Miami put six players in double figures Monday night and pretty much needed all six to secure a 93-77 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette in a college basketball matchup in Coral Gables.
The Hurricanes saw a pair of 20-point leads, the second early in the second half, cut down to 12 points 78-66 with just over six minutes left in the game before securing their second victory in as many outings in the young season.
The visiting Ragin’ Cajuns fell to 1-1 with the loss.
Guard Davon Reed led Miami’s balanced attack with 19 points with guard Angel Rodriguez right behind with 18. Guard Sheldon McClellan added 16, forward Ivan Cruz Uceda 13, freshman forward Anthony Lawrence Jr. 12, and guard Ja’Quan Newton 11.
“I’m kind of counting on that, that the balance will make us hard to guard,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “You can see, like Davon, I think he missed his first two shots and really caught fire in the second half. He buried a couple of 3s, went to the basket and got fouled, and had that enormous dunk.
“I think that really said how aggressive he was playing. He had another one that he almost got, and Anthony Lawrence had one that he almost got. When you have athletes like that that go hard to the rim, that’s hard for the defense to guard because these guys are not 6-2, they’re 6-6 and 6-7 and strong.
“So if we can keep up the defensive effort for 40 minutes, that’s going to be a major key.”
The Cajuns’ Shawn Long led all scorers with 21 and gathered in 13 rebounds for a double-double. The Cajuns also had five players in double figures overall with Jay Wright scoring 13, Kasey Shepherd 12, and Bryce Washington and Devonta Walker 11 each.
The Hurricanes now get ready to board a plane for a hop over to Puerto Rico for the Puerto Rico Tip-off Tournament. They open the eight team affair against Mississippi State Thursday evening and will play either Texas Tech or No. 16 Utah in the second game.
No. 12 Butler, Minnesota, Missouri State, and Temple are in the other bracket.
The event will serve as a homecoming for Rodriguez, who is from Cupey, Puerto Rico.
“Everybody, my family, my friends are excited,” said Rodriguez, who said he hasn’t been back to the island since coming to Miami to play his high school ball. He played his first two years as a collegian at Kansas State.
“I’m very excited I’m going to play with this group of guys in front of my people against very great competition this early in the year. A lot of great things are happening right now.”