MBB Drops Season Opener to Fifth-Ranked Louisville

By Alex Schwartz
HurricaneSports.com

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – The University of Miami men’s basketball team fell to fifth-ranked Louisville, 87-74, Tuesday night at the Watsco Center to begin the 2019-20 campaign.

Junior guard Chris Lykes paced Miami (0-1, 0-1 ACC) with 18 points, 14 of which came after halftime, in the Hurricanes’ first-ever season-opening conference game.

“Well, I thought Louisville’s defense was outstanding, especially in the first 30 minutes,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “They combined terrific defense with really running their offense extremely well. They have got a lot of veteran guys, and they found the open man and made shots. They certainly deserve their high ranking.”

Miami used six straight points in 61 seconds to take a 16-9 lead just 8:15 into the game. Louisville (1-0, 1-0 ACC) redshirt senior guard Ryan McMahon, however, then hit three consecutive 3-pointers to start a 17-0 run in 3:46 that put the Cardinals up by 10 with 7:41 on the clock.

The Cardinals continued their surge the remainder of the half and took a 19-point edge, 45-26, into the locker room. They shot 53.1 percent (17-of-32) in the opening 20 minutes and Miami posted a 35.3 percent (12-of-34) clip. Louisville also went 7-of-10 on free throws, while the Hurricanes did not get to the line.

Louisville junior forward Jordan Nwora, the Preseason ACC Player of the Year, scored 18 of his game-high 23 points in the second half to help the Cardinals maintain their separation. Miami closed the contest on a 14-0 run in the final three minutes to make it a 13-point final margin.

Senior guard Dejan Vasiljevic totaled 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting, including a 4-of-7 mark from 3-point range to become the eighth Hurricane with over 200 makes from long range in a career and the fourth with over 100 in ACC play.

Redshirt junior guard Kameron McGusty, in his first official game with Miami, scored 12 points, while a pair of freshmen, guard Harlond Beverly and forward Anthony Walker, tallied nine apiece. Redshirt junior center Rodney Miller, Jr., registered career highs in points (six), rebounds (nine), minutes (20) and made field goals (three).

Nwora added a co-game-high 12 rebounds to his leading point total to finish with a double-double. Redshirt senior center Steven Enoch also posted a double-double for the Cardinals with 11 points and 12 boards.

McMahon scored 16 points, as did redshirt senior forward Dwayne Sutton, while freshman guard/forward Samuell Williamson notched 13 on 6-of-9 shooting.

Both teams shot over 40 percent from beyond the arc, with Miami posting a 10-of-24 (41.7 percent) mark and Louisville logging a 9-of-19 tally (47.4 percent). The Cardinals, though, had a 34-of-63 (54.0 percent) ledger overall, while the Hurricanes finished 30-of-69 (43.5 percent).

Miami will be back in action on its home court Friday at 7 p.m. when it takes on Florida Atlantic, live on RSN.

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

The 2019-20 Miami Hurricanes men’s basketball season is presented by First National Bank.

MIAMI HURRICANES POSTGAME NOTES
– Miami fell to 4-12 all-time against Louisville, including 4-6 at home, 2-5 since the Cardinals joined the ACC and 2-5 under Coach L.
– Jim Larrañaga, who entered the season tied for the ninth-most victories of any active Division I coach, is now 645-432 in 36 years as a head coach, including 175-98 in nine seasons at Miami
– Miami used a starting lineup of Lykes, McGusty, Miller, Vasiljevic and redshirt junior forward Sam Waardenburg.
– Vasiljevic scored the first points of Miami’s season on its first possession with a 3-pointer, the 200th of his career, 47 seconds into the game.
– Vasiljevic moved into seventh place on Miami’s all-time list of 3-point makes with 203, passing Davon Reed, and reached 300 made field goals as a Hurricane.
– McGusty eclipsed 600 points in his collegiate career, which includes two seasons at Oklahoma.
– Lykes notched the 44th double-digit scoring outing of his career, while Vasiljevic recorded his 43rd, tallying 10 points in the first 17 minutes, and McGusty had his 29th.
– Four Hurricanes saw their first official action and tallied their first points in a Miami uniform: McGusty, Walker, Wong and freshman guard Harlond Beverly.
– Nwora and Enoch became the first pair of teammates to log double-doubles against Miami since Duke’s RJ Barrett and Marques Bolden did so March 2, 2019.
– This is the first time Miami has dropped a season opener since 2013 when it fell to St. Francis Brooklyn, 66-62, in overtime.
– Miami not only opened with a league game for the first time ever, but started with a high-major (ACC, BIG EAST, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-12 and SEC) opponent and a ranked opponent for the first time since 1987 (No. 9 Michigan).
– This was the earliest season opener in program history, surpassing the Nov. 8 start date in 2013.