Basketball, Commentary, Sports

Miami trumps Syracuse, must shoot for consistency in upcoming ACC games

Courtesy HurricaneSports

Courtesy HurricaneSports

Angel Rodriguez found himself in familiar territory Saturday night as he stood at the free-throw line in front of a roaring crowd, calmly in control of the fate of the game. He sank both of his shots effortlessly, much to the dismay of the NCAA season-high crowd of 30,677 at the Carrier Dome. The Canes beat Syracuse 66-62.

It was a historic night for Coach Jim Larrañaga and Tonye Jekiri, center.

Larrañaga picked up his 550th career win and 301st conference win, while Jekiri had the night of his career, sealing a double-double in the final few minutes of the game, which included 13 points, 3-for-4 free throws and 15 rebounds. He leads the ACC with 10 average rebounds per game. He also picked up three blocks, the same amount that Syracuse had as a team.

Despite Syracuse going on a 12-2 run right before the half and cutting Miami’s lead to one with only a few minutes left in the game, the Hurricanes tamed the Orange with strict coverage of senior forward Rakeem Christmas. With double coverage on Christmas, they were able to hold him to only five points in the first half.

In a game where momentum shifted greatly over the course of 40 minutes, the Hurricanes were able to cling to a lead for nearly the entire game, thanks to bench points and free throws.

Miami had four bench scorers who totaled 15 points, including a clutch 3-pointer from point guard Manu Lecomte in the last 23 seconds of the game, compared to Syracuse’s three bench points. Also, Syracuse’s abysmal 42.1 percent free-throw shooting proved to be a major problem when Christmas missed a game-changing two free throws in the final 10 seconds.

Miami has improved to sixth place in the ACC with a now 4-2 conference record while snapping a four-game losing streak against the Orange. The Hurricanes have shown their ability to play up against top-ranked opponents, as both ACC losses were to No. 2 Virginia, which went into double overtime, and then No. 12 Notre Dame after leading for 29 minutes.

They now must focus on the chemistry between transfers Rodriguez and McClellan, who teamed up for two SportsCenter-worthy alley-oops in the second half, as well as consistency behind the arc.

Free-throw and three-point consistency must be improved, as Miami can be a team that lives and dies by the three-pointer. No Hurricane shot from the line until 18:13 in the second half, so they must be more proactive in drawing fouls.

With ACC play in full swing for the Hurricanes, they look to continue to climb the ladder against Georgia Tech, Florida State, No. 10 Louisville and Clemson in the next two weeks.

The red-hot 14-5 Hurricanes will take on Georgia Tech, who has yet to win an ACC matchup, at 9 p.m. Wednesday in the BankUnited Center.

January 24, 2015

Reporters

Alexa Pappas


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The Miami Hurricanes will have plenty of talent on both sides of the ball this season, and four play ...

Jesus Luzardo had yet to throw a single pitch as a professional baseball player in 2016 when he unde ...

Former Miami Hurricanes quarterback Robert Marve has been arrested in Hillsborough County on an out- ...

Mark Richt has led the Miami Hurricanes back into the national college football conversation during ...

University of Miami coach Mark Richt and his vaunted 2018 signing class, nicknamed #Storm18, should ...

Following the summit between Trump and Putin, reaction from politicians, pundits and former intellig ...

A School of Communication associate professor played an important hand—an artistic one!—in World Cup ...

University of Miami law and political science professors weigh in on Trump’s SCOTUS nominee. ...

Research bioclimatologists with the UM Synoptic Climatology Lab counsel cities on how to manage risi ...

A UM-led study is examining how children’s play behavior at beaches could impact their health. ...

The University of Miami's volleyball team earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (A ...

University of Miami head golf coach Patti Rizzo announced the 2018-19 schedule, featuring nine tourn ...

The Canes are well represented across the nation this summer with players competing in each of the t ...

The University of Miami had four student-athletes selected to the watch lists for the Maxwell Award ...

The University of Miami's Symone Mason closed out the 2018 IAAF World U20 Championships with a ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.