The game may not have counted, but it was a debut that will be remembered by the Hurricane newcomers for a very long time.
On Wednesday night at the BankUnited Center, the University of Miami men’s basketball team beat Barry University 102-33 in an exhibition contest.
That score may not even be indicative of how close the game was. Barry only made three three pointers in 24 attempts and had a microscopic three assists.
“The things I’m looking for are our defensive intensity, our stance, our ball pressure and rebounding and we got loose balls,” seventh-year head coach Frank Haith said. “We shot the ball really well and if we shoot like that we’ll win a lot of games”
Miami had five players totaling double figures in scoring. Junior small forward DeQuan Jones and redshirt junior guard Malcolm Grant paved the way for the newcomers and set the tone early. Jones tied for a team-high 16 points and chipped in with seven rebounds.
“Coach [Haith] put a big emphasis on rebounding,” Jones said. “He explained to me that if I just assert all my energy into rebounding, everything will take care of itself.”
Grant lived up to the offseason hype as he finished with 15 points, all coming via the three-pointer.
But it was the newbies that stole the show.
Freshman guard Rion Brown matched Jones’ 16 points and connected from long range four times. Freshman forward Erik Swoope hustled and drew key charges. His blue collar mentality kept the intensity up. Freshman forward Raphael Akpejiori recorded six points and five rebounds. Redshirt freshman forward Donnavan Kirk was flawless as he was four-for-four from the floor and recorded a double-double tallying 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Miami only allowed six points to Barry in the first 14 minutes of the second half.
“I think we did a really good job in the second half not letting up,” Grant said. “I think at times last year we would get sloppy.”
Miami next faces Florida Southern in another exhibition game. The game is Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the BankUnited Center and will be broadcast on 90.5 FM.
Justin Antweil may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.