Despite only holding a one point lead at half, Miami (2-1, 0-1 ACC) held off the University of Central Florida 79-70 for its second consecutive win and its first road win of the season.
Miami jumped out to a 19-9 lead in the first half, but UCF was able to respond with a 20-7 run with just over a minute remaining in the first half. Kameron McGusty closed out the half with back-to-back layups to lead the Hurricanes into the break up 30-29. Although the guard shot 6-17 from field goal range and 1-7 from the 3-point line, he scored when the team needed him most. McGusty led Miami with 17 points and 10 rebounds and got his first double-double of the season.
The game remained close into the second half until just under 17 minutes when the Hurricanes were down 38-39. Freshman Harlond Beverly and senior DJ Vasiljevic started to hit shots and led the Hurricanes on a 14-2 run that lasted more than four minutes. Beverly and Vasiljevic were the difference in the second half and allowed Miami to take full control of the game.
“Winning on the road is the most difficult thing you can do and we were not able to do it a single time last season,” said head coach Jim Larrañaga. Miami finished last season 0-10 on the road.
Beverly scored 13 points in the second half and finished with 15 on the night.
“Watching the older guards in practice really helps me,” Beverly said. “In practice I do a lot of watching, and then I repeat what they do.”
Beverly’s play has caught the eye of coach Larrañaga and his minutes continue to grow. “He’s very athletic, can find open men, finish at the rim and make an occasional three,” Larrañaga said.
Vasiljevic added 13 points in the second half and finished with 16 points.
Senior Chris Lykes scored 11 points and received his first technical foul of the season.
As a team, Miami shot 5-20 from beyond the 3-point line, just 25 percent. However, Miami won the turnover battle, forcing 17 turnovers that led to 21 points.
The Hurricanes return to the Watsco Center Nov. 16 for a 2 p.m matchup against Quinnipiac.
Featured image by Josh Halper