No. 17 Miami beats South Alabama 87-75
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Miami built a huge early lead and solidified its first week in the national rankings.
Sheldon McClellan had 17 points and the No. 17 Hurricanes scored the first 23 points in an 87-75 victory over South Alabama on Friday night.
Manu Lecomte led the strong start with two 3-pointers and Ja’quan Newton’s jumper with 11:35 left ended the surge for the Hurricanes (7-0).
Tonye Jekiri had nine points, six assists and five rebounds in Miami’s early scoring blitz. He finished with 13 points, eight assists and eight rebounds.
“At that point we were just playing team basketball,” Jekiri said. “We were moving the ball, sharing the ball. “We know we’re ranked but at the same time, any team can come in and beat us. We don’t look at the numbers.”
Abdul Lewis’ jumper with 11:19 remaining in the first half ended the scoring drought for the Jaguars, who missed their first 11 shots.
“Guys were nervous,” South Alabama coach Matthew Graves said. “They were a little bit anxious playing a ranked team for the first time. They kind of got overwhelmed by the moment.”
McClellan was 6 of 6 from the field and 4 of 4 on free throws.
Lecomte finished with 14 points and Omar Sherman scored 13 points for the Hurricanes.
“We got off to a terrific start,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “Can’t say I expected that but I was very happy when I saw how quickly we were able to get control of the game.”
The huge early advantage provided additional playing time for Hurricanes’ reserves. Sherman came off the bench and scored eight first-half points. Sherman’s dunk with 37 seconds remaining gave Miami a 43-19 lead.
“We’re trying to get them more significant playing time,” Larranaga said of his reserves. “Hopefully that can continue, where we get the support from the guys off the bench.”
The Hurricanes led at halftime 43-21.
South Alabama (1-3) outscored Miami 21-12 in the first 7:16 of the second half. Taishaun Johnson’s layup with 12:44 remaining got the Jaguars to 55-42. Another layup from Johnson with 11:48 left again reduced Miami’s lead to 13 at 57-44.
Ken Williams scored 16 points to lead South Alabama.
CONCERNS OVER SECOND HALF DEFENSE:
Although Miami built the 23-0 lead, the Hurricanes allowed 54 points in the second half.
“We didn’t seem to have the same focus in the second half that we did in the first half, especially on the defensive end of the floor,” Larranaga said. “They outhustled us. We can’t afford that.”
FLORIDA WIN STREAK ENDS:
The Jaguars had won three consecutive games in Florida before Friday’s loss. South Alabama had road wins at Florida State, Florida Atlantic and Florida International during the 2012-13 season.
South Alabama: The Jaguars have lost six consecutive road games dating to last season. South Alabama’s last road win was at Western Kentucky on Feb. 15.
Miami: G Davon Reed participated in pregame warmups but did not play. Reed underwent surgery in September after an injury that school officials described as to his “lower left extremity.” Reed was expected to be sidelined four to six months following surgery.
South Alabama: hosts Spring Hill on Tuesday night.
Miami: hosts Illinois on Tuesday night.