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Hurricanes Fall 71-66 at No. 4 Louisville

Hurricanes Fall 71-66 at No. 4 Louisville

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Up by as many as 14 points in the opening half, Miami came up just short against No. 4 Louisville, 71-66, at the KFC Yum! Center.

Miami (16-8, 6-6 ACC) opened the game with a strong defensive effort, holding the Cardinals scoreless for the first 5:17 minutes of the game.

Deng Adel knocked down a pair of threes to get the Cardinals on the board, but a pair of threes from, freshman guard DJ Vasiljevic and sophomore guard Anthony Lawrence, Jr., countered them both.

Following two free throws by Quentin Snider, Canes junior point guard Ja’Quan Newton knocked down a three, on his way to six consecutive points. With just under 11 minutes to play in the first half, a dunk by sophomore center Ebuka Izundu gave the Canes their largest lead of the game, 22-8.

Dishing out eight assists off the first 11 makes, Miami entered the locker room leading, 33-26.

This marked only the sixth time all year; Louisville entered the break trailing in a game with a record of 2-3 in its previous five outings.

Looking for their second straight win in the series, the Hurricanes were in command for nearly 34 minutes before the Cardinals took their first lead of the game.

During a 13-0 run, sparked by an array of Cardinals scorers, a free throw by Mangok Mathiang gave Louisville a 61-53 advantage, its largest lead of the game.

Miami once again rallied back with a run of its own, led by a 3-pointer by Newton and a trio of made free throws by Newton (1) and Izundu (2) to even the score back at 61 apiece.

Although, following a foul which sent Snider to the line, Louisville (20-5, 8-4 ACC) regained a lead it would not look back on.

Up next for the Hurricanes, a return to the Watsco Center for a pair of home games against Georgia Tech Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. and Clemson on Saturday, Feb. 18 at noon.

To keep up with the University of Miami men’s basketball team on social media, follow @CanesHoops on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Postgame Notes

Miami’s starters against Louisville were Ja’Quan Newton, Bruce Brown, Davon Reed, Kamari Murphy and Dewan Huell. Miami is now 10-5 with this starting five.

Junior point guard Ja”Quan Newton led all Canes with 15 points, while also pulling down five rebounds.

Scoring 12 points this afternoon, freshman guard Bruce Brown has scored in double digits in six of the last nine outings.

The Boston native also pulled down a team-high seven boards and dished out four assists. He has now grabbed at least four rebounds in 22 of 24 games and at least two assists in 18 contests.

Freshman Dewan Huell has scored in 10 straight games and has a rebound in eight straight outings, after pulling down three boards today to go along with four points.
Senior forward Kamari Murphy finished the game shooting a perfect 4-of-4 from the field, on his way to 10 points.

Sophomore Ebuka Izundu ended the day with eight points and five rebounds in 15 minutes of action. He hit-3-of-4 shots from the field and was 2-of-2 at the line.

Prior to today’s game, the center recorded 16 points, six rebounds, a block and a steal in against NC State on Feb. 4. He hit 6-of-9 of his shots from the field and was 4-of-5 at the line. Then, against Virginia Tech on Feb. 8, he added eight points on 4-of-6 shooting from the field. Prior to the game against the Wolfpack, Izundu totaled 13 points, 28 rebounds (3.1/g), six blocks (0.7/g) and had no steals in the first nine ACC games of the season. He was 6-of-16 from the field and 1-of-4 at the line in the first nine league outings.

Senior guard Davon Reed knocked down a shot from long distance on his way to seven points against Louisville. Reed has made 49 shots from long range in the past 16 games and has hit a three in every game this season (24 games).

Miami falls to 3-10 all-time against Louisville, and 0-4 when playing at KFC Yum! Center. Head Coach Jim Larrañaga is 1-3 at Miami against the Cardinals.

Miami falls to 2-22 all-time against top-five teams when playing on the road.

In its ninth ACC game facing a team coming off a loss, Miami falls to 5-4.

Postgame Quotes

Miami Head Coach, Coach Jim Larrañaga

(Opening Statement) “Well, I thought that was a really terrific college basketball game. I thought our guys played hard and well for a very long stretch. I thought Louisville, when they fell behind early, really dug down deep. Started the second half with three baskets off of offensive rebounds, which has really been a strength of ours keeping people off the glass, but they’re very good at that and that got them back. It kind of see-sawed for a while and they finished a little stronger than we did.” 

(On Miami’s zone causing offensive struggles for Louisville) “For 95 percent of the season, we have played man-to-man, almost exclusively. Only as this season has worn on have we adjusted and added a couple of zone defenses – we had them early in the season, but never used them. But you need them as you face the different teams in the ACC with very short turn-around, and we played on Wednesday night, we were exhausted after the game, the guys played so hard. We had a walk through on Thursday, so we really needed to make the game preparation very, very simple, and we used the zone effectively on Wednesday, so we just decided to stay with it. I thought the difference is in the second half was we still made them miss early on, but they got those second chance points and we would’ve preferred they didn’t.”

(On seeing the fan rushing the court rush) “Basically no, but there was a little bit of a commotion in our huddle and I glanced up and there was someone there, I believe in red, and we don’t normally wear red. I had asked the coach and they just said it was some fan. Is that right? Was it some fan? It wasn’t a Miami fan.”

(Success attacking Louisville’s switching defense) “Part of your offensive scheme’s is to create certain situations over and over again. It is up to the players to recognize how the opponent is defending and then attack that. So if they’re switching, if they’re trapping, if they’re clogging, we have all different terms and we tell the players this is what you can anticipate them doing. I thought early in the game we were very, very good at catching the guy who was rolling to the basket. Kamari Murphy got a couple of baskets, Dewan Huell got a nice little jump hook, Ebuka Izundu got a basket off of it too. That was very helpful to us to get those inside baskets off of good passing, but as the game wore on, their defense got harder to get inside and we ended up having to shoot more perimeter shots. I thought one of the major keys to the game was their defense on Davon Reed. They really shadowed him and we weren’t able to get him open very often and I saw Coach Pitino stand up one time when we drove baseline and kicked it to Davon for a wide open three and he was barking at whoever it was, I don’t know the player, to not leave Davon so that was obviously a major part of their defensive strategy and it worked. We had a hard time getting him free.”

(On how impressive and deep the ACC is in basketball) “It is. The league is a monster. I look at our schedule, we are on the road, today at Louisville. We got to go to Virginia, to Florida State, that’s three of the top ten teams in the country. They will probably be seeded 1, 2, 3 in the NCAA Tournament. We have a home game, Georgia Tech, Clemson, Duke, and then have to go on the road also to Virginia Tech. Our schedule is murder, but everybody else in the league looks at their schedule and knows that if you don’t play really well, you are going to lose. If you play really well, then you have a chance, but the other team is probably going to play really well, like today. I thought the game was in doubt right up until the last minute. I mean we did fall behind by, was it six? We fell behind by eight, but then it was all of a sudden, what two again, or three? Tied? So you see, I don’t know, I wasn’t paying much attention. But that’s the game that these players are so darn good. I love my team. The guys on my team are getting better. We weren’t this good back in November and December, but now we put ourselves in a position, I think if we even made a couple more free throws, it would’ve tightened it and maybe even given us a chance to make a shot right at the end.”

(On preparing and anticipating Quentin Snider’s return) “It seems like every time we play a team that had a hurt player, he was back against us. Amile Jefferson from Duke, this year. A couple years back we played Duke when Ryan Kelly was out for six weeks. He came back and scored 36 on us. In his first game back and he hadn’t even practiced. I’m just happy Quentin (Snider) didn’t get 36 today.”