Basketball, Sports

Canes Hoops begin season with blowout of UT Rio Grande Valley

Opening night of the 2015-16 season finished as a success. The Hurricanes took down the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Vaqueros (UTRGV) in a one-sided 86-59 victory at the BankUnited Center Friday night.

Despite maintaining a lead throughout a majority of the contest, the game was a true tale of two halves for the Canes’ offense. In the first half, the team shot a weak 27.6 percent from the field and even more abysmal 8.3 percent from beyond the arc. The Canes were able to up their numbers in the second half to 54.5 percent from the field and 47.4 percent from downtown.

One of the main contributors to the shooting turnaround was senior forward Ivan Cruz Uceda, who was able to knock down four triples. Uceda is most effective on offense from behind the three-point line, and he should be able to help the Canes spread the floor on offense this season.

“If he can spot-up and get an open three, like he did tonight, he is a very good three-point shooter,” Head Coach Jim Larrañaga said of Uceda.

Uceda, who scored 16 points against the Vaqueros, lost 20 pounds over the off-season, and he hopes that a slimmer physique will lead to an effective senior season.

“I was trying to get physically as good as I could to help my team out,” Uceda said.

Uceda’s teammates are excited by his weight loss as well.

“He was fat last year. Once he lost that weight it’s better for us, he can guard better,” said redshirt senior guard Sheldon McClellan, who led the Canes in scoring with 18 points.

Although the team did not shoot well from the field in the opening 20 minutes, they shot extremely well from the free throw line at 91.7 percent in the first half. Free throws were a common theme throughout the game, as the Canes were able to reach the charity stripe 33 times.

Senior center Tonye Jekiri anchored the paint. He led the Hurricanes with 12 rebounds, and he was a key reason why Miami out-rebounded UTGRV 45-34.

Despite the large margin of victory, the score was relatively close in the early going. In fact, the game was once tied at 15.

“We had some pre-game jitters. You know the first game, but in the second half we settled in. We got more comfortable on offense and defense,” McClellan said.

The offense clicked as the night progressed, but redshirt senior point guard Angel Rodriguez struggled to score throughout the game. He shot 1-of-7 from beyond the three-point line, and was only able to muster five points. Larrañaga believes that the Rodriguez’s shooting struggles should not fall solely on his shoulders and that his teammates should not put him in bad situations.

“A guy passes up a wide-open shot with seven seconds on the shot clock, and passes it to him with five seconds left on the shot clock. In the NBA, I think they call that, ‘they threw him a bomb,’ because it just blows up,” Larrañaga said.

Rodriguez did throw two impressive transition alley-oops to McClellan.

Hours before tip-off, much-hyped redshirt junior Kamari Murphy was suspended for the Canes’ first three games of the season.

“Kamari broke a team rule. It’s unfortunate, he is a great kid,” Larrañaga said. “He made a mistake and is paying a very dear price. We are looking forward to having him back.”

The Hurricanes next face Louisiana 7 p.m. Monday at the BankUnited Center.

November 13, 2015

Reporters

Tej Joshi


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

It’s the play Miami Hurricanes fans will never forget — and Florida State fans are trying to forget. ...

Miami Hurricanes fans might recall their favorite college football players in past years dreaming of ...

The new quarterback is usually the ones fans gush over. For the University of Miami, last season it ...

Debate all you want, but University of Miami football coach Mark Richt made it clearer than ever Wed ...

Last year, when University of Miami tailback Mark Walton attended the Atlantic Coast Conference Foot ...

An ACLU report authored by UM sociologists documents racial and ethnic disparities in Miami-Dade Cou ...

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 ...

Miami junior wide receiver Ahmmon Richards was among those named to the watch list for the 2018 Bile ...

University of Miami junior running back Travis Homer was named a preseason candidate for the Doak Wa ...

Six former Canes competed on NBA Summer League teams, with three averaging at least 10 points per ga ...

Quick Hits gives University of Miami volleyball fans an opportunity to get to know the new student-a ...

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