UM MEN 69, BOSTON COLLEGE 42

Miami Hurricanes men school Boston College

 

mnavarro@MiamiHerald.com

So much for that little problem they had winning ACC games at home.

Winless in six tries at the BankUnited Center before the week started, the Miami Hurricanes followed up a thrilling victory against Notre Dame midweek with their biggest blowout of the season — a 69-42 romp of Boston College — on Saturday afternoon.

You might remember: Those same Eagles pulled off one of the biggest stunners of the season Wednesday, handing top-ranked Syracuse its first loss of the season.

"As a coach you ask your players to execute a game plan — our group could not have executed it any better," said UM coach Jim Larranaga, whose team climbed back over .500 for the first time since Jan. 29, the night they dropped a 74-71 heartbreaker at Maryland.

With the same all-senior starting lineup, which debuted at Florida State on Feb. 10 and is now 3-1, the Hurricanes (14-13, 5-9 ACC) led from wire-to-wire Saturday.

UM led by as many as eight points in the first half, and maintained it before freshman point guard Manu Lecomte, and seniors Erik Swoope and Rion Brown fueled a 16-4 Canes' run to make it 60-40 with 4:50 remaining.

Brown made four three-pointers and scored 22 points to go with five rebounds on an efficient 8-of-14 shooting. Lecomte scored all 11 of his points in the second half, and Swoope matched his career-high with 14 points and posted career-highs in rebounds (9) and minutes (38).

“Erik is becoming a triple threat,” Larranaga said.

"Since we switched the lineup to having our five seniors out there, the guys have really been pushing me to grow offensively," said Swoope, who has become a valuable weapon slashing to the basket and creating scoring chances not only for himself but shooters like Brown and Garrius Adams.

On the defensive end, UM was equally impressive. The Eagles came in averaging 8.15 made three-pointers a game, second in the ACC behind only Duke. UM limited BC to 4-of-20 shooting from long distance, including 0-for-8 from three in the second half. The Eagles shot 32.6 percent from the field for the game — 17 percent below their season average.

Guard Patrick Heckmann, who was the only Eagles shooter UM couldn't stop in the first half (he connected on three three-pointers and scored 13 points), had only one basket in the second half.

BC guard Olivier Hanlan, who came in averaging 18.2 points per game (third-most in the ACC), was held to 2-of-7 shooting and scored six of his 11 points at the foul line.

What was the key to slowing Hanlan down?

"Erik Swoope and Davon Reed — plain and simple," said Brown, who passed Johnny Hemsley for ninth on UM's career three-point scoring list (he has 167 now) and became the 35th player in school history to eclipse the 1,000-point mark.

Miami took a 27-22 lead into the break thanks to 18 combined points from Swoope and Brown.

UM hits the road this week for three consecutive road games beginning at 14th-ranked Virginia Wednesday night. They return home on March 8th to close out the regular season against Wake Forest.

"It took a while, but we're figuring out what it takes to win," Brown said. "All of those [close losses] were just a test. Even though we were losing them, we were figuring it out. I would rather it have been early and have all those close games than not know what to do it. It's kind of a blessing in disguise. This part of the season is all that matters."

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