UM Hoops: News & Notes (1/12)

After beginning ACC play with consecutive road games, Miami finally will get a home conference game when it plays hosts to Clemson on Jan. 18.

The Hurricanes also will get something else they desperately need after losses at Virginia and North Carolina.
They will have eight days between games before facing the Tigers in the BankUnited Center on their Coral Gables campus.
Getting home should help the Hurricanes get their confidence back after a 73-56 whipping at North Carolina on Tuesday, and the gap between games will give them some much needed extra practice time to correct recent problems, especially in the backcourt.
Starting guards Durand Scott, Malcolm Grant and Trey McKinney Jones combined for only 17 points against North Carolina and were a combined 6-for-22 from the field (0-for-8 on 3-pointers).
Freshman Shane Larkin and sophomore Rion Brown off the bench made only two of their six field-goal attempts, both 3-pointers.
All told, the five guards who played combined for only 10 assists (only two more than North Carolina's Kendall Marshall had by himself) and committed 10 of Miami's 17 turnovers.
"I thought when we did what we planned on doing and got the ball inside, I thought our big guys could score," coach Jim Larranaga said after getting a combined 28 points from Kenny Kadji and Reggie Johnson. "It was our guard play and a lack of getting quality shots from them.
"We're going to have to really work on that to become a better offensive team."
After Clemson, Miami will play host to North Carolina State on Jan. 22 before going back on the road for games at Georgia Tech and Boston College to finish off January.
TRENDING: After shooting over 50 percent from the field in four games leading into conference play, including a 62.0 percent season high in a double-overtime win over Florida Atlantic a week before Christmas, the Hurricanes have struggled from the field in their first two ACC contests. They were only 23-for-55 (41.8 percent) in the loss to North Carolina after going 18-for-51 (35.3 percent) in the 52-51 defeat at Virginia. Two key factors: Both games were on the road, and the Hurricanes were facing two of the top three teams in field-goal defense in the league. The Tar Heels (No. 2) and Cavaliers (No. 3) were both holding their opponents to under 38 percent shooting going into the games.

--With four of its first six ACC games on the road, Miami was hoping to steal a win in its conference opener at Virginia to avoid falling into an early hole in the league race, and the Hurricanes came within one play of doing just that.
But when guard Durand Scott's somewhat off-balance leaner bounced off the rim, the Hurricanes were saddled with a 52-51 loss to the Cavaliers.
Scott was tied up going for the rebound as the horn sounded.
--Senior G Malcolm Grant tied the school record for consecutive games with a 3-pointer when he hit his first try from beyond the arc against Virginia. It was his 35th straight game with a trey dating back to Dec. 30, 2010, against Pepperdine.
Grant missed two games in late December to attend the funeral of his brother. He has played in two games since returning, scoring eight points in the win over UNC-Greensboro on Jan. 2 and eight again in the loss at Virginia.
--Sophomore F Kenny Kadji, in his first year on the court after sitting out last season following his transfer from Florida, emerged as a key factor in the last two games.
He set a career-high with 30 points in the 99-89 win over UNC Greensboro to start off the month, adding 12 rebounds for his first double-double of the season. He had 14 points and 10 rebounds against Virginia for his second.
"I've done it since my sophomore year in high school," the 6-11 Kadji said when asked if he had always shot 3-pointers. "I didn't really get a chance to do it at Florida."
--Miami's hot shooting came to an abrupt end in the loss at Virginia. The Hurricanes had shot over 50 percent in each of their four previous games and 55.7 percent overall in that stretch. But they were only 18-of-51 (35.3 percent) against Virginia after going just 6-of-25 (24.0 percent) in the first half.
BY THE NUMBERS: 6 -- The number of teams from the ACC coach Jim Larranaga envisioned making the NCAA field, "at a minimum," he said, based on what had transpired early in the season.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "What we've done in the non-conference would at least put us in the discussion if we are able to do the same thing during conference play." -- Coach Jim Larranaga, whose team finished 9-4 in non-conference play, when asked if he felt nine ACC wins would put his Hurricanes on the bubble for the NCAA tourney.

FUTURES MARKET: Coach Jim Larranaga was known for his "scramble defense" in his years at George Mason, a pressure, trapping man-to-man defense run both full-court and half-court. But he doesn't think his Hurricanes are ready yet to use the scheme. He said he hasn't been able even to work on it in practices in his first season. "We're so focused on trying to improve our man-to-man," Larranaga said before the Hurricanes took on Virginia. "It's going to be a long time before we're able to scramble."

--Senior G Malcolm Grant saw his streak of consecutive games with a 3-pointer end at 35 when he missed all five of his attempts from behind the arc against North Carolina. Grant has struggled to get his game back in gear since the tragic death of 35-year-old brother, who died of a heart attack in December. The team's leading scorer, Grant has averaged only 7.0 points and gone only 8-of-29 from the field in his three appearances since returning from funeral services in New York.
--Junior C Reggie Johnson just missed a double-double against North Carolina, coming up with nine boards to go with his 12 points. Johnson has averaged 10.3 points and 7.3 rebounds in six games after missing Miami's first nine games while recovering from knee surgery. He has made five starts.
--Sophomore F Kenny Kadji extended his streak of double-figure games to three in a row and seven of his last eight with 16 points against North Carolina, matching the Tar Heels' Tyler Zeller for game scoring honors. Kadji is 22-for-36 (61.1 percent) from the floor in his last three games. He leads the Hurricanes in scoring in their two ACC games with 30 points.

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