Canes Take Down La Salle, 85-49
FULLERTON, Calif. – Jumping out to a 31-point lead through the first 20 minutes of action, the University of Miami men’s basketball team cruised through the first round of the Wooden Legacy over La Salle, 85-49, Thursday at the Titan Gym on the campus of Cal State Fullerton.
The Hurricanes (4-0) advance to face Fresno State, a 78-59 victor over Northwestern, in the semifinals at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT on Friday. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2. Check out the full bracket HERE.
“I thought we got off to a great start,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “We played great in the first half. In the second half, LaSalle did a great job pressing us and forcing some turnovers. We got a little careless with the ball. Overall, it was a very good neutral-site victory for us and we are looking forward to the semifinals tomorrow.”
Sophomore guard Chris Lykes closed out the contest shooting an efficient 5-of-7 from the field and 7-of-8 from the charity stripe to notch a game-high 18 points. Lykes was one of five Hurricanes to score in double figures, most closely followed by junior guard Dejan Vasiljevic, who notched 15 points, while pulling down a career-high seven rebounds.
Redshirt senior guard Zach Johnson scored 12 points, while senior center Ebuka Izundu and redshirt sophomore forward Sam Waardenburg both tallied 10 points apiece. Izundu was a perfect 5-of-5 from the field to go along with a team-high eight rebounds.
The Hurricanes shot 30-of-55 (54.5 percent) from the field, while limiting La Salle (0-5) to 35 percent (21-60). The Explorers were just 2-for-25 from 3-point range, while Miami shot 8-for-19 from behind the arc.
The 36-point margin of victory was the second largest in tournament history, behind only San Diego State’s 37-point win over Sacramento State last year (89-52).
Miami ended the game with a 42-26 edge in points in the paint, as well as a 26-9 lead in points off turnovers. Both teams had their share of sloppy play, with La Salle committing 20 turnovers and Miami 19. Miami out-rebounded La Salle, 39-28.
After the teams exchanged baskets though the opening 2:20 of action, Lykes knocked down a 3-pointer to give Miami its first lead of the game, 7-6. Miami dominated the rest of the half, outscoring La Salle 45-12 over the final 17:17 to take a 49-18 lead into the break.
Through the contest’s first 20 minutes, all eight Hurricanes to see action scored at least four points, with Lykes leading the way with 10 of his game-high 18 points.
UM shot 62.5-percent (20-of-32) from the field in the first half and dished out 10 assists, while forcing La Salle to shoot just 8-of-27 (29.6 percent) from the field and 1-of-13 from beyond the arc. The Canes forced 11 turnovers in the half and outrebounded the Explorers, 21-10.
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• Miami advances to play Northwestern or Fresno State in the semifinals at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT Friday.
• The 36-point margin of victory was the second largest in tournament history, behind only San Diego State’s 37-point win over Sacramento State last year (89-52).
• Miami won its fifth straight game against La Salle and has tied the all-time series, 9-9.
• Eight Hurricanes saw playing time in the first half, and each scored at least four points.
• After trailing early, 6-4, Miami went on a 45-12 run over the final 17:17 of the first half.
• Miami held La Salle scoreless for 6:18 in the first half as part of a 12-0 run.
• Miami was 17-for-21 (80.9%) at the free-throw line.
• Chris Lykes led Miami with 18 points and topped the team in scoring for the third time in four games.
• DJ Vasiljevic pulled down a career-high seven rebounds. His previous high was six against Boston College on Feb. 10, 2018.
• Anthony Mack scored his first college points with a running jumper in the lane at the 13:45 mark of the first half. He finished with five points in a career-best 15 minutes.
• Deng Gak had career highs in rebounds (7) and points (4).
• Miami scored 26 points off of 20 La Salle turnovers
• Willie Herenton hit a pair of free throws for his first career Miami points.
• Dominic Proctor played in the final minute for his first college playing time.
• Junior forward Dewan Hernandez was withheld from competition for the fourth straight game as the University and the NCAA review his eligibility.