University of Miami

Last chance in 2017 to see the 10th-ranked, unbeaten UM basketball team

Coach Jim Larrañaga has led the 10th-ranked University of Miami basketball team to a 7-0 start heading into Tuesday’s game against Boston University.
Coach Jim Larrañaga has led the 10th-ranked University of Miami basketball team to a 7-0 start heading into Tuesday’s game against Boston University. MIAMI HERALD

While most University of Miami fans and the national media heaped attention on the Orange Bowl-bound Hurricanes football team, the 10th-ranked UM men’s basketball team quietly racked up a 7-0 record heading into Tuesday’s home game against Boston University.

The Hurricanes are one of just 13 unbeaten teams in the nation. They are winning with a combination of size, speed, tenacious defense and sharpshooting from the perimeter. Fans who want to see them best go on Tuesday because the Canes are out of town the rest of the month.

Miami ranks fourth in the nation in scoring defense (57.6 points allowed), margin of victory (23.1) and field-goal defense (35.7 percent). In an 80-52 victory over Princeton on Saturday, which flew under the radar because it was up against the ACC Football Championship, the Canes made 14 three-pointers, their most in three years, and one shy of the school record.

Sophomore guard DJ Vasiljevic of Australia led UM with 20 points and was 5 of 7 from beyond the arc. Bruce Brown added 17 points and eight rebounds. Anthony Lawrence had 10 rebounds, freshman Lonnie Walker IV chipped in 12 points, and Ja’Quan Newton had five assists and no turnovers. Dewan Huell, the 6-11 sophomore, is the team’s leading scorer with 14.1 points per game.

“We have great guards on this team, and the bigs are playing tremendous,” Brown said after the game. “So, I think as a collective group, we’re a hard team to stop.”

University of North Florida coach Matthew Driscoll, whose Ospreys lost to the Canes 86-65 in late-November, agreed.

“They’re an unbelievable team,” Driscoll said. “They’re going to shock some people and make a deep run. They have all the pieces. They’re unselfish. They know their roles. They share the sugar.”

Miami is averaging 80.7 points per game and holding opponents to an ACC-low 25.4 percent shooting from three-point range.

Longtime college basketball writer Andy Katz, now with NCAA.com, wrote of UM’s win over No. 12 Minnesota: “The Canes had played a soft schedule prior to the ACC-Big Ten Challenge game against the Gophers. Minnesota had been hot, winning a true road game at Providence and over Alabama on a neutral court. The Gophers were without Dupree McBrayer for the game, but that’s not an excuse. Miami earned every inch of this road win, and it sent a strong signal to the ACC that the Canes will be a factor in the race.”

Boston University has won three games in a row and averages 71.7 points per game while allowing 70.7. Their leading scorer is 6-5 senior guard Cedric Hankerson, a Miami native and graduate of Coral Reef High. He leads the Terriers at 12.2 points per game. Hankerson has also exceled in the classroom. He made the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll and is working on his Master’s degree in administrative studies after graduating with a degree in business administration and management.

Following Tuesday’s game, Miami does not play again until Dec. 16 at George Washington, beginning a string of six straight games away from home, including a holiday trip to Hawaii for the Diamond Head Classic. The Canes' next home game is Jan. 7 against Florida State.

No. 10 UM men vs. Boston University

When: Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Where: Watsco Center, UM campus

Records: UM (7-0), BU (3-3)

TV/Radio: FoxSports Fla., WQAM-560 AM

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