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No. 15/16 MBB Beats Pitt, 67-53, in ACC Opener

No. 15/16 MBB Beats Pitt, 67-53, in ACC Opener

By Andy Fledderjohann
HurricaneSports.com

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – The No. 15/16 Miami men’s basketball team started Atlantic Coast Conference play Saturday with a 67-53 triumph over Pitt at the Petersen Events Center. Anthony Lawrence II led four players in double figures with 12 points for Miami (12-1, 1-0 ACC).
 
Miami limited Pitt (8-6, 0-1) to 40.4 percent shooting, including just 30.8 percent in the first half as the Canes built an 11-point halftime advantage. After a slow start, Miami got things going late in the first half and then shot 53 percent in the second half. The Canes finished by shooting 49.1 percent (27-for-55).
 
Ja’Quan Newton and Bruce Brown Jr. each scored 11 for Miami, while freshman Chris Lykes chipped in 10. Shamiel Stevenson scored a game-high 16 points for Pitt.
 
Trailing for much of the first half, Miami’s defense stiffened as the first half progressed, with the Hurricanes holding Pitt to one point over the final 7:34 of the half. UM ended the half on a 13-1 run and took all the momentum and a 30-19 lead into the break.
 
UM held Pitt without a field goal for eight minutes, 31 seconds, spanning both halves, before a Stevenson 3-pointer at the 19:02 mark of the second half. That cut Miami’s lead to 10, but that was as close as the Panthers would get. Brown hit consecutive layups and Ebuka Izundu followed with a dunk during a quick burst that put the Hurricanes up 16 and Miami was never in trouble again. UM built its lead to as many as 21 points on a DJ Vasiljevic 3-pointer with 6:33 left in the second half as it cruised to the win.
 
Miami travels to Georgia Tech at 9 p.m. Wednesday (Jan. 3) before returning home Sunday, Jan. 7 to face off against No. 24 Florida State.
 
To keep up with the University of Miami men’s basketball team on social media, follow @CanesHoops on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.
 
Game Notes
Team
• Miami leads the series with Pitt, 20-18, including 4-1 in ACC play. UM has won four straight against Pitt.
• Miami is 6-8 in ACC openers, including 4-3 under Jim Larrañaga.
• Miami ended the first half on a 13-1 run over the final 6:21 of the first half and did not allow a field goal over the final 7:34 of the opening stanza (8:31 spanning both halves). Pitt missed its final nine field-goal attempts of the half.
• Miami held Pitt scoreless for a span of 5:12 in the first half, the sixth time UM’s has recorded a scoreless stretch of five-plus minutes.
• UM has limited nine of its 13 opponents to fewer than 60 points.
• Miami was 8-for-9 (.889) at the free-throw line, its best performance of the year.
• Pitt committed 19 turnovers, one shy of a season high for a Miami foe.
• Pitt’s 19 first-half points are tied for the second-fewest allowed in the first by Miami this season.
• Miami blocked a season-high eight shots.
 
Individual
• Anthony Lawrence II matched a career high with three blocks. He scored in double figures for the fifth time this season
• Freshman Chris Lykes scored 10 points, his third career game in double figures.
• Ja’Quan Newton scored 11 points and now has 995 career points.
• DJ Vasiljevic tied his previous best of two steals.