Freshman Lonnie Walker IV had the best game of his debut season Tuesday night, leading the undefeated and 10th-ranked University of Miami to a 69-54 home win over Boston University.
Starting his first game in place of injured Bruce Brown, Walker exploded with a game-high 26 points on 9-of-15 shooting, and was 5-of-7 from three-point range. He scored 16 of UM’s 20 points during a second-half stretch and made back-to-back three-pointers to give the Canes their largest lead of the night — 55-38 with 12 minutes to go in the game.
Sophomore guard DJ Vasiljevic added 15 for Miami, and freshman Chris Lykes had eight.
The night began with bad news for the Hurricanes (8-0). Brown, the team’s leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, would have to miss the game with an injured hand. He had been playing with the injury for a few weeks, but will now rest it for a few weeks. He is expected back for the Diamond Head Classic on Dec. 23-25 in Honolulu, Hawaii.
“With Bruce out, I had to up my game,” Walker said. “I got in a bit of a groove, confidence exploded to 100 percent. The rim got huge, and the ball got smaller, everything was going my way.”
Walker, the highly touted recruit out of Reading, Pennsylvania., had shown glimpses of his athleticism, but it wasn’t until Tuesday that he demonstrated why UM coaches were so excited to sign him. Walker scored eight consecutive points to give UM a 14-10 lead, and by the end of the night it was clear that this kid likes to have the ball in his hands and isn’t afraid to launch threes.
Miami took an early lead, but the Terriers (3-4) got back in striking distance with consecutive threes from Tyler Scanlon followed by a pair of baskets in the paint by freshman center Sukhmail Mathon.
The Hurricanes, missing Brown’s presence around the rim, were out-rebounded 19-15 by the Terriers in the first half. BU had nine offensive rebounds to just three for UM, and took advantage of second-chance points. Never was that more evident than in the closing minute of the half. Terriers forward Max Mahoney grabbed a rebound with 34 seconds on the clock and scored at the buzzer to tie the score 30-30.
Walker took over the second half, dishing a perfect pass to Vasiljevic for a three from the corner, and then scoring 16 of UM’s next 20 points, including four three-pointers.
Miami native Cedric Hankerson, a Coral Reef High graduate, had 10 points for the Terriers. The Canes hit the road and don’t return home until a Jan. 7 game against Florida State.