University of Miami

Undefeated UM men’s basketball team debut in two polls

UM players hold the trophy after defeating Charlotte in the championship game at the Charleston Classic in Charleston, S.C., Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014.
UM players hold the trophy after defeating Charlotte in the championship game at the Charleston Classic in Charleston, S.C., Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014. AP

The University of Miami men’s basketball team made a statement with a road win over No.7 Florida, followed it up with a commanding tournament win in Charleston, South Carolina, and pollsters rewarded the Hurricanes.

UM, 5-0 for the first time in five years, is ranked No.17 in the AP poll and No.20 in the USA Today poll, both released Monday.

The new-look Canes have just two players back from last season, Manu Lecomte and Tonye Jekiri. But junior transfers Angel Rodriguez and Sheldon McClellan have made an immediate impact. Rodriguez scored 24 points — including five three-pointers — against the Gators. On Sunday, he was named MVP of the Charleston Classic, where the Hurricanes beat Drexel 66-46, Akron 79-51 and Charlotte 77-58.

“When we beat Florida on the road, a top-10 team, people started talking about us,” Um coach Jim Larrañaga said. “We followed it up with three strong wins, so we’re 5-0 and the voters recognized that and ranked us. It’s nice, but we know the season is very long and we have to continue to improve.”

The Canes complete their trip Tuesday night as they face Charlotte for the second time in two days.

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