Men’s Hoops Dominates In Exhibition Opener
October 30, 2013
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Rion Brown’s 20 points led the University of Miami men’s basketball team past Florida Tech, 84-55, in the season-opening exhibition game at the BankUnited Center Wednesday.
After weeks of practicing and playing against each other, Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga was glad his team was finally able to face an actual opponent.
“It’s great for our players to play against outside competition,” Larrañaga said. “They’re tired of seeing each other. I’d like us to have two or three exhibitions or scrimmages, but we only get one exhibition and one scrimmage.”
Brown got the Hurricanes offense going, throwing down a thunderous alley-oop from Garrius Adams to score Miami’s first points of the year.
“Me and Rion practice a lot together and obviously it showed today,” Adams said. “We did a good job and the rest of the team did, too.”
After holding Florida Tech scoreless for nearly five minutes, Chris Carter hit a three to get the Panthers on the board and snap a 7-0 Hurricanes run.
The Hurricanes built a big lead early in the first half, running a 23-6 lead with 10:26 to go. Brown and Adams combined for 25 points in the first half to propel Miami to a 40-18 lead at the break.
“He and Garrius are seniors,” Larrañaga said of his senior wings. “We need them both to play hard and well.”
Florida Tech battled back in the second half, cutting Miami’s 32-point halftime lead to 10 with 11:09 to go. But the Hurricanes proved to be too much for the Panthers, pulling away over the remainder of the second half to finish off their 29-point victory.
Adams shined in his first game action since the 2011-12 season. The talented wing finished with 16 points, tied for second-most for the Canes with freshman Deandre Burnett.
“I’ve been practicing for a while now so I don’t feel like this is anything more than how we practice,” Adams said. “We practice hard and play hard. I felt great.”
Burnett opened the game cold, scoring just four first half points on 1-of-5 shooting. But the Miami native found his stroke in the second half, leading all Canes with 12 points after the intermission.
“Anytime I step out on the court with my team, with my brothers, it’s a great feeling,” Burnett said. “My teammates encouraged me and that helped all the nerves go away.”
While Burnett was the standout freshman, fellow newcomers Manu Lecomte, Davon Reed and James Kelly saw their first game action in orange and green. Lecomte started and finished with two points and three assists, while Reed added six points and Kelly grabbed three rebounds off the bench.
Sophomore center Tonye Jekiri and transfer big man Donnavan Kirk worked hard on the glass for the Hurricanes. Jekiri scored three points and led the Canes with 10 rebounds, while Kirk reeled in nine boards and scored 13 points in his first game back at Miami since the 2010-11 season.
“I would have liked for Tonye to score a little bit more,” Larrañaga said. “He missed a couple of shots and got himself in a hurry a little bit.”
While Miami won by a large margin, Larrañaga saw plenty of room for improvement for his team.
“I told the team after the game that this is a whole new environment,” Larrañaga said. “Every guy has got a different role. We have a whole new starting five, a whole new substitution pattern. Everybody had a different role and until we gain some positive experiences, we’re going to have a lot of things that are going to need to be ironed out.”
The Hurricanes are back in action Friday, Nov. 8, in their regular season opener against St. Francis (NY). Tipoff against the Terriers is schedule for 10 p.m. at the BankUnited Center.
Season tickets, mini-plans and non-coference single-game tickets are on sale now, and can be purchase at CanesTix.com or by calling the BankUnited Center Ticket Office at 305.284.2263. The ticket office is open Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- While appearing in 34 games last year, sophomore Tonye Jekiri made his first start Wednesday night. Freshman Manu Lecomte also registered his first career start. Joining the two on the floor to start the game were seniors Rion Brown, Donnavan Kirk and Garrius Adams.
- Miami basketball opened the season with a backdoor alley oop from Garrius Adams to Rion Brown.
- Freshman Manu Lecomte registered the first points of his career, scoring on a layup to give the Canes a 7-0 lead.
- With a 3-pointer at 14:55 in the first half, Garrius Adams scored his first points since the 2011-12 season.
- Following an emphatic rejection, Donnavan Kirk drove the length of the court and scored his first Hurricane points since the 2009-2010 season. Kirk spent the past two seasons playing basketball at DePaul.
- Florida native Deandre Burnett registered his first collegiate point at 12:25 of the first half after drawing a foul on a jumper and hitting a free throw. He made his first collegiate field goal, a 3-pointer, with 55 seconds left in the first half.
- Donnavan Kirk recorded a Miami career high eight rebounds in the first half, eclipsing his previous best of five in an entire game on 11/16/09.
- Miami is the only ACC team with zero returning starters. Additionally, Miami lost its six top players, who started 174 combined games. Rion Brown is the only Hurricane to start any games (6) last season, so the Canes return 6-of-180 starts, which is 3.3 percent.