Canes Control Campbell in 73-62 Win
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – In the non-conference season finale, the University of Miami men’s basketball team extended its win streak to three games, taking down Campbell 73-62 Saturday afternoon at the Watsco Center.
Redshirt senior guard Zach Johnson finished the afternoon with a game-high 22 points and shot 5-of-6 from beyond the arc and 7-of-9 from the charity stripe. Knocking down a free throw with 1:36 remaining in the contest, Johnson reached the 1,500-point plateau in his collegiate career.
Adding to his electrifying 14-point first half, sophomore guard Chris Lykes finished the afternoon with 21 points, while senior guard Anthony Lawrence II (11 points) and junior guard Dejan Vasiljevic (10 points) joined Lykes and Johnson in double figures. Lawrence also pulled down a team-high eight rebounds and dished out a team-high three assists in the contest.
As a team, the Hurricanes (8-4) shot an efficient 54.5-percent (24-of-44) from the field, converting on 12-of-24 from 3-point range, while the defense blocked four shots, swiped away eight steals, forced 13 turnovers and held the Camels (6-7) to just 23-of-64 (35.9-percent) from the field.
Miami opened the afternoon shooting lights out from beyond the arc, converting on 61.5 percent (8-of-13) of its attempts in the opening period. Overall, the Hurricanes shot 14-of-24 (58.3 percent) from the field. Defensively, the Canes held the nation’s leading scorer Chris Clemons scoreless on his first six attempts through the opening 13 minutes of play, while the Fighting Camels shotjust 10-of-29 ((34.5 percent) from the field and 3-of-16 (18.8 percent) from 3-point range as a team in the half.
Lykes led all scorers with 14 first-half points, going 5-of-7 from the field with a trio of made long range buckets, while Johnson (nine points) finished a perfect 3-of-3 from beyond the arc.
Entering the second half holding a 37-26 advantage, Miami’s lead only dropped to single digits for a span of 36 seconds, while extending its lead to as large as 16 points, 60-44, following a made layup by redshirt sophomore forward Sam Waardenburg.
Miami is set to return to the Watsco Center for the ACC opener Thursday at 7 p.m., when the Hurricanes square off against No. 20 North Carolina State. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU.
To keep up with the University of Miami men’s basketball team on social media, follow @CanesHoops on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
• Miami is 6-1 at home this season and has won 44 of its last 50 games at the Watsco Center.
• Miami held Chris Clemons to a season-low 19 points, 10 of which came in the game’s final four minutes. He did not score for the first 13 minutes of the game. Clemons entered the game as the nation’s leading scorer at 30.5 ppg but hit just 7-of-21 field-goal attempts.
• Zach Johnson scored 22 points to reach the 1,500-point plateau in his career. He has scored 1,504 career points (1,344 at Florida Gulf Coast, 150 at Miami).
• Chris Lykes scored 21 points, one shy of a career high.
• DJ Vasiljevic went 1-for-3 from 3-point range, connecting from long range for the 25th straight game, which is the longest current streak in the ACC.
• It also ranks as the sixth-longest streak of games with a 3-pointer in program history.
• Miami held Campbell scoreless for 6:22 in the first half, going on a 14-0 run.
• Junior forward Dewan Hernandez was withheld from competition for the 12th straight game as the University and the NCAA review his eligibility.
Miami Head Coach Jim Larrañaga
“I was very pleased with the defensive effort by Chris Lykes and Zach Johnson and Chris Clemons throughout the game. I know he ended up with 19 points, but he only had nine with about three or four minutes left to go and that took a great effort by both of them. It was good team defensive effort. They ended up shooting 35 percent, 18 percent from three. We would take that in a heartbeat every game. Then at the offensive game Chris had a terrific game. He missed some free throws, which was surprising, but Zach also had a terrific game. We are happy with where we are right now. We’re obviously very short-handed right now. Ebuka Izundu had a cramp and went out and we became very small. We’ve got some issues we are dealing with and hopefully we can somehow manage to figure out a way to defend well enough to stay in the game and make enough shots to put some pressure on our opponents.”
On the Lykes-Clemons matchup:
“Clemons is considered one of the best small guards in the country. He is the leading scorer in the country and I think Chris Lykes enjoys a good challenge. It was a challenge for him, but I think Zach Johnson was highly motivated to guard him as well and it was nice because Zach did get two fouls in the first half and did not get a chance to play as much in the first half, but he ended up playing 25 minutes and it would have closer to 30-something if he wouldn’t have gotten into that foul trouble.”
On Clemons and the Campbell offense:
“Campbell runs that Princeton offense and he gets a lot of opportunities, but it’s also an equal opportunity offense so other guys have to step up and make shots, which I thought they did. They don’t just rely on him. They have other guys who can score, and I think we did a good job defensively on them as well.”
On Zach Johnson reaching 1,500 career points
“I think it’s a terrific accomplishment. He is one of the career leaders in scoring in the ACC right now, so he has had a heck of a college career. I’m expecting he will really enjoy the competition in the ACC with the guys he is going to match up with.”
On where team stands heading into conference play:
“I think we just have to take it one game at a time, prepare for the opponent and play as well as we’re capable of playing. When people in general, whether it’s the media or fans, ask me what my goals are or what my expectations are, the answer is pretty simple and it’s always been this way. I want our team to reach its full potential and be the best we can be. The score takes care of itself. If you play really well, your team plays great defense and rebounds and makes shots, you’ve got a very good chance to win a game. If your opponent is just better than you and those three things — defense, rebounding and making shots – then you lose games. It’s very hard for the average fan to understand that players are trying their best. The opponent deserves credit for what they do. We had 18 turnovers today. Some of the credit has to go to Campbell’s defense. I was asked just recently by Joe Zagacki, our radio guy that ‘you’ve really reduced your turnovers. What’s the key to success?’ And I said to ask me after this game because every game is different. The way the opponent plays, the way they defend.”
On the next opponent, NC State:
“I think they are 12-1 right now and they are ranked high in the polls. Kevin Keatts and his stuff have done a really good job. They will be a big challenge for us because they play 10 guys and try to wear you down. We’re playing seven and some of those guys, we don’t have any frontcourt subs for them. A guy like Buka, there’s no sub for him. Sam Waardenburg, there’s no sub for him. We’ve got a lot of guys logging a lot of minutes.”
Campbell Head Coach Kevin McGeehan
“Obviously there is no shame in going against a solid ACC program and losing by 11. But I feel like if we played a little bit better we probably would have had a chance, a real chance. I thought they did a really good job making it hard on Chris [Clemons]. You know, he probably got a little bit sped up, or anxious to try and do too much early. I thought he settled down a little bit and made a real nice play at the end of the first half to drop it off to [Andrew] Eudy for a basket, that was big. The execution, but overall, not his best day. But I thought they did a good job making it hard for him. I think he probably settled for a few but when you have sat in my seat for his four-year career, you have seen him make some of those to. And sometimes it just takes one, and that was the hard part, trying to sort of see if you could get him to where he maybe catch one and all of the sudden he is rolling. But he was kind of letting them affect him a little bit on the defensive side of the ball. We weren’t quite as good as we could be. I thought we got some good contributions from some others and gave ourselves a chance. But we have to do a little bit better job of executing. I think the adjustments that we made at halftime did really help us. They had a few throwbacks that were tough and they threw out of bounds, or we stole, or it just wasn’t clean. Where in the first half, when we were going under trying to keep them out of the paint they made a bunch of stop behind threes, which you kind have to pick your poison. We picked one and it was the wrong one. And then we adjusted and I thought it was effective.”
On what Miami did defensively to throw Chris Clemons off balance…
“I just think when you are the leading scorer in the country and people know who you are and scouting report is all about you, they are just totally keyed in on him. He sees it all the time, but when Chris [Lykes] is superfast, and the next guy [Anthony Lawrence II] is 6’7 and an unbelievable athlete coming over there, it just seems a little different. So, I think they were just really aware of him and made it hard, and I think he probably settled for a three or two early thinking that if they go in, great. And then he didn’t make them, and I think that is pressing a little bit. I think they rolled him off pretty good, he didn’t get too many drives through the games. Which he is actually really good at driving the basketball.”
On sitting Clemons a couple times, and if that was to regain his composure…
“A little bit, every once in a while I have to do that, and I don’t usually. I thought it was affecting his defense to be honest. He just didn’t have a good rhythm, and then he was missing some coverages. So I figured, let’s get him seated for a minute, and try to gather his mind and talk to him and get him back in there. And for the most part that worked alright and he still played 33 minutes.”
On his overall impressions of Miami…
“I think they are talented, just a little bit thin. They don’t have as many guys to go to. But, if my seventh guy was Anthony Mack I would feel pretty good. In the Big South, we would be in pretty good shape. He is a pretty good player. I know they don’t have a lot of depth, but every guy that is in the game is a good player and I knew it was going to be tough because Lykes is so dynamic. And then the shooting of DJ [Vasiljevic], and then those two aggressive wings in Lawrence and [Zach] Johnson. So, I knew we were going to have to play well to win. I think they are pretty good team. But, obviously, depth is going to be a factor when they get into ACC play, more so. They are going to need to figure something out, get somebody back or whatever. But I think they are talented and a good team. I was confident that we could come in and give them a game, and potentially win the game. And yet I think they are really well coached and a good team.”