UM Falls to Bulldogs

The Miami Hurricane Men's Basketball team suffered their first loss of the season, 60-50, Tuesday Night versus the South Carolina State Bulldogs. Senior Will Frisby led all scorers with 18 points. The Miami Hurricanes proved they could tame Terriers last Saturday with a win over Wofford College, but Bulldogs were another story.

Although Miami kept the score relatively close the whole game, the Hurricanes never held the lead.

The Bulldogs won all the major statistical categories. Despite being undersized, State out-rebounded Miami 34-32, played more aggressively, attempted 10 more free throws than the Canes, shot better from the field (43%-34%), and had more steals than the Hurricanes (10-4).

South Carolina State was led by a bulldog of a player in Thurman Zimmerman. Despite Miami's attempts to thwart his production, Zimmerman outworked the Canes for 17 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists in 27 minutes.

"That is a tough statement for me to swallow," Head Coach Frank Haith said. "That they played harder than us. That can't happen. We can't be a team that is a scrappy team that has a chance to be competitive if we make those types of statements. That can never be said. That a team plays harder than you. It makes me sick to say and hear that."

The first half began as a defensive struggle. The Canes and the Bulldogs could not separate from one another until South Carolina State grinded out an 8-0 run in the final 3:13 of the first half, building a 31-21 cushion.

"In the first half our execution was not there, our defensive intensity wasn't there, loose balls (weren't there)," Haith said. "All the things that we preached that we want to do, we didn't do."

The second half was not much better. Trying to muster any kind of offensive rhythm that they could, Miami went to a small ball lineup of four guards and cut the lead to four following an 8-0 run with 9:35 left in the game.

However, the Bulldogs always seemed to have a response whenever Miami made a big play. When the Hurricanes cut the lead down to three with 8:20 SC State stayed composed and closed out the game outscoring the Canes 12-5.

The lone bright spot in the game for Miami was the return of forward Will Frisby. Frisby played his first game of the season, leading the team with 18 points, 6 of which were off of three point buckets.

"After I touched the ball a couple times I felt comfortable," Frisby said. "We can't let something like this get us down. I think we are a great team. I think we need to become a better defensive team and we will."

Junior guard Rob Hite added 17 points (13 in the second half), 9 rebounds, 4 assists, and two blocks for the Hurricanes.

An area of concern for the Hurricanes was the anemic play of guard Guillermo Diaz. He did not score a point Tuesday night, and looked at times like he did not have much confidence in his shot.

"Guillermo passed up a lot of shots," Haith said. "That made it difficult. When he did take shots, he wasn't close, for whatever reason. It is going to be tough for this basketball team if we don't have our better players playing well."

The Hurricanes will look to bounce back this Saturday as they take on an even tougher opponent, Xavier University, in the Orange Bowl Classic. Coach Haith is not discouraged, and he knows a lot of work is ahead.

"It's a work in progress. I am not going to get discouraged. I know what we have and where we are at, but we have got to continue to work. We have to go back tomorrow and continue to try to improve. There is a lot of areas we need to work on."

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