Hurricanes can’t close out Bulldogs
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.