'Canes Scream "Victory"

At the end of the season, teams look for senior leadership to pull them through. Miami got that tonight from Darius Rice, as he went 7-14 from the field, scoring 20 points and grabbing 8 rebounds, propelling the Canes to a 59-56 victory at Villanova. Miami were losers of ten straight before last night's victory. The win has kept their hopes alive for a Big East Tournament berth next week.

Down eight at the half, Miami scored the first seven points of the second half, and showed they still had some fight left in them. They were never able to clear the hurdle, however, as Villanova maintained the lead until late in the game. Darius Rice was able to drain a jumper with 4:30 to go to give the Canes a 52-51 lead. Villanova would tie it up, but never again take the lead, as Miami held on for the three point victory.

Robert Hite and Guillmero Diaz were both held to single digits tonight. Gary Hamilton and Armando Surratt were the only other Hurricanes to get into double figures. Both finished with 10 points. William Frisby was a standout performer for the Canes tonight as well. In his 18 minutes of work, he scored 6 points to go with 5 boards (4 offensive). He once again provided a sparkplug for the Hurricanes. "The Ant" Anthony King had 2 points and 2 boards in limited action.

In front of 6,247 people, the home team controlled the first half. Villanova's Mike Nardi hit a three pointer five minutes into the game to give Villanova a 10-8 lead. The Wildcats maintained the lead for the rest of the half. The lead would grow to as many as nine. At halftime, Villanova led Miami 29-21.

Villanova shot 47 percent from the field, but were forced into 18 turnovers by the Miami defense. Villanova was victorious in the previous meeting due to their ball-handling. Tonight, Miami pressured the ball extremely well. Sophomore Allen Ray led Villanova with 27 points, and Mike Nardi scored 14. Curtis Sumpter and Jason Fraser each had 7 rebounds.

The victory was a milestone for Perry Clark. Coach Clark picked up his 250th career victory, and his 65th in his 4th season at Miami.

After spoiling senior night in Philadelphia, the Canes now have sun-bathers at South Beach checking the prices of flights to New York City next week. It is far from a lock, but there is a good chance Miami will be in the Big Apple as the 12th seed in the tourney. Miami doesn't play Wednesday, but they will be watching intently, as Virginia Tech plays host to Rutgers. Thursday looms large as well, as Georgetown is in South Bend to play Notre Dame.

The last home game of the year marks the last chance to see Darius Rice and Rodrigue Djahue in Miami Hurricane uniforms. Tip time is 7:00 p.m. Josh Darrow and Joe Zagacki will have the call on WQAM 560 AM.

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