MBB Defeats Alabama A&M, 88-74

By Alex Schwartz
HurricaneSports.com

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Playing at home for the first time in four weeks, the University of Miami men’s basketball team topped Alabama A&M, 88-74, Saturday afternoon.

Redshirt junior guard Kameron McGusty led a balanced Miami (6-3, 0-1 ACC) scoring attack with 21 points at the Watsco Center.

“I thought when we got out in transition [we were very good],” Miami associate head coach Chris Caputo said. “I thought in the second half, we settled down, had a little bit less one-on-one play and we were able to share the ball and move the ball pretty efficiently. Obviously, we missed some open ones, but we were able to knock them down late in the game and I thought we had some good attacking drives.”

Alabama A&M (2-6, 0-0 SWAC) jumped out to a 16-13 lead through the first seven-and-a-half minutes, but then Miami began to gain control of the game. The Hurricanes went on an 11-2 run in 2:23 to take a 24-18 edge exactly midway through the half.

Miami stretched its advantage as high as 11 before the break, before the Bulldogs scored with 12 seconds on the clock to make it a nine-point game, 44-35, going into the locker room.

Both teams made over half their shots in the first 20 minutes, with Miami going 16-of-31 (51.6 percent) and Alabama A&M posting a 15-of-26 (57.7 percent) mark.

Miami did not lead by greater than 11 or fewer than five in the first 17 minutes of the second half, all of which was played within a seven-point window. The Hurricanes then used a late 10-0 run, capped by back-to-back 3-pointers from McGusty and senior guard Dejan Vasiljevic, to go up by 15, 85-70, with 1:54 left.

The Hurricanes, who took a 16-point lead in the closing seconds on another 3-pointer by Vasiljevic, eventually earned the 14-point win, tied for their second-largest margin of the victory this year.

McGusty went 9-of-15 to register his 21 points, matching a career high in made field goals. He added six rebounds and three assists in the triumph.

Vasiljevic totaled 17 points on 5-of-6 shooting, all from 3-point range, to move within four points of 1,000 in his career. Junior guard Chris Lykes added 13 points and a co-game-high five assists, while freshman guard Harlond Beverly notched 12.

Redshirt junior forward Sam Waardenburg had 11 to go along with a game-best nine rebounds and two blocks. He also set career highs in free throws made (five) and attempted (nine), with both marks eclipsing his prior totals on the season as a whole.

The last time the Hurricanes had five players score in double figures was Nov. 22, 2018, against La Salle in Fullerton, Calif..

Freshman forward Jalen Johnson paced the Bulldogs with 14 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while freshman guard Garrett Hicks tallied 12, redshirt senior forward TJ Parham recorded 11 and freshman guard Cameron Alford had 10.

“Well, any time you win, [it’s good because] it’s hard to win basketball games, but certainly disappointed in our defensive effort and, really, the way we defended,” Caputo said. “It needs to be better for us to have any success in our league and any success going forward. We’ve just got to go back to the drawing board and keep working it.”

The teams finished with nearly identical shooting marks, as Miami had a 51.8 percent (29-of-56) mark and Alabama A&M had a 51.7 percent (31-of-60) ledger. The Hurricanes, however, shot 42.1 percent (8-fo-19) from 3-point range, while the Bulldogs posted a 33.3 percent (7-of-21) clip.

Miami, which led for over 33 minutes and set a season high in points, also went 22-of-30 (73.3 percent) from the line, good for a season high in both makes and attempts, while Alabama A&M finished 5-of-8 (62. 5 percent).

Up next for the Hurricanes is a trip to Brooklyn, N.Y., where they will square off with Temple Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. at the Barclays Center, 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.

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

MIAMI HURRICANES POSTGAME NOTES
– Facing a first-time opponent for the only time this season, the Hurricanes moved to 1-0 all-time against Alabama A&M.
– As announced prior to the game, associate head coach Chris Caputo served as the acting head coach against the Bulldogs, with Jim Larrañaga unavailable due to back spasms.
– Larrañaga, who will receive official credit for the win and entered the game with the 10th-most victories of any active Division I coach, is now 651-434 in 36 years as a head coach, including 181-100 in nine seasons at Miami.
– For the ninth time in as many games this season, Miami used a starting lineup of Lykes, McGusty, Vasiljevic, Waardenburg and redshirt junior center Rodney Miller, Jr.
– Vasiljevic, who tallied his 49th double-figure point output, passed Malcolm Grant and tied Robert Hite for fourth place on Miami’s career made 3-pointers list with 228.
– Lykes, who recorded his 51st double-digit point total and 14th five-assist outing, eclipsed both 950 points and 2,000 minutes played, as well as reached 200 assists, in his career.
– McGusty, who logged his 35th double-figure point total and eighth 20-point outing, surpassed 700 points as a collegian.
– In nine games as a Hurricane, McGusty now has more five-rebound games (four) than he did in two seasons at Oklahoma (three).
– Along with setting career highs in makes and attempts from the line, Waardenburg moved past 50 made free throws and reached 100 made field goals at Miami.
– In addition, Waardenburg notched his ninth double-digit collegiate point total and has now reached 10-plus in consecutive games for the first time.
– Beverly registered double-figure points for the fourth time in his young career and snapped a four-game skid without reaching that mark.
– The Hurricanes have now won back-to-back games in which their opponent shot over 50.0 percent, after losing the first three times that happened this season.
– Miami outrebounded its opponent for the second time in the 2019-20 campaign.
– Over the last 11 halves—five full games and the second half against Quinnipiac—Miami is shooting 49-of-103 (47.6 percent), including a 21-of-33 (63.6 percent) mark from Vasiljevic.
– The Hurricanes last made 22-plus free throws in a game on Feb. 26 when they went 24-of-29 at Wake Forest.
– Miami last attempted 30-plus free throws in a contest on Nov. 9, 2018, when they finished 23-of-32 against Lehigh in last year’s season opener.