Canes Come Up Just Short vs. No. 18 NC State
CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Despite a career night from sophomore guard Chris Lykes, the University of Miami men’s basketball team came up short in its Atlantic Coast Conference opener Thursday night against No. 18/19 NC State, as the Wolfpack earned an 87-82 victory at the Watsco Center.
Lykes closed out the game with a career-high 28 points, shooting an efficient 10-of-15 from the field, 3-of-4 from beyond the arc and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe, while redshirt senior guard Zach Johnson closed out the night with 21 points, marking the second consecutive game both guards surpassed the 20-point barrier.
They were joined in double figures by a pair of four-year seniors, as Anthony Lawrence II finished the night with 12 points and six rebounds, while Ebuka Izundu notched his sixth career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Markell Johnson led the Pack (13-1, 1-0 ACC) with 20 points, while Devon Daniels finished with 19 points.
As a team, the Hurricanes (8-5, 0-1 ACC) shot 45.9 percent (28-of-61) from the field, converting on 10-of-25 (40 percent) from 3-point range, while NC State was 31-of-68 (45.8 percent) from the field and 11-of-30 (36.7 percent) from long range. Miami hit on just 16-of-29 free-throw attempts (55.1 percent), while NC State was 14-of-18 (77.1 percent). The Wolfpack dominated the boards, out-rebounding Miami by 22, 51-29, including 18 on the offensive glass.
Following a 3-pointer by Wolfpack forward DJ Funderburk, NC State jumped out to its largest lead of the half, 35-28, with 5:46 remaining in the first half. However, heating up from downtown, Lawrence and Johnson hit back-to-back 3-pointers to quickly cut the deficit to only one point with just under five to play. Overall, the Hurricanes closed out the first half on a 17-2 run to enter the locker room holding a 45-37 advantage.
The Canes closed out the frame by converting on five consecutive shots, ending the half shooting 17-of-34 from the field and 5-of-11 (45.5 percent) from beyond the arc. A trio of Canes reached double figures in the opening 20 minutes, Lykes (13), Johnson (10) and Lawrence (10), while Izundu closed out the half with eight points and six boards. Meanwhile, the Wolfpack were held to only 36.8 percent shooting (14-of-38) from the field and 27.8 percent (5-of-18) from long range.
The Hurricanes continued to carry momentum into the second half, extending its lead to as large as 10 with 9:53 to play. However, the Wolfpack responded with a 17-2 run of its own, to take a lead they would not look back on, ultimately closing out the contest on a 23-8 run. Miami hit just three field goals over the final 9:52, including a stretch of 7:41 without a field goal.
Miami will look to rebound on Sunday, when it travels to Louisville for its ACC road opener at 6 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center. 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 now is 6-9 all-time in ACC openers.
• Miami is 6-2 at home this season and has won 44 of its last 51 games at the Watsco Center.
• Miami lost for just the fourth time when scoring 80 or more points under Jim Larrañaga (48-4 record).
• The Canes committed just seven turnovers, the fewest by an NC State opponent this season (previous was 11 by Wisconsin on Nov. 27).
• Miami went 7:41 in the second half without a field goal while NC State went on a 17-2 run. UM hit just three field goals in the final 9:52.
• UM was out-rebounded 51-29, marking the second-largest rebounding disparity (-22) during the Larrañaga tenure. The largest rebounding disparity in Larrañaga’s eight seasons is 26 against Arizona on Dec. 23, 2012.
• Zach Johnson scored 21 points and has scored 1,525 career points (1,344 at Florida Gulf Coast, 171 at Miami).
• Chris Lykes scored a career-high 28 points, topping his previous best of 22, set in the season opener against Lehigh (Nov. 9).
• Lykes’ 28-point performance marked the most points by a UM player since Bruce Brown scored 30 points against North Carolina on Jan. 28, 2017.
• With 10 points and 11 rebounds, Ebuka Izundu recorded his sixth career double-double, including five this season.
• DJ Vasiljevic went 1-for-4 from 3-point range, connecting from long range for the 26th straight game, which is the longest current streak in the ACC.
• It ranks as the sixth-longest streak of games with a 3-pointer in program history.
• Anthony Mack played a season-high 27 minutes.
Miami Head Coach Jim Larrañaga
“That was a heck of a game. My guys played their hearts out. If we just made a few more free throws it would have been a different outcome. We got a team that shoots pretty darn good from the foul line and it is one of those games where we missed some free throws. I have got to give a lot of credit to NC State. They outrebounded us by probably more than any team we have played in a very long time. So they deserve the credit. But I thought we really played well. We took some ill-advised shots late, and I talked to the team about it afterwards and obviously they feel bad and they played about as hard as they could. Anthony Lawrence got a cramp and then Zach Johnson got a cramp.”
On if this was the best he felt the Canes have played this season…
“I just thought it was a great game. I thought both teams played very hard and very well. The only kind of disappointment is that we could have made a few more free throws and got a few more rebounds.”
On if the depth played a factor…
“Oh yeah. Yeah. That’s going to be the issue all season.”
On Chris Lykes’ performance…
“He only went 10-for-15 and 5-of-6 from the foul line, 3-for-4 from three, 28 points?. Yeah, he played pretty darn good.”
On the limited number of turnovers committed…
“Wow, that’s pretty darn good, I didn’t even see that. We had like four early. Once we quit turning it over than we… we had fallen behind because of the turnovers. They led to a couple of fast break baskets. But after that we really took good care of the ball.”
On NC State’s shooting percentage increasing in the second half…
“Yeah, what happened is Markell Johnson got two fouls early, and sat on the bench for, I don’t know how long, he didn’t play much in the first half. And he was the most well rested player on the court the whole second half and he just played great. He made some long-distance threes. He went 6-for-8 (from the field), 4-for-6 (from 3-point range), 4-for-4 (from the free throw line). He had himself a complete game, 20 points and five assists. He is very good. And we knew it, we had in our game plan that we might want to go box-in-one against him, but we never did do that because we were out in front and still playing pretty good.”
NC State Head Coach Kevin Keatts
“We weren’t scoring the ball. I thought Miami beat us to every loose ball. I thought they were the aggressors, they got every 50/50 ball. We didn’t do such a great job in the first half guarding the 3-point line. My halftime speech was to rely on your defense. If we rely on our defense, I thought we had enough to score and I thought eventually we would wear those guys down with the numbers that they had to play. Give our guys credit, in the second half we did a tremendous job. There was a seven minute stretch where we held them scoreless. We guarded the 3-point line better in the second half. With that game, it’s ACC time. It’s easy to tell now that that was a hard fought game on the road and happy to get out of here with a win.”
On the depth of his team…
“I thought we got in foul trouble in the first half so we were able to use all of our depth and it actually ended up looking like we were playing six-on-six. They had one guy coming off and I had a couple guys in foul trouble. We were able to rotate some guys in the second half. We talked so much about our depth, but Blake Harris has been hurt so we only had nine guys instead of 10.”
On if he was surprised Miami was up 10 points with nine minutes to go…
“No. Jim’s done a great job under the circumstances and he’s a great coach. One thing I’ll tell you is that he’s going to find a way to win games. Anytime you have guys on the floor that can space you out and make shots, they can always be up in a game, any game and they’re going to play.”
Sophomore Guard Chris Lykes
On whether they could have won the game…
“For sure. I think we played really well. I just think defensively we gave them some easy looks in the last five minutes of the game. Overall, we can’t be disappointed. We fought hard and just have to tighten up some things down the stretch.”
On if lack of depth hurt the team…
“We were up 10, so I’m not going to put the blame on that. I think we came out and fought hard. Just unfortunately, we had some guys cramp and some guys get hurt so that took away from the momentum that we had. Other than that, I’m not going to make excuses for that.”
On if this is the best game they played…
“I think intensity wise, this is one of the better games we’ve had. I think guys were locked in, especially in the first half defensively and we put out a really big effort. The second half, things didn’t go our way. Just had to tighten up on a few things.”
Senior Guard Zach Johnson
On how the game went…
“Up tempo game. Fast paced. The team that was more solid came out with the win. I feel like there were a lot of plays that me, Chris and a lot of my teammates wish we could get back and probably make better decisions. We’ll learn from it.”