Miami Advances to Second Round of NIT to Face Minnesota
March 14, 2012
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) – Rion Brown scored 18 points to lead Miami to a 66-50 win over Valparaiso on Wednesday night in the opening round of the NIT.
Larkin scored 12 points and Trey McKinney Jones finished with 10 for Miami (20-12), which advances to a second-round matchup Sunday against Minnesota. The Golden Gophers beat La Salle 70-61.
“We both didn’t want to end our season tonight,” Larkin said. “They came out and played real hard. Every time we made a run they came right back at us. We were mentally tough and pulled it out.”
Brown hit consecutive 3-pointers to give the Hurricanes their first double-digit lead, 44-33, with 11:31 remaining. Brown’s jumper with 9:15 left increased the lead to 48-35.
Brown shot 6 of 11 from the field, including 4 for 7 from beyond the arc.
“These guys have been doing a great job of finding me,” Brown said. “I just had to make sure to knock down the shots.”
Ryan Broekhoff and Will Bogan each hit 3-pointers to lead a 9-0 run for Valparaiso (22-12). Richie Edwards’ jumper with 6:50 remaining ended the surge and got the Crusaders within 48-45.
Broekhoff scored 18 points and Richie Edwards finished with 16 for the under-manned Crusaders, who used only six players.
“The score was not an indication of how close the game was,” Valparaiso coach Bryce Drew said. “I thought twice today Miami gave us a standing eight count and our guys immediately came right back.”
Garrius Adams’ basket with 5:42 remaining ended a 6-0 spurt and increased Miami’s lead to 54-45. Valparaiso responded with four unanswered points and got to within 54-50 on Erik Buggs’ layup with 4:23 remaining.
“We just had to keep fighting and try to find a way to win the game,” Brown said.
Miami was without leading scorer Durand Scott, who began serving a six-game suspension after being declared ineligible last week for receiving impermissible benefits. Scott, who also missed Friday’s loss to Florida State in the Atlantic Coast Conference tournament, was notified of the suspension earlier Wednesday.
“We talked to Durand to let him know what the circumstances were,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “He handled it with great class.”
The Crusaders were without guards Jay Harris and Matt Kenney, who missed the game because of flu symptoms.
“We only have seven scholarship players available and we really didn’t have many choices as a coaching staff,” Drew said. “But I was extremely proud of the six guys. They gave themselves a chance to win.”
Miami will face Minnesota in the Second Round of the NIT at the BankUnited Center. The date of the game is still TBA. All tickets for the event will be $10 and will go on sale Thursday morning at 10 a.m. Fans can purchase tickets for the Miami-Minnesota NIT game by calling Ticketmaster or going online at Hurricanesports.com.
Prior to the game against FSU in the ACC tournament, the University of Miami declared junior guard Durand Scott ineligible for receiving impermissible benefits. The NCAA has since reinstated Scott and he must serve a six-game suspension. Tonight’s game and the previous Florida State game count toward the six-game suspension.
Sophomore Rion Brown scored a season-high 18 points going 6-of-11 from the field, four of which were from three point range.
Last time Miami played Valpo was on Dec. 28, 1956, when Valparaiso won 81-76. Miami is now 1-1 overall against the Crusaders.
Miami used great perimeter defense in the first half to keep the Crusaders shooting 2-of-15 from beyond the arc. Valpo’s Kevin Van Wijk, the fifth ranked three-point shooter in the country, didn’t have a three pointer in the game.
The Canes held Valpo to 50 points, the lowest scoring contest in Miami’s NIT history. The previous low was against the Creighton BlueJays, a 53-52 Miami win, on Mar. 20, 2006.
Miami has now advanced past the NIT’s first round five times (1963, 2006, 2009, 2011, 2012), and has advanced past the first round in each of its last four postseason appearances.
Miami now improves to 20-12 overall, 13-4 at the BankUnited Center this season, 1-1 all-time versus Valpo, 7-10 in NIT games in program history and 4-0 in NIT home games. Miami also improves to 14-3 at home and 6-9 away from the BankUnited Center this season.
Miami is 17-5 when shooting better than 40 percent from the field, 6-0 when recording 15 or more assists and 16-4 when leading at halftime.