Canes Knock Off No. 19 Florida, 72-65
Dec. 4, 2004
By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer
The decision paid off for both of them Saturday.
Harris scored 18 of his career-high 23 points in the second half to help Miami upset No. 19 Florida 72-65 and give Haith his biggest victory in his first season as coach of the Hurricanes.
“Harris really took over the game in the second half,” Florida forward David Lee said. “He was able to get in the lane any time he wanted to.”
He wasn’t alone, either.
Miami’s three starting guards combined for 55 points and gave the Gators problems on offense and defense.
Guillermo Diaz and Robert Hite added 16 apiece for the Hurricanes (3-2), who snapped Florida’s 26-game winning streak against in-state opponents. Miami also showed that the Gators (4-1) still have matchup problems against athletic teams.
“Those three guards are as good as any in the country,” Florida coach Billy Donovan said. “We had no answer for those three on the defensive end of the floor at all. We tried to go zone and they knocked down 3s. We tried to play man-to-man and had no chance to contain them on the dribble. … We were outplayed by Miami on both ends of the floor, particularly in the second half.”
Harris, the son of Chicago playground legend Billy “The Kid” Harris, played 74 minutes under coach Perry Clark last season. Clark cited turnovers as the reason for Harris staying on the bench.
But Harris showed everyone a glimpse of his potential in the season finale against West Virginia. He asked Clark to get in the game in the closing minutes and hit three 3-pointers.
He was even better against the Gators.
“Anthony Harris is just coming into his own,” said Haith, whose team was embarrassed by a loss to South Carolina State last month and also struggled in a win against Wofford.
The Hurricanes were much sharper against Florida.
Harris hit a big 3-pointer with less than 4 minutes to play that put Miami ahead for good. His shot hit the front of the rim and bounced off the backboard before falling through the net and giving the Hurricanes a 63-60 lead. He followed with a floater in the lane.
Diaz sank a hanging runner in the lane with 1:30 to play that gave Miami a six-point lead. Harris hit all four of his free throws in the final minute to secure the win.
“It means a lot. To come in here and beat Florida in their place is huge,” Hite said. “I think that it will start to make people pay attention to us.”
Miami also did a solid job against Florida’s big three, especially Matt Walsh.
Anthony Roberson had 20 points and David Lee added 16, but Walsh was 2-of-9 from the floor and 1-of-5 from beyond the arc. He finished with eight points.
Now the Gators will try to regroup against Stetson before hosting No. 17 Louisville next weekend.
“If we come out and play that way against Louisville, we’ll get beat on our home court by 30,” Lee said.