The University of Miami had the entire family back together for the holidays as guard Durand Scott lifted the Hurricanes to a 77-62 win over the Detroit Titans.
Scott, who earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors last season, has been on the bench as a cheerleader while he completed his six-game suspension after findings in an NCAA investigation dating back to March. He missed the first three games of the season and made his senior debut for the Canes (3-1) on Saturday at BankUnited Center.
“It felt amazing just to be around my guys, around the coaching staff, be out there on the floor making something happen,” he said. “It was a fun day for me today.”
Scott took advantage of his time on the bench to learn the game from the coaching staff’s point of view, noting that there was never any level of frustration that came from not being able to play.
“I didn’t want to go out there and force anything. I knew things were going to come to me, there was no reason for me to go out there and try to make six games that I missed up,” Scott said. “I just wanted to go out there and win the game, that was my main focus.”
Once he settled into the game late in the first half, the 6-5 senior was a menace to the Titans (2-2). He finished with 15 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals through 38 minutes.
“It was great,” Kenny Kadji said of having Scott back. “It’s one more weapon on the floor.”
Kadji led the Canes’ size advantage over the Titans and didn’t waste time exploiting the post. The forward finished his day with 14 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. He also made all four of his free throws.
“We know that it’s an advantage for us,” said Kadji, who at 6-11, is the tallest player on Miami’s roster. “We know we’re one of the biggest teams in the country, so we want to outrebound every team we play.”
Kadji, along with center Reggie Johnson, combined for 20 of Miami’s 41 rebounds.
An aggressive, well-thought-out strategy allowed the Hurricanes to shoot better than 50 percent from the field in their third game in a row. They outscored Detroit 20-8 in the paint and continued to charge through the Titans through the second half, with the Canes outscoring the Titans 42-16.
Frequently trading the lead with Detroit through the first half, Miami never let the Titans take it back in the second. Coach Jim Larranaga attributes Saturday’s win to sharing the ball, with the Canes recording 15 assists as a team.
“What we’ve been explaining to our players is the importance of not just shooting the first available shot, of getting everybody involved. It makes the defense work harder,” Larranaga said.
“As they work harder, and the clock moves toward the end of the shot clock, somebody normally makes a mistake and you get a really good shot.”
Sophomore Shane Larkin also contributed to the Canes’ victory, making six of 10 shots from the field, with three rebounds and three assists.
Larranaga was happy with the Canes’ solid effort throughout the game, but they face a stiff challenge in the final game of their three-game homestand — a matchup Wednesday against 20th-ranked Michigan State.
“I just think it’s one day. This is the way we played today,” he said. “I like it when I think the team is ready to go.”