The Hurricanes (10-15, 3-8 ACC) finally got a win Saturday night, defeating North Carolina State 80-65. The win snapped a seven-game losing streak that had lasted throughout the past month.
The NC State Wolfpack (13-10, 3-7 ACC) lost their second straight game, following a 74-65 loss at Georgia Tech.
Miami’s first home win since Dec. 16 was welcomed by a standing ovation from a sub-par crowd of 3100, a large portion of which were NC State fans.
Guards Jack McClinton and Anthony Harris led the team in scoring with 18 points apiece. Brian Asbury finished with 17 points.
Harris’ play came as a pleasant surprise, considering his struggles in recent games.
“Ant’s a senior,” Head Coach Frank Haith said. “I told him before the game, you’ve only got three more [home games]. Let’s go out with a bang.”
NC State was led by forward Ben McCauley, who finished with 19 points and six rebounds.
The Hurricanes featured four players who scored in double figures, with center Dwayne Collins (nine points and 10 rebounds) coming up just one point short.
A large key for the ‘Canes was their ability to hit jumpers, as a large majority of their shots came from the outside.
Miami shot 46 percent for the game, while shooting 7-of-18 from the three-point line.
Another huge boost for the Hurricanes came from walk-on senior Keaton Copeland. Copeland, who has benefited from the injuries of Miami’s post players, received his eighth start of the season.
He capitalized on his opportunity by grabbing 13 rebounds, nine of which were on offense, in 33 minutes of play.
Copeland finished with more offensive rebounds than NC State’s entire team, which only managed eight collectively. The ‘Canes outrebounded the Wolfpack 42-25.
“When you look at Keaton Copeland getting 13 rebounds, who would’ve thought?” Haith said.
After hearing that NC State’s Head Coach Sidney Lowe said they prepared themselves for Copeland’s rebounding and intensity, Haith joked that they must have confused him for suspended player Raymond Hicks.
“Keaton had a good game today,” Haith said. “I’m proud of him. I don’t even know if he plays 33 minutes in practice sometimes.”
Another key to Miami’s win was their ability to cause turnovers. They finished with seven steals as a team, while NC State had only one.
Now that the Hurricanes have finally snapped their losing streak, they can breathe a collective sigh of relief for getting the proverbial monkey off their backs.
“Our guys can feel good for a week,” Haith said. “We haven’t had this feeling in a long time. I want them to enjoy it, be excited, feel good, and be proud of how well they played.”
The Hurricanes now have a week off until their next contest, which will be Feb. 17 at Wake Forest. The ‘Canes, however, have no intentions of dwelling on this win. They realize that they still have to complete their season competitively.
“A win is a win,” McClinton said. “We’ve got to stay humble and keep moving on.”
Joel Brown may be contacted at email@example.com.