The University of Miami men’s basketball season began Saturday when the Hurricanes beat Nova Southeastern 92-79 in an exhibition game at the Convocation Center.
The true question that must be asked is which team are the Hurricanes: the one that was up 58-36 at the half, or the one that gave up nine more points than it scored to a Division II school that finished with a 7-21 record overall last year?
“I think we played good,” senior guard Robert Hite said. “We have a lot of improving to do and things to work on.”
There were many positives for UM fans to take out of the game. First is the emergence of Anthony King. King dominated the paint by scoring 13 points in the first six minutes of action.
“We need a post presence,” King said. “I am going to try and be that. That’s only going to help us on the inside and its definitely going to help us on the outside.”
King’s play can be summarized within three consecutive possessions: when King posted up for a score, came back down on defense with a block and finished it off with a lay-up. King ended the game with 19 points on 8-10 shooting, nine rebounds and five blocks in 23 minutes.
“We talked about getting a post presence early,” Head Coach Frank Haith said. “Anthony did a great job.”
An exhibition game means there is a chance for some of the new kids to see where they fit into the overall scheme. Denis Clemente had the biggest job to do in taking over at point guard for Anthony Harris, who is out 3-6 weeks with a hairline fracture in his right foot.
“I think that the point guard position is the hardest to pick up as a freshman,” Haith said. “Not only does he need to understand what he is supposed to do, but he has to understand what everyone else is supposed to do.”
Another big contribution from a freshman came from Brian Asbury, who Haith has spoken so well of in the preseason that he hinted he has NBA potential if he works hard enough. Asbury showed he has a nice touch from outside, making both three-pointers he attempted and finishing with 11 points on 4-6 shooting in 16 minutes of work.
Asbury did have a scary moment late in the game when he came down hard on the court, but was in good spirits after the game and is fine.
Haith said the team played well early but needs to work on playing the entire 40 minutes.
“We can’t continue to lose focus,” Haith said. “We can’t have lulls. There are a lot of good things we can take from this game and there are a lot of things we can use as teaching points.”
Denis Brown can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.