Brown’s triple-double helps Miami beat Gardner-Webb 77-45
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Lonnie Walker IV’s college career was less than two minutes old when Bruce Brown spotted him under the basket and hit him with lob for a crowd-pleasing score.
That alley-oop dunk was just the start.
“We’re probably going to have a lot more of them,” Brown said.
“A lot more,” Walker agreed. “A lot more.”
The two underclassmen believe this will be a special season for the No. 13-ranked Miami Hurricanes , and it began Friday with a 77-45 win over Gardner-Webb.
Brown, a sophomore, had his second career triple-double and the third in school history. He totaled 10 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in 31 minutes.
“That’s Bruce Brown,” Walker said. “He’s one of the reasons I came here. That’s his game. Call him Triple Dub.”
Walker, Miami’s most highly touted recruit under coach Jim Larranaga, came off the bench to total 10 points and five assists in 25 minutes. He and Brown are widely expected to turn pro after this season.
The Hurricanes fell behind 7-0 but pulled away with a 50-point second half.
“We’ve got a lot of fire to us,” Brown said.
“The second half we were kind of unstoppable,” Walker said. “I pictured this since July. We’re a great team.”
The Hurricanes (1-0) have their highest ranking to start a season. The only cloud is the FBI investigation into college basketball, with Larranaga saying he was named in court documents but has done nothing wrong.
Gardner-Webb (0-1) extended its losing streak against ranked teams to 10 games dating to November 2007.
“The second half was a rough one,” coach Tim Craft. “I don’t know if I’ve gone through a second half where we’ve just been blitzed like that. Miami is really impressive, talented, athletic, with a lot of shooting at a lot of spots.”
The Hurricanes’ Dewan Huell had 14 points and eight rebounds in 18 minutes. Ebuka Izundu, a 6-10 junior from Nigeria, had 14 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes.
Miami won easily despite shooting only 7 for 26 from 3-point range and 10 for 21 from the free-throw line. On the plus side, the Hurricanes had 21 assists.
“That’s what we need,” Larranaga said. “We need to share the ball, because we’ve got a lot of weapons.”
D.J. Laster led Gardner-Webb with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Miami 6-10 freshman Sam Waardenburg didn’t play because of a back problem. His status is day to day, Larranaga said.
The Hurricanes missed two free throws and a trio of 3-pointers early before Brown scored their first points 4 minutes into the season. That started a 10-0 run, and Miami never trailed again. The score was 27-23 at halftime, and Miami went on a 24-2 run to start the second half.
“Our offense looked terrible,” Brown said. “We just regrouped and brought the energy back, and played the way we know how to play.”
The Hurricanes struggled early against Gardner-Webb’s zone, in part because of poor shooting from the perimeter. Miami made 7 percent from 3-point range in the first half, going 1 for 13, with the only basket by Walker.
Defensively the Hurricanes got their hands on the ball in the lane a lot. Their defense got ranked second in the ACC in scoring defense a year ago, but that end of the court will be the biggest challenge for Larranaga’s young team.
The Hurricanes are at home Sunday against Navy, which beat Pittsburgh 71-62 Friday.
Gardner-Webb continues a three-game swing through Florida when it plays No. 8 Florida on Monday.
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