'Canes Blast UMass 80-53

Just three days ago, UMass knocked off UConn to pull off one of the biggest upsets of the year to date in college basketball. That meant Miami had a confident bunch of Minutemen coming into the Convocation Sunday afternoon.

What confidence UMass brought in, the ‘Canes quickly rained on as Miami routed UMass 80-53 before a crowd of 2,392 to improve to 5-2 on the season. The loss dropped UMass to 3-3.

Miami was led by its trio of guards who continue to impress as Robert Hite, Guillermo Diaz and Anthony Harris combined for 54 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.

Early on though, Miami looked like it stayed in bed falling behind 6-0 and not scoring until 3:06 into the game, but once the ‘Canes cracked the scoreboard, they simply started raining threes, hitting 13-of-22 for the game from behind the arc.

Diaz struck for four three-pointers and 18 points in the first half with his final three giving the ‘Canes their largest lead of the half at 33-17. He finished with 20 points and four assists.

"We had excellent movement and ball rotation on offense between our guards," UM coach Frank Haith said. "We shot the ball very well and got very good shots throughout the game."

Hite was no slouch in the first half knocking down three trifectas and scoring 10 of his 18 points in the first half. Hite finished the game shooting 5-of-6 from three-point range.

It marked the fourth straight game that saw the ‘Canes guards strike for 54 points or more combined and has proven to be the key in Miami's four-game winning streak as their have seemingly gotten used to playing together.

But what was a 37-22 lead at the end of the first half that was punctuated by a rim-rocking put tomahawk dunk by Diaz, turned into a rout in the first seven minutes of the second half.

"I don't know where he came from on that dunk," Hite said of Diaz's dunk. "It looked like he just fell out of the sky."

Where Diaz left off is where Harris took over as he led the ‘Canes on an 18-2 run to start the half that pushed the lead to 55-24 with 13:38 to play. UMass was never able to threaten, as the lead never fell below 22 points.

Harris opened the half with a three-pointer to kick-start the run. After as assist on a Will Frisby lay-up, Harris stuck for a lay-up of his own and it was off to the races.

Harris struck for 11 of his 16 points in the second half and also added seven assists while only committing two turnovers.

Miami also controlled the glass outrebounding UMass 40-26, an area that Haith said was key.

"They said that they had to outrebound UConn to beat them and they did," Haith said. "We did a really good job boxing them and controlling the boards. That was definitely a key."

It also marked Frisby's first start of the season as he contributed 14 points and eight rebounds on 5-of-9 shooting.

"We did a good job of getting him going," Haith said. "We need his development to continue throughout the season."

One thing is for sure after Miami has rebounded from an early season loss to South Carolina State; this team is confident.

"Our confidence is real high," Harris said. "It keeps building everyday."

But with a young team, Haith emphasizes that his players not overlook anyone.

The ‘Canes face Stetson on Saturday at the Convocation Center and it's the most important game of the season.

Why?

"Because it's the next game," Diaz, Hite and Harris echoed together.

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