The Miami men’s basketball team looked like it was still fighting a case of serious jet lag in the opening half of its game against La Salle on Wednesday night.
After losing two of three in Hawaii during the holidays Christmas, the Hurricanes needed a win against the Explorers before heading into ACC play Saturday at Georgia Tech.
Thanks to a strong second half from guards Shane Larkin, Durand Scott and Trey McKinney Jones, the Canes got that win by erasing a six-point deficit to beat La Salle 76-59 at BankUnited Center.
Miami trailed 36-30 at the half after shooting just 39 percent from the field.
The Canes (9-3) stormed back in the second half and tied the score three minutes in. Miami took its first lead of the half at 40-38 when Scott rolled in for a layup with 16:54 left.
Miami started to open things up on a La Salle team which at 9-4 is off to one of its best starts since 1989-90. Midway through the second half, Larkin hit back-to-back three-pointers to give Miami a 10-point lead.
A nice pass from Larkin to Erik Swoope led to a dunk with 7:01 remaining and a 14-point lead at 61-47. Swoope’s jam was the final points in a 12-0 Miami run that pretty much ended La Salle’s hopes of beating Miami for the first time 1970 (the two teams hadn’t played since then).
• FIU 88, Florida A&M 72: FIU point guard Deric Hill got Florida A&M low, forward Tymell Murphy got the Rattlers high and the Panthers got a win in their first game at home in almost a month.
Murphy’s 20 rebounds, two off Carlton Phoenix’s school record set in 1987, to go with 24 points gave him the rare 20-20 night. But it was the 5-9 Hill who stole the show, dogging FAMU’s Jamie Adams in FIU’s pressure defense. Hill’s seven steals, one off the school record set by Carlos Morban in 2002 and tied by Morban a month later, sparked an FIU defense that caused 25 FAMU turnovers.
“We got a season-high 56 deflections,” FIU coach Richard Pitino said. “Any time you do that, you’re probably going to win the game. Deric Hill came in and totally changed complextion of the game. He had 20 deflections on his own.”
With the victory, FIU improved to 5-7 and FAMU fell to 4-10.
David J. Neal