Led by 15 points and a career-high 12 rebounds from sophomore big man Dewan Huell, the No. 6-ranked Miami Hurricanes defeated the George Washington Colonials 59-50 Saturday afternoon in Washington, D.C.
The win brings the Canes’ record to 9-0 – one of four unbeaten teams remaining in Division I college basketball. Despite playing on the road, Miami did not trail in the contest.
“I don’t even think about it,” Miami coach Jim Larrañaga said on remaining undefeated. “What I think about is performance. When we get back to Miami, we’ll show the players the breakdowns of our defense and the breakdowns of their rebounding. Those will be more critical areas for us.”
UM’s suffocating defense limited George Washington’s opportunities, specifically in the first half when the Colonials (5-6) only made five field goals and had just 15 points at the break. At one point, they were held without a field goal for more than eight minutes.
”I thought our defense in the first half was really outstanding,” Larrañaga said. “I thought the second half, our defense on the first shot was pretty good, but they offensive rebounded like crazy and that was our point of emphasis – that this team is a very good offensive rebounding team, and we didn’t really meet that challenge.”
Hurricanes freshman guard Lonnie Walker IV and sophomore guard DJ Vasiljevic added 13 and 10 points, respectively. Sophomore guard Bruce Brown struggled to produce in his first game back after missing his previous one with an injury to his shooting hand. He scored just three points while shooting 1-6 in 38 minutes played.
“I was surprised he played today,” Larrañaga said. “We were told it would be three weeks, and then Bruce came after a week and just said, ‘I don’t want to sit out,’ and they said, ‘Well, we can tape you and you can play, but you’ve got to get permission from the doctor.’ So, he got permission from the doctor and he was ready to go.”
But Brown did contribute on defense with three steals, matching a career high.
George Washington did out-rebound Miami 44-39, including 17 on offense, which fueled a second-half comeback to tighten the score.
“The key was to hold them to one possession and not let them get multiple opportunities at the rim,” Huell said.
Guard Jair Bolden led the Colonials with a team-high 13 points but made just five of his 16 shots. Forward Arnaldo Toro pulled down a game-high 13 rebounds.
The game was a homecoming for both Larrañaga and Miami freshman guard Chris Lykes.
Larrañaga served as the head coach for the northern Virginia-based George Mason Patriots. Lykes, who attended Gonzaga College High School, did not have his most efficient outing, scoring just three points on 1-5 shooting, but got to play in front of friends and family at the Charles E. Smith Center.
The Canes matched a season low with just eight turnovers, with no player recording more than one.
Miami next plays in Hawaii as part of the Diamond Head Classic. It will begin the tournament against Hawaii at 1 a.m. ET Dec. 22, followed by a matchup against the winner of the Davidson-New Mexico State game Dec. 23.
UM will not play at home until it takes on Florida State Jan. 7.