UM continues dominance

The Hurricane men’s basketball team was taken to overtime in its last two games, squeaking past its Big East foes at Miami Arena. But on Thursday night against the Villanova Wildcats, there would be no need for an extra period. The ‘Canes routed the Wildcats, 76-58, thanks primarily to a 27 -3 run to start the game.
Before the crowd of nearly 5,000 had a chance to settle into their seats, sophomore Darius Rice had a three-pointer and an ally-oop courtesy of Marcus Barnes. Rice finished with 30 points, just five shy of his career high.
“I could feel the shots,” said Rice, who finished 10-of-15 from the field, with four three-pointers. “I thought I could make every shot I took. My teammates did a good job of finding me open. We discussed it in the locker room before the game and we agreed that we didn’t want to play another overtime game.”
Miami looked to be a team on a mission as they dominated early and often, coasting to its 18th win of the season. Dating back to last year, this was the thirteenth consecutive home win for the ‘Canes.
“The first 10 minutes was the best we’ve played,” UM coach Perry Clark said. “Everyone wants to talk about Rice’s 30 points. I want to talk about his 10 rebounds and his defensive play. We all know he can shoot, but lately he has been showing that he is becoming quite a complete player.”
Rice and Co. forced 26 Wildcat turnovers and had the edge on the defensive boards, out rebounding Villanova by four.
“We weren’t strong enough or tough enough to make plays,” Villanova coach Jay Wright said. “They are as good as I’ve seen. These guys hammered us.”
Villanova did rally to avoid further embarrassment. The Wildcats cut the lead to 62-51 with just under two minutes remaining in the game, before strong Miami foul shooting put the game away for good. Villanova was led offensively by guard Gary Buchanon who had 15 points and 3 assists.
While Rice was the star for Miami, senior leader John Salmons chipped in with 15 points and 33 strong minutes. James Jones along with Elton Tylor added the muscle in the paint to shut down Villanova’s interior presence.
Miami next plays at home tonight at 7:30 against the Boston College Eagles. If they want to beat the Eagles, the ‘Canes are going to have to come out with the same intensity. Boston College is led by one of the best guards in the country in Troy Bell, who is averaging over twenty points per game. The Eagles are coming of off a 10-point loss to Duke at home but are 4-0 on the road this season.
Miami will look to make it 14 in a row at home and continue to garner national accolades.
“We wanted to make a statement because people were saying we couldn’t sustain our level of play,” Salmons said. “This program never gets the respect it deserves.”