Hur­ri­canes can’t close out Bull­dogs

South Florida Sun-Sentinel (Sunday) - - Gameday - By Christy Cabr­era Chiri­nos ccabr­[email protected] sun-sen­tinel.com; On Twit­ter @ChristyChiri­nos.

MI­AMI – For the Hur­ri­canes men’s bas­ket­ball team, it has been a slog of late.

But Satur­day night, when Mi­ami took the floor at the Amer­i­canAir­lines Arena to face Yale in the fi­nal game of the Mi­ami Hoophall In­vi­ta­tional and play its fifth game in 10 days, the Hur­ri­canes didn’t nec­es­sar­ily look like a team that was fight­ing fa­tigue.

From nearly the open­ing tip, Mi­ami showed the en­ergy to keep pace with a Yale team that chal­lenged it and kept fight­ing back, even af­ter trail­ing by as many as 15 in the sec­ond half.

But ul­ti­mately, even with their en­ergy the Hur­ri­canes couldn’t keep pace with the Bull­dogs and stand­out Miye One. Yale used its size and power to grab key re­bounds late down the stretch and notch a 77-73 win over a strug­gling Mi­ami team that has now lost three in a row af­ter open­ing the season with five straight vic­to­ries.

Oni fin­ished with a game-high 29 points, and it was his free throws with

1:30 left that proved the dif­fer­ence and capped a

6-0 Yale run to end the game.

De­spite the loss, it was — for the Hur­ri­canes — a change of pace from Wed­nes­day, when they looked slow and slug­gish in a 57-54 loss to Rut­gers in the ACC/Big Ten Chal­lenge.

More than once on Satur­day the Hur­ri­canes

(5-3) an­swered runs from Yale, though they couldn’t an­swer the Bull­dogs late. Mi­ami was 1 of 12 from the field in the clos­ing min­utes.

The Hur­ri­canes came into their fifth straight show­case game look­ing to snap a two-game los­ing streak and were still with­out one of their top play­ers, De­wan Her­nan­dez, who is be­ing held out of com­pe­ti­tion as Mi­ami and the NCAA con­tinue eval­u­at­ing his el­i­gi­bil­ity in the wake of the cor­rup­tion scan­dal that has plagued col­lege bas­ket­ball in the last year.

Ebuka Izundu, who missed the fi­nal 10 min­utes of Wed­nes­day’s loss while deal­ing with cramps, re­turned to the start­ing lineup and was a force for the Hur­ri­canes, fin­ish­ing with a team-high

19 points. With­out Her­nan­dez, Mi­ami also called on fel­low big man Deng Gak to try to counter some of Yale’s size, with Hur­ri­canes coach Jim Lar­rañaga giv­ing the 6-foot-10 red­shirt fresh­man his first start of the season. Gak fin­ished with five points and three re­bounds, while DJ Vasil­je­vic had 17 points for the Hur­ri­canes. Chris Lykes added 12 points and Zach John­son had 11.

In other ACC ac­tion at the Hoophall Mi­ami In­vi­ta­tional, St. John’s edged Ge­or­gia Tech 76-73, with St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds scor­ing a game­high 37 points for the Red Storm, who ral­lied from a

16-point sec­ond-half deficit to re­main un­de­feated.

Ponds had 21 points dur­ing St. John’s come­back and con­nected on a pair of free throws with four sec­onds left to give the Red Storm (7-0) a three-point lead and se­cure the win. Jose Al­varado, mean­while, had a team-high 17 points for Ge­or­gia Tech, which dropped to 4-3.

North Carolina State notched an 80-65 win over Van­der­bilt. Markell John­son scored 12 straight sec­ond-half points to pace the Wolf­pack, who bounced back from a loss to Wis­con­sin in this week’s ACC/Big Ten Chal­lenge.

In the show­case’s other game, Texas Tech beat Mem­phis 78-67.

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