Florida International's game plan coming into the game Tuesday was to keep Miami's athletic guards from penetrating and make the Hurricanes beat them by making contested three-point shots.
Unfortunately for the Panthers the plan backfired, as guard Robert Hite could not miss a shot from behind the arc.
Hite led the University of Miami basketball team to victory by scoring 29 points on 7-of-10 shooting from three, as the ‘Canes beat the FIU Golden Panthers 80-67.
Hite also led the team with nine rebounds and three steals.
"I was feeling it and I just thought every time I shot it, it was going in," Hite said.
The first half started as a defensive struggle. Neither team took control of the game until there was 7:23 left in the first half. With the score tied at 20, the ‘Canes outscored FIU 20-7, closing the first half with a 40-27 lead.
Ironically, it was the Hurricanes zone defense that gave the Panthers fits during this run. The Hurricanes dared FIU to shoot the three, a team that shot just 22.5 percent from behind the arc before the game.
"At that point and time we went zone for a little bit and we were able to get some stops," coach Haith said. "We limited them to one offensive rebound. At the timeout we talked to them about holding them to one shot. During that stretch, we were able to do that and we were able to get some transition buckets and get it going a little bit offensively."
Hite echoed his coach's sentiments on the spurt at the end of the half.
"When we started to go zone, FIU did not want to shoot any three's and we played off of them, we tried to make them shoot and they didn't want to," Hite said. "We got a couple of turnovers and that is how we pulled away in the first half."
At the end of the first half, point guard, Anthony Harris, led Miami in scoring with 14 points. Robert Hite added a well rounded stat line with 12 points, five rebounds and two steals.
The offense in the first half was not too shabby either. The ‘Canes shot 52 percent from the field and 46 percent from behind the three point arc.
FIU was led in the first half by guard Junior Matias. Matias attacked the basket, scoring seven of his 12 points from the free-throw line.
After the half, the Hurricanes picked up where they left off. The closest FIU would cut the lead down to was 74-63 with only 53 seconds left in the game.
The Panthers were carried by the inspired play of forward, Ivan Almonte, who scored 17 of his 22 points in the second half. He also grabbed 11 rebounds.
Anthony Harris added 25 points for the Hurricanes, to go along with four assists, while guard Guillermo Diaz scored 13 points in 26 minutes.
Coming off of a big win versus Florida last Saturday, Miami did not want to come out flat versus FIU and play with the same intensity they showed against the Gators.
"This was a day we had to show that we could battle back from a great win and that was something we hadn't had all year," Haith said. "We had to show that we could battle back and win after a great win on the road."
Anthony Harris knew that especially after beating the Gators, FIU was going to come out hungry to beat the Hurricanes.
"We knew it was in their house, it was a big night for them and a cross town rivalry, they are going to try and come out very aggressive," Harris said. "They probably had a chip on their shoulders to come at us so we had to step our game up and not have any low points where they could come at us."
Miami's next game is December 12 versus Massachusetts at the Convocation Center at 2:00 PM.
Canes Beat FIU 80-67
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