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6 February 2013

Canes blow out Eagles for tenth straight victory

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On Monday, the Miami men’s basketball team ascended to No. 8 in the AP Poll, tying its highest ranking in program history. On Tuesday, the Boston College Eagles came to the BankUnited Center hoping to pick up a signature win over a top 10 opponent.

There would be no letdown for the Hurricanes, as they rolled to a 72-50 victory to move to 18-3 (9-0 ACC) on the season.

Miami was led by junior guard Rion Brown, who tied a career-high with 22 points and connected on 5-of-7 shots from 3-point range. The Georgia native had been struggling this season, entering the game averaging 5.8 points and shooting 22.5 percent from deep.

“I just got in the gym, got up shots,” Brown said of breaking his slump. “And today my teammates did a great job of finding me, and they kept passing me the ball, and I kept knocking it down.”

This was Miami’s second game against Boston College (10-12, 2-7 ACC) this season. The Hurricanes narrowly escaped Chestnut Hill, Mass., with a 60-59 victory on Jan. 16.

Miami senior center Julian Gamble pointed to one main difference between the two matchups.

“Our defense,” he said. “We were just more active, we had a lot more energy coming out of the gate, and that’s something that we focused on the past couple of days. And we know that our successes come from our preparation and our attention to detail. That’s something that we definitely got back to and we’re going to continue to do for the rest of the way.”

The Miami defense limited Boston College to 37 percent shooting from the field and 21.7 percent shooting from 3-point range.

BC closed the first half on a 10-5 run and trailed 33-23 at the break. The Eagles then scored the first four points of the second half to make it a six-point game.

But it was all orange and green from there.

Miami went on a 17-4 run over a span of seven minutes, grabbing a 50-31 lead that was never in danger. They would extend the advantage as high as 28 points in the closing minutes.

In addition to the 22 points from Brown, Miami also got 16 from senior forward Kenny Kadji, who shot 6-of-9 from the field and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds.

Boston College, which never led at any point, was paced by 16 points from freshman guard Olivier Hanlan, who went 8-of-14. Sophomore forward Ryan Anderson posted a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds.

While the loss drops BC into a tie for last place in the ACC, it only adds to Miami’s lead atop the conference.

The Hurricanes are now the only team in a major conference that hasn’t dropped a game in conference play. Florida, ranked No. 2 and previously unbeaten in the SEC, fell to Arkansas Tuesday night.

Coach Jim Larranaga does not place much meaning on Miami’s achievement, though.

“Really, it means we got to play North Carolina on Saturday,” Larranaga said to a round of laughter. “I don’t pay attention to those numbers because they don’t reflect what our job is.”

The Hurricanes take on UNC (16-6, 6-3 ACC) at 2 p.m. Saturday at the BUC. Miami took a 68-59 victory home from Chapel Hill, N.C., on Jan. 10.