The Miami Hurricanes’ men’s basketball team kicked off their season in great fashion with a strong 73-50 performance against FIU.
“I was pleased with our effort,” Head Coach Frank Haith said. “I thought our post guys were outstanding. As we talked about in the pre-season, that was going to be the strength of our team.”
The Golden Panthers took the opening tip, but that was about all the team could secure.
Miami guard Jack McClinton scored the team’s first points of the season with a shot from downtown, giving Miami a 3-0 lead.
“McClinton adds another dimension to the team,” FIU Head Coach Sergio Rouco said. “He fills the void left by [Robert] Hite and [Guillermo] Diaz.”
Both teams started the game very physical, crashing the boards on both sides of the court.
Early on, Miami was led by the hot hand of McClinton, who put up seven points, including two three point shots in the first five minutes, helping Miami take a 14-10 lead.
Miami then turned up the energy, as they were going after every rebound, hitting the floor on loose balls, and fighting for every second chance opportunity.
Center Anthony King and forwards Jimmy Graham and Dwayne Collins inserted their dominance down low and showed their finesse when shooting from the outside.
“It is different than what we had in the past,” Haith said. “We have some guys who are 6’8″, physical, strong, athletic guys who are long, quick guys in the post. They give us a depth that we have not had here in the past.”
Defensively, the team was able to lock down FIU, holding them to a scoring drought from 13:16 left in the first half to 8:41 left in the half.
The second half started with Miami ahead 42-24 and continued with a basket from King, putting Miami up by 20 points.
FIU would close the Miami lead to 46-32 with 15:20 left in the second half but that would be the closest they would get for the rest of the night.
From there the quartet of Collins, Asbury, McClinton and Anthony Harris took over the game, and the Hurricanes finished off the Golden Panthers 73-50. Senior Anthony King contributed a career-high 19 points.
“I remember Coach Haith telling me to come out and make a statement,” King said. “I really wasn’t shooting for a career high. I just tried to play hard.”
Haith believes that despite having a young team, they were able to come together and secure a significant win.
“It was the first game out, and we have a lot of young kids,” Haith said. “I think we had some nervousness and excitement out of some guys, but our guys worked themselves through that. It was a big win for us.”
Pravin Patel may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.