UM | Guard play

Horrible shooting plagues Miami Hurricanes

 

There were times during UM’s Sweet 16 loss it could not buy a basket, scoring only 16 points in the first half.

cspencer@MiamiHerald.com

Durand Scott spent part of Tuesday in a dentist’s chair after taking an elbow to the mouth and didn’t practice. Shane Larkin was throwing up most of Wednesday night, so ill that he couldn’t hold down food.

Perhaps that explains it.

Perhaps that’s why the University of Miami’s entire backcourt — Scott, Larkin and the others — looked so anemic in the first half of the Hurricanes’ 71-61 Sweet 16 loss to Marquette on Thursday.

In what was arguably their worst performance of the season, Miami’s usually prolific guards were putrid against Marquette, firing so many blanks in the first half that the Canes were pinned down for good.

“We just didn’t make any shots,” Scott said. “It’s astonishing to me.”

The Hurricanes scored only 16 points in the first half on 6-for-29 shooting, including 1-for-11 on 3-pointers. But it was the guards who struggled most of all in a half that sealed Miami’s fate.

“We just couldn’t hit shots, and that’s frustrating,” Larkin said. “We just couldn’t hit the shots we previously hit in games.”

Scott was 0 for 6 from the field.

Rion Brown was 1 for 6.

Trey McKinney Jones was 0 for 4.

And Larkin — ACC Player of the Year in the coaches’ poll — mustered only three points in the half.

All told, Miami’s guards went 2 for 18 in the disastrous half.

“You got to give Marquette credit,” UM assistant coach Eric Konkol said. “They bottled up our guards on the perimeter, but then when we got past that shell, they contested. At the same time, we missed some open ones, too. Our guard play over the course of this year has been very consistent. We just don’t know if we had a game like this, this year.”

They hadn’t.

The 16 points were the fewest the Canes scored in any one half.

“We haven’t missed that many shots all season,” said McKinney Jones.

There were two sequences, in particular, that served to define Miami’s offensive futility in the first half. They came on back-to-back possessions with six minutes to go in the half.

On the first, Miami somehow missed three shots.

On the second, the Canes missed four shots, including three by Scott underneath the basket. Two of Scott’s shots were blocked by Marquette’s Jamil Wilson.

“That’s how it is some nights,” said Scott, a senior who played his final game for the Canes. “You want to fight so hard that you don’t always make the right decision. And, on that particular play, I just wanted to get that ball to go in so bad.”

Nothing was going in for Miami — until the second half when it was too late.

The Hurricanes made only 8 of 26 three-pointers.

“They weren’t going in,” Konkol said. “We had eight offensive rebounds in the first half, and usually when you get those opportunities, you stick some back. It’s a cliché, but the lid was on the basket. We just couldn’t get shots to drop, to kind of spark it and get some momentum going. We never got it going in this game at all.”

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