UM Hoops: News & Notes (2/24)

Miami's 75-70 loss at Maryland didn't necessarily knock the Hurricanes out of contention for an at-large bid to NCAA Tournament.

But it did give the game against Florida State a renewed sense of urgency for the 'Canes. The two teams will meet Sunday (Feb. 26) in a rematch from just 15 days earlier.
The Seminoles won that matchup in Tallahassee, 64-59.
With the 'Noles challenging North Carolina and Duke for the ACC regular-season title and Miami desperately needing a victory to re-establish its NCAA credentials, it stacks up as the most important Miami-FSU meeting in basketball in recent years and perhaps ever.
The Hurricanes have dropped to 16-10 overall and 7-6 in conference play. They are tied for fifth with North Carolina State, which lost 86-74 at home to North Carolina about the same time the Hurricanes were losing a second-half lead to the Terrapins.
The Hurricanes blew their chance to move into a tie with Virginia for fourth place in the conference by going cold from the field at the worst possible time.
After guard Durand Scott hit a jumper to put Miami up 56-49 with 9:07 left in the game, the Hurricanes, who finished the game 20-of-26 from the free throw line, didn't hit another field goal until guard Shane Larkin drove the lane for a virtually uncontested layup with just 16.9 seconds left.
By then Maryland had rallied from that seven-point deficit and still held a three-point lead after Larkin's drive. The Terps clinched the game by making four free throws in the remaining time.
"It hurts," coach Jim Larranaga said of the loss. "We were right there."

--Miami ended up winning by 18 points, but the game with Wake Forest was tied 34-34 at halftime. The difference in the second half?
Defense, said coach Jim Larranaga.
"The first half they shot over 50 percent and they shot well from three," Larranaga said. "We were able to defend them much better in the second half.
"When you defend better, you get stops, you get opportunities to get out into the open court. We scored in transition a few times."
After allowing the visitors to go 13-of-25 from the field in the first half (5-of-11 on 3s), the Hurricanes held the Demon Deacons to 7-of-23 shooting (30.4 percent) over the final 20 minutes.
--Junior G Durand Scott missed practice the two days before Miami's game against Wake Forest and was a game-time decision, according to Larranaga.
Scott injured his leg in the final minute of the midweek loss to North Carolina, but examinations showed no serious injury.
"I never like it when a player misses practice," Larranaga said. "But I was actually feeling good that he got a chance to take two days off because he plays so hard, and has played so hard for so long, he probably needs some time to recover, especially a game as physical as the North Carolina game."
Scott showed no effects from the injury, tying F Kenny Kadji for game scoring honors with 18 points while going 7-of-11 (2-of-3 from behind the arc) from the field. He had seven rebounds, four assists, three steals and no turnovers in 30 minutes.
Scott said he didn't feel 100 percent at the start of the game and got off to a sluggish start, much like this teammates.
"But it got better as the game progressed," Scott said. "The leg got looser and the calf muscle felt a little more comfortable."
--With a seven conference wins through 12 games, Miami is within one victory of matching its high in league wins since joining the ACC in the 2004-05 season. The Hurricanes were 8-8 in the ACC in 2007-08 for their best finish so far. They have been 7-9 three times, their first two years in the league and again in 2008-09.
BY THE NUMBERS: 11-5 -- With the win over Wake Forest, Miami has won 11 of the 15 games C Reggie Johnson has played in since returning from an offseason knee injury.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "Great. Great. He was terrific. He defended. He rebounded a little bit. He made a couple of shots. He looked like he did back in December before the injury sidelined him." -- Coach Jim Larranaga on the return of junior G Garrius Adams against Wake Forest after being sidelined for the previous 11 games because of a knee injury.

--vs. Florida State, Feb. 26
KEY MATCHUPS: F Bernard James was a load to handle, scoring 18 points and blocking four shots in the Seminoles' 64-59 victory over the Hurricanes in Tallahassee on Feb. 11. The 'Noles have won the last six meetings in the series.
STAR WATCH: Junior F Kenny Kadji has scored in double figures in 13 consecutive games after leading Miami with 16 points at Maryland. He was 5-of-10 from the field and hit his only three-point attempt, making him 23-of-46 from the field overall and 5-of-9 on three-pointers over his last four games.

--Junior G Trey McKinney-Jones came off the bench to hit three three-pointers in the first half against Maryland. He ended up with 13 points for the game, the third time in his last three outings he has been in double figures. He had three against Wake Forest in the previous game and 11 in the loss to North Carolina a week earlier.
--Junior G Durand Scott did much of the ballhandling at Maryland and scored 14 points. He had two turnovers, however, the second with 31 seconds left and Miami down by just one point. He then committed his fifth foul, sending Sean Mosley to the line, and he hit both of his free throws.

Canes Time Top Stories