Puerto Rico Preview

by David Lake Friday, the University of Miami men's basketball team will play Inter-American University of Puerto Rico for their final exhibition game of the season. The Hurricanes look to build on the 73-55 victory they posted last Thursday against Barry University.

The Canes will use the final exhibition game to work out the kinks against Inter-American Puerto Rico that were visible in the first exhibition against Barry.

During the first half against Barry, the Hurricanes could not get into an offensive rhythm. The Canes shot just 40 percent from the field and committed seven turnovers.

"In our last game, during the first half, I didn't feel like our execution was flowing quickly enough," Head Coach Frank Haith said. "Usually your defense is better than the offense right now anyway. Once they get more comfortable, you'll see an even better basketball team because they'll start to flow better instead of thinking - just playing and reacting."

The lone bright spot in the first half was point guard Anthony Harris. Harris scored all of his 11 points in the first half. He finished the game with four assists and four rebounds, while committing just one turnover.

"My confidence right now is very high," Harris said. "My progress has been coming along very well. Everyday I am learning something new."

The Hurricanes will once again start a three guard lineup this week of Guillermo Diaz, Rob Hite, and Harris against Inter-American Puerto Rico. While the lineup is small, it can create mismatches by spreading the court and utilize their speed, quickness, and ball-handling skills.

The lack in size also means that the Canes have to out-work their opponents.

"That is where the effort comes in," Harris said. "We have got to be the scrappy team. We have got to be the team to get the loose balls, block shots, and get offensive rebounds."

While the Canes offense comes from its guard play, the heart and soul of the team might be the big men.

Forwards Gary Hamilton and Will Frisby are considered the leaders of the team. This group, with Anthony King coming off the bench, brings energy to the game with rebounds and blocks. Any points the men up front can provide is a welcome bonus.

Frisby finished the game versus Barry with 10 rebounds, Hamilton added nine points and eight rebounds, and King added eight points and five rebounds.

Center Glenn Batemon only saw four minutes of playing time in the Barry game. Batemon, who is now at 325 pounds, is still working to get his weight down. When he is ready to run up and down the floor consistently, he will be a welcome addition. He is the only true center on the team.

"I'm hoping that he can help us, we need him to help us," Haith said. "He gives us a presence and I think that Glenn knows that if he keeps his weight down and if he keeps himself in good condition, he can help this basketball team. He'll feel so much better and move better. The kid has great hands. At practice he shows great offensive skills when he catches the ball.

A solid win against Inter-American Puerto Rico would give the team a much needed boost of confidence that would spill over into the regular season. As the Canes brace for their first season in the ACC, a conference that has 6 teams ranked in the top 19, they will focus on the basics: getting the loose balls, out hustling their opponents, and working hard on defense.

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