UM men crack Top 25

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - SPORTS - By Christy Cabr­era Chiri­nos Staff writer

CO­RAL GABLES — For the first time this sea­son, the Hur­ri­canes men’s basketball team is ranked.

Fresh off their up­set wins over Vir­ginia and Duke— both of which are ranked— the Hur­ri­canes de­buted in the APT op 25 at No. 25 on Mon­day af­ter­noon. Mi­ami was set to take on Vir­ginia Tech in Blacksburg on Mon­day night.

The rank­ing marks the first time Mi­ami has ap­peared in the AP poll since fin­ish­ing the 2015-16 sea­son ranked No. 10 in the na­tion af­ter a run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tour­na­ment.

This year, the Hur­ri­canes have been a team in tran­si­tion, ad­just­ing to the losses of last year’s lead­ing scor­ers Shel­don McClel­lan and An­gel Ro­driguez.

And while Mi­ami has been con­sis­tently been re­ceiv­ing votes in both the AP and coaches polls, the Hur­ri­canes haven’t been able to crack through— un­til now.

The Hur­ri­canes started last week with a 54-48 over­time win over then-No. 18 Vir­ginia in Char­lottesville. In that game, Mi­ami bat­tled back from a nine-point, sec­ond-half deficit to force over­time. There, fresh­man Bruce Brown con­nected on the even­tual game-win­ning 3-pointer with 19 sec­onds left to help Mi­ami clinch its sec­ond win of the sea­son over a Top 25 team.

The third came days later when the Hur­ri­canes (20-8, 10-6) up­set Duke, and again, Brown was a key con­trib­u­tor.

The fresh­man had a game-high 25 points to lift Mi­ami to a 55-50 win over the then tenth-ranked Blue Devils at the Watsco

Cen­ter on Satur­day af­ter­noon.

For his ef­forts, Brown was named the ACC Fresh­man of the Week on Mon­day.

It is the sec­ond time Brown, a guard, has earned the honor. He was pre­vi­ously rec­og­nized in De­cem­ber af­ter av­er­ag­ing 11.5 in Mi­ami’s wins over Rut­gers andWof­ford.

En­ter­ing the fi­nal week of the reg­u­lar sea­son, the Hur­ri­canes— who­have just nine schol­ar­ship play­ers on the ros­ter and reg­u­larly have three fresh­men on the floor — have won eight of their last 10 in the At­lantic Coast Con­fer­ence and are play­ing some of their best basketball of the sea­son.

“We knew the tal­ent we had and we knew we were des­tined to open it up a lit­tle bit for our­selves,” said se­nior Davon Reed af­ter Satur­day’s win.“We just had to find our rhythm. The tal­ent was al­ways there, we were just a young team try­ing to find our­selves. The big­gest thing we can rely on is our de­fense and it’s been tough for teams to score. With that, we can play with any­body in any game.”

Mi­ami, which likely clinched a sec­ond-straight NCAA Tour­na­ment berth with last week’s vic­to­ries, will now fin­ish the reg­u­lar sea­son on the road, fac­ing theHok­ies (20-8, 9-7) Mon­day and 15th-ranked ri­val Florida State (23-6, 11-5) in Tallahassee on Satur­day.

LaterMon­day af­ter­noon, the AP re­leased itswomen’s basketball Top 25, and the UM women, who wrapped up the reg­u­lar sea­son with a 75-70 win over Ge­or­gia Tech on Sun­day, rose a spot toNo. 16 in the poll.

The Hur­ri­canes be­came one of eight schools na­tion­ally to have both their men’s and­women’s pro­grams ranked in the AP’s poll.

Five of those schools — Louisville, Florida State, Duke, Notre Dame and Mi­ami— are all in the ACC.

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