The Miami Hurricanes were able to get their first win of the new year at the Watsco Center 66-58 over the Pittsburgh Panthers (11-5, 2-3) after back-to-back double-digit losses to No.2 Duke and No.13 Louisville.
The Hurricanes (10-5, 2-3) put their pedal to the metal early by scoring the first 16 points of the game, not allowing a Panther score until 13:48 left in the first half.
That would be until the Hurricanes allowed Pitt to outsource them 18-2 in just 4 minutes and 23 seconds, tying the game. UM would pull away once again, taking a 44-26 lead with 14 minutes left, but allowed the Panthers to cut it to 53-49 with 5:23 left. However, Miami would not allow them to come to any closer thanks to Freshman Harlond Beverly.
Leading scorer Chris Lykes fouled out with 8 minutes to go in the second half, so the Freshman had to close the game out. Beverly was extremely efficient down the stretch, finishing with six points, five rebounds, 2 blocks, a big-time fast-break dunk, and two dimes to Sam Waardenburg to seal the game in the 66-58 victory.
Kameron McGusty led all scorers with 19 points on 66% shooting and just 3 turnovers in 37 minutes. Lykes finished with 12 and DJ Vasiljevic added with 3 three-pointers in his 13 points. Waardenburg was extremely efficient on Sunday, with 10 rebounds and 7 points.
Vasiljevic and Waardenburg both played 40 minutes in the contest, in addition to Rodney Miller’s 36 and McGusty’s 37. The Canes have just 7 healthy scholarship players left.
Pittsburgh’s Trey McGowens finished with a team-high 18 points, with Terrell Brown coming off the bench and adding 10 points. The Panther’s lack of depth showed on Sunday, shooting 35% from the field and 18% from three.
CANES LOOKING GOOD
“Miami’s record is misleading,” said Panther coach Jeff Capel. Pointing out that UM’S three conference losses were twice to Louisville and Duke.
Miami needs to continue to close out and win the very winnable conference to earn a Tournament Bid in March.
The Hurricanes look to keep the hot hand after shooting 53% from the field as they travel to Raleigh for a matchup with North Carolina State Wolfpack (11-5, 2-3) at the PNC Arena.