Hoops Team Wins Opener

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Behind a dominating performance on the boards, the Miami Hurricanes men's basketball team knocked off Wofford College 67-64 in their season opener in front of a crowd of 2,108 at the Convocation Center.

With the Canes holding a three point lead, Wofford's Eric Marshall missed a wide open three-pointer from the corner that hit off the back iron with two seconds to play to seal the win for Miami.

The Canes had their chance to put the game away when Anthony King rebounded a wide open miss by Drew Gibson that rolled in and out of the rim, but King missed the front end of a one and one that gave the Terrier's their final chance.

"It was a ‘W'," Coach Frank Haith said. "We've got work to do, but there are some things that we can take away as a positive. Gary Hamilton and Anthony King with 15 rebounds and 19 rebounds."

King's 19 boards were the most by any player since 1985 when the program was restarted. Overall, the Canes out rebounded Wofford 57 to 34, including pulling down 23 offensive boards.

With the score tied at 35 at the start of the second half, the Canes used a 10-2 run to take control of the game. The run was highlighted by a Guillermo Diaz three-pointer and then a steal that led to a breakaway dunk that brought the crowd to its feet. Diaz led the team with 13 points.

After a bucket by Wofford's Sam Daniels cut the lead to 40-37, Hamilton scored on a put back and Robert Hite drilled a three-pointer from the corner on an assist by Hamilton to give the Canes a 45-37 lead. Hamilton also had four assists to lead the Canes.

It looked like the Canes might pull away, but the Terriers continued to press on behind the play of Howard Wilkerson.

He battled under the boards constantly against the bigger Hamilton and King and got Wofford back in the game.

Down 51-43, Wofford outscored Miami 11-5 to cut the lead to 56-54 with 8:17 to play and kept the game close down the stretch, cutting the lead to one twice, first on a three by Adrien Borders and again by Wilkerson that cut the lead to 65-54 with 2:10 to play. The Terriers had their chances to take the lead, after Borders three cut the lead to one, but couldn't convert.

"You can't take anything for granted. That's why you play the game," Haith said.

Early in the game, it went back and forth as Wofford took a 15-12 lead on a basket by Howard Wilkerson who led the Terriers with 23 points and 9 rebounds, but the Canes responded with a 10-0 run that was highlighted by a couple of three-pointers by Anthony Harris and Antoine Mayhand that gave the Canes a 22-15 lead.

But the Terriers once again refused to quit.

After an emphatic alley-oop dunk by Diaz on a pass by Harris that gave the Canes a 30-24 lead, the Terriers responded with a 9-0 run to take a 33-30 lead with just over a minute to play in the first half.

The Canes quickly answered with five unanswered points to take a 35-33 lead in the half, but the lead was due mostly in part to a 31-19 advantage on the boards in the first half, including 12 offensive rebounds. Hamilton and King combined for 19 rebounds in the first half, three more than Wofford had as a team.

"I was pleased that we out-rebounded them, but we've got to do the little things better," Haith said. "Making free throws is one of the things we have to do better. We were 4 for 10 from the line."

With South Carolina State coming to Miami on Tuesday, it doesn't get any easier as they will see a player who is similar to Wilkerson in Thurman Zimmerman.

"I am glad we got the first ‘W'," Haith said. "I think Zimmerman is probably better than Wilkerson. Now we have to get to work for Tuesday. SC State beat Penn State by 20 this week. We have two days to get ready for them."

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