UM Hoops News & Notes: 11/30

Miami took an unexpected hit with a loss at Rutgers, but that doesn't really change the perception that the Hurricanes will be able to contend for a spot in the middle of the pack in the ACC race.

Coach Frank Haith said the Hurricanes were putting them loss to the Knights behind them.

"We understand that we're a better basketball team than we showed up in Rutgers," Haith said, noting his team's 29.2 percent shooting percentage in the loss. "And I think we've got to continue to grow.

"Shooting the basketball is a big part of this team. I think we can shoot the ball, and I also think we've got guys like Reggie who can score in the paint."

"Reggie" is 6-10 Reggie Johnson, who emerged as a big factor in the Hurricanes' down the stretch of last season when they won two games for the first time in the ACC Tournament.

He has begun the season with four double-doubles and was third in scoring behind guards Malcolm Grant and Durand Scott with an average of 12.0 points a game.

Just a sophomore, Johnson is also averaging better than 10 rebounds per outing and at about 300 pounds is a huge space-eater inside.

NOTES, QUOTES

-- Miami has been able to get points from several corners. The Hurricanes had five players in double figures in the opening win over Jacksonville and bettered that with six against McNeese State. The only time the Hurricanes failed to have at least three players in double digits in scoring was in the loss at Rutgers.

-- The 87-75 win at Florida Gulf Coast was the Hurricanes' first true road win since an 86-63 victory at Pepperdine last Jan. 3.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Freshman G Rion Brown has made an immediate impression with his play. He has been in double figures twice with 17 points against North Carolina Central and 16 against Florida Gulf Coast. He is 9-of-23 on three-pointers.

STRENGTHS: Miami has shown good depth and solid backcourt play in the early going. Junior G Malcolm Grant and sophomore G Durand Scott are 1-2 in scoring.

WEAKNESSES: The Hurricanes have been inconsistent shooters, varying from 51.6 and 51.8 percent against Jacksonville and McNeese State to 32.8 and 29.2 in losses to Memphis and Rutgers, respectively.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We need him to have a good year even though he's a freshman. We need him to grow quickly. That's why it's important he gets minutes so he gets comfortable." -- Coach Frank Haith, on G Rion Brown's role.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

RECRUITING RETURNS: Miami picked up only one signee in the November period. Bishop Daniels is a 6-2 guard out of Raleigh, N.C.

DECEMBER OUTLOOK: A Dec. 4 game against West Virginia is the big test in the month. The Hurricanes later play Oral Roberts, Rice, and Akron in the Las Vegas Holiday Hoops Classic.

ROSTER REPORT:

-- Sophomore C Reggie Johnson had four double-doubles through the first six games and just missed a fifth when he settled for nine rebounds to go with his 12 points against McNeese State. He averaged 12.0 points and 10.5 rebounds a game over that stretch.
-- Junior G Malcolm Grant posted his second 20-point game of the season in the win at Florida Gulf Coast. He also had 23 in the season-opening win over Jacksonville.
-- Sophomore G Garrius Adams made his first start of the season and eighth of his career in the win over Florida Gulf Coast. He scored 13 points, a season high.
-- Sophomore G Durand Scott had a 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio through six games with 26 assists against 13 turnovers. He was averaging 12.5 ppg, second to Grant's 13.7 average.


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