Miami, Ohio 71, La Salle 66
SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) _ Anthony Taylor scored a career-high 27 points and Wally Szczerbiak added 25 to lead Miami of Ohio past La Salle 71-66 Friday night in the first round of the Carrier Classic.
Host Syracuse (5-0) played Texas Southern (0-5) in the second game.
Miami (6-1), which upset No. 7 Xavier 80-72 on Tuesday night, kept its early-season surge alive, and it was Taylor who led the way against La Salle (2-2) _ at both ends of the court.
Taylor was 12-for-16 from the floor, handed out a game-high eight assists, and helped hold La Salle’s leading scorer, Donnie Carr, to 3-of-15 shooting. Carr scored 18 points, all in the second half, and Victor Thomas led the Explorers with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
La Salle, which shot just 32 percent in the first half, trailed 38-26 at halftime and tried to come back from long range. A trey by Carr with 15:27 left, his first points of the game, pulled La Salle within 45-38, but Taylor stopped the rally.
Taylor fed John Estick underneath for an easy layup, hit a 3-pointer, and converted a fast-break layup off a long pass from Szczerbiak. Another trey by Taylor, with 7:22 left, gave the RedHawks a 57-45 edge.
The Explorers made it close in the final minute, though. A three-point play by K’Zell Wesson with 24.7 seconds left pulled La Salle within 67-63. But Damon Frierson, who had seven assists for Miami, secured the victory by converting four free throws in the final seconds.
Miami hit 51.6 percent of its shots in the first half and led by as many as 14 points, using a tough man-to-man defense to bottle up the Explorers.
Taylor scored 17 points in the first half, including six in a row to give the RedHawks a 17-15 lead midway through the period, and they never trailed again.