with Miami’s strong play.
“This is a top team in America,” he said. “They’re playing as hard as any team in America.”
But while the Hurricanes were able to add to the best start in program history, coach Larranaga continues his patented approach of taking it one game at a time.
“You know, the expression is: The past is history. The future is a mystery. But they call it ‘present,’ because it’s a gift,” he said. “And we want to stay in the present and stay focused on this gift we’ve been given, which is an opportunity to play basketball together and hopefully continue to play very hard and very well.”
Next up for the Canes is a road trip to Blacksburg, Va., to face Virginia Tech 9 p.m. Wednesday.
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