Guard Kameron McGusty produced 20 points, 10 rebounds and four assists, forward Anthony Walker added 14 points and three blocks off the bench, and Miami beat Canisius, 77-67, on Tuesday night in its season opener.
The Hurricanes sparked a 13-2 run over 4 1/2 minutes to regain enough momentum as seven minutes remained in the second half inside the Watsco Center. Walker drove down the lane for a 3-point play and capped off the scoring threat on a baseline feed from forward Sam Waardenburg.
“I thought our guys responded very well. Canisius has a real veteran team,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “I thought they executed both offensively and defensively very well.”
McGusty, a sixth-year redshirt senior who tested NBA Draft waters at the end of last season, scored 12 points on a 5-of-6 shooting mark in the first half. Walker, a third-year sophomore who averaged 9.6 points per game in 26 games last season, led the Hurricanes in the second half with five of nine points scored at the foul line.
Sixth-year redshirt senior Rodney Miller, Jr., opened with six quick points, yet Miami (1-0) veered toward guard-based scoring as the evening progressed. DePaul transfer guard Charlie Moore collected 13 points and four assists.
“We’ve got to get as much inside scoring as we can,” McGusty said. “We have guards that can really shoot it off the bounce and catch-and-shoot, so we’re definitely going to need that contribution off the bench and from the bigs in general … It’s really going to come to show that we can score the ball inside and outside.”
Canisius forward Malek Green helped the Golden Griffins weather an early Miami attack, scoring eight of the visitors’ first 13 points. Full court pressure and 12 fouls, aside from an over four-minute scoring drought, gave the Hurricanes a less comfortable lead in the final five minutes.
“I thought we were going to really get control of the game, and then all of a sudden there were a couple of turnovers, a foul,” Larrañaga said. “We didn’t handle that situation particularly well but then we regrouped.”
11th-year Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga improved to 9-2 in season openers, while the Hurricanes competed in front of fans at the Watsco Center for the first time since prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The crowd is a huge help, and I hope they know that,” Walker said. “We actually had our spirit group sit down and watch us during practice. We encourage a lot of our fans to come out and support us because we need that.”
The Hurricanes next face Central Florida at home on Saturday. Tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.