'Canes Face Rhode Island In Las Vegas

Nov. 24, 2003

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UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND (1-1) VS. UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI (2-0)
Las Vegas Tournament
Tuesday, November 25, 2003 – 7:30 p.m. (PT)
Valley High School – Las Vegas, NV
TV – None; Radio – WQAM (560 AM)
Website: hurricanesports.com

ON RHODE ISLAND:
Rhode Island enters its game with the Hurricanes with a record of 1-1 following a 74-68 loss to Lubbock Christian on Sunday. The Rams opened the season with an 89-77 win over Northeastern on November 21st. Rhode Island has three players averaging in double-figures led by junior guard Dawan Robinson at 21.0 points per game. Robinson poured in 26 points in the Rams’ loss to Lubbock Christian.

THE SERIES:
Miami and Rhode Island will meet for the fifth time with the Hurricanes winning all four previous meetings. Miami and Rhode Island last met on January 5, 1970 with Miami taking a 105-95 decision.

UP NEXT:
Following the Rhode Island game Miami concludes the Las Vegas Tournament against Bradley on November 26th. The Hurricanes are back in the Convocation Center on December 2 against Stetson starting at 8 p.m.. The game will be the second of a double-header with the UM women’s team facinf Florida International at 5 p.m.

TV/RADIO COVERAGE:
Miami’s game versus Rhode Island will not be televised. The game will be broadcast on the Hurricane Radio Network WQAM (560 AM). Joe Zagacki “The Voice of the Hurricanes” will handle the play-by-play. Brian London will serve as studio host. Fans can also catch the game on the web at hurricanesports.com.

ON THE COACHES:
University of Miami head coach Perry Clark is beginning his fourth season with the Hurricanes and 15th season overall as a collegiate head coach. Clark is 53-38 (.582) at Miami while his career record in 14 seasons stands at 238-183 (.565).

Rhode Island head coach Jim Baron is in his second season with the Rams and 17th season overall. His record with the Rams is 29-32 (.475) while is overall mark is 235-234 (.501)

A WIN AGAINST RHODE ISLAND WOULD:

Improve Miami’s record to 3-0 on the season.Mark Miami’s seventh consecutive inseason tournament victory.Improve Miami’s record against URI to 5-0.

MIAMI VS. NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS:
Since joining The BIG EAST Conference beginning with the 1991-92 season, the Hurricanes have compiled an 82-39 (.678) record against non-conference opponents, including a 57-13 mark (.814) at home. Miami is 1-0 against non-conference opponents this season and has won 25 of its last 30 games against non-conference teams. Miami has won 21 consecutive home games against non-conference opponents. Miami’s last home loss to a non-conference opponent was a 60-57 defeat against Kentucky on January 29, 2000 at Miami Arena.

RICE NAMED WOODEN AWARD CANDIDATE:
Senior forward Darius Rice has been named one of 50 preseason candidates for the John R. Wooden College Basketball Player of the Year Award.

Created in 1976, the John R. Wooden Award is the most prestigious individual honor in college basketball. It is bestowed upon the nation’s best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his university that he is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a cumulative 2.0 GPA.

The 2004 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Wooden Award All-American team and the presentation of the Legends of Coaching Award, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on Saturday, April 10, 2004 and will be broadcast live on CBS.

RICE NAMED NAISMITH CANDIDATE:
Darius Rice has been named one of 30 preseason candidates for the 2003-04 Naismith College Basketball Player of the Year Award.The Naismith Awards program, now in its 36th year, honors the outstanding college basketball players in the United States. The awards program was founded by the Atlanta Tipoff Club, an organization dedicated to recognizing the achievements of student-athletes in basketball.

The candidates were selected by a vote of the Board of Selectors comprised of leading basketball coaches, journalists and basketball analysts. Members of the board were asked to name top male and female players who are most likely to be in contention for the award.

HIGH FLYERS:
The University of Miami’s backcourt may be the most athletic in the country. Miami’s guards have an average vertical jump of 38.2 inches. All of UM’s guards have vertical jumps of at least 36 inches. Leading the way is freshman Guillermo Diaz who has a vertical leap of 41 inches.

DID YOU KNOW?:
The University of Miami has registered a 50-32 (.610) conference mark since the 1998-99 season. UM’s record ranks in a tie for third among BIG EAST teams over that period.

TOP RECRUITING CLASS:
Head coach Perry Clark and his staff put together one of the nation’s top recruiting classes for this upcoming season. Miami’s class of forward Karron Clarke, guard Guillermo Diaz, forward/center Leonard Harden III, guard Anthony Harris and forward/center Anthony King is ranked as high as eighth in the nation by Street & Smith’s.

CLARK TOPS AMONG UM COACHES:
Fourth-year head Coach Perry Clark recorded 51 wins in his first three seasons with the Hurricanes marking the most wins by any UM basketball coach in his first three seasons. Clark is 2-0 this season giving him 53 wins as UM’s head coach. The most wins by a UM coach in his first four seasons is 65 set by Bill Foster from 1985-89.

MIAMI SPLITS EXHIBITION GAMES:
The University of Miami finished 1-1 in its two exhibition games falling 88-86 to Nike Elite on November 2 and recording a 93-67 win over Team Georgia on November 12. Darius Rice led UM averaging 30.0 points and 8.0 rebounds in the two games while shooting 22-36 (.611) from the field, 8-13 (.615) from three-point range and 8-11 (.727) from the free throw line.

EARLY SEASON HEAT:
Under head coach Perry Clark the Hurricanes have excelled in the month of November. Since the 2000-01 season Miami has registered a 14-1 record in the month of November including a 2-0 record this season. Miami has won 11 straight games in the month of November.

PLAYING HIS BEST AGAINST THE BEST:
UM forward Darius Rice shined last season in the big games. Against ranked teams Rice averaged 34.3 points and 6.0 rebounds while shooting 35-69 (.507) from the floor and 15-33 (.455) from three-point range.

CATCHING FIRE:
Darius Rice tied for the team lead with nine games of 20-or-more points last season. Three times last season Rice went for 20-or-more points in a single half including a season-high 27 points in the first half of Miami’s 77-76 win over UConn.

BEING THROWN INTO THE FIRE:
Miami relied heavenly on four of its freshmen last season. Rob Hite, Armondo Surratt, Eric Wilkins and Gary Hamilton started a combined 50 games and all averaged 16 or more minutes per game. The 50 combined freshmen starts wee the most since the 1985-86 season, UM’s first since the program was dropped in 1971, when Eric Brown (27), Dennis Burns (20), Bryan Hughes (28), Kevin Presto (28) and Mark Richardson (18) combined to start 121 games.

Twice last season the Hurricanes have had three freshmen in the starting line-up. Miami had at least one freshman in the starting lineup in all but one game last season.

MR. CLUTCH:
Darius Rice’s three-point basket with 0.5 seconds left to defeat Connecticut on January 20th marked the fourth time last season the forward hit a three-pointer at the end of regulation to either win the game or send the game to overtime.With the Hurricanes’ down 72-69 to Florida , Rice connected on a three-pointer from the right corner with 26 seconds remaining to tie the score. Florida went on to win the game 94-93 in double-overtime.On January 4th against North Carolina, Rice hit a three-pointer, again from the right corner, to tie the score at 60-60 with three seconds left. Miami went on to win the game 64-61.

In Miami’s first meeting with Connecticut on January 11, Rice sent the game to overtime with a three-pointer from the tip of the key tying the score at 71-71 with two seconds left. Connecticut won the game 83-80.

WORKING OVERTIME:
Miami played a school single-season record five overtime games last season. Miami finished 1-4 in those overtime games. Miami has played at least one overtime contest in each of the last five seasons. UM has amassed a 9-6 record (including tournament games) in BIG EAST overtime contests (5-3 at home). The ‘Canes own a 25-24 overall record in overtime contests during their history (5-5 in double-overtime games and a 20-19 mark in single-overtime contests).

NO DAY AT THE BEACH:
Miami’s 73-72 win over No. 11 Connecticut last season marked the ninth consecutive season that the Hurricanes defeated a ranked opponent at home.

VERSUS RANKED OPPONENTS:
Miami was 1-2 against ranked teams this season. The Hurricanes are 19-19 versus ranked opponents since 1996-97 and have defeated at least one ranked team in each of the last nine seasons. Miami is 28-84 (.250) all-time against ranked teams including a 25-70 (.263) record since the rebirth of the program in 1985.

IT’S ALL ACADEMIC:
According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, the University of Miami men’s basketball program ranks third in the nation among the 117 Division I-A institutions with a 78 percent graduation rate for student-athletes who entered school from 1993-97 and earned their degrees within six years.

Only Stanford (100%) and Southern Methodist (83%) had higher graduation rates among Division I-A institutions. The national average for Division I-A men’s basketball players over that four-year period was 36 percent.In addition the Hurricanes ranked in a tie for 19th among all 327 Division I institutions. Graduation rates were tabulated and released by the NCAA in its 2003 NCAA Graduation Rates Report. The Hurricanes’ 78 percent graduation rate is the highest among any institution in the BIG EAST, ACC or SEC. From 1993-94 to 1995-96 the Hurricanes registered a perfect 100 percent graduation rate.

For the 1995-96 class, both the UM men’s and women’s basketball programs registered 100 percent graduation rates. Miami was one of only six Division I-A institutions, along with BYU, Duke, Rice, North Carolina and Virginia Tech, to record a 100 percent graduation rate for that class in both men’s and women’s basketball.

SINGLE GAME/MINI PLAN TICKETS ON SALE:
Single-game tickets for all 10 University of Miami men’s basketball non-conference home games, including clashes with Florida State, Florida International and Florida Atlantic, are now available at the Hurricane Ticket Office for as little as $15.

UM is also offering a new Saturday “7” mini-plan, which includes tickets for all seven of Miami’s Saturday games, for just $140. The plan includes some of Miami’s biggest games including match-ups with intra-state rivals Florida International and Florida Atlantic, as well as BIG EAST games versus Pittsburgh, Georgetown, defending NCAA Champion Syracuse, and West Virginia.

Season-ticket packages for all 18 Miami home games, including defending National Champion Syracuse, are also available for as little as $175.

The Hurricane Ticket Office is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. Fans wishing to place orders by phone can call the UM Ticket Office at (305) 284-CANE in Dade, or 1-800-GO-CANES outside Dade County.