Guard Trio Powers Canes 69-57

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Behind 47 combined points by Miami's Three Amigos, the ‘Canes extended their winning streak to six games with a 69-57 win over a hungry and tough Tennessee Tech team in front of 2,388 fans at the Convocation Center. They head into Christmas with a 7-2 record, something most fans would never have dreamed of.

Although Tennessee Tech came in with only a 4-4 record, and wins over teams that most people have never heard of, the Golden Eagles gave Miami everything it could handle, especially in the first half when forward Willie Jenkins started the game with four three-pointers in the first 13 minutes of the game, the final one giving Tennessee Tech a 20-17 lead.

But Miami withstood the Tech attack and fought back to take a 29-27 lead into the half and kept Jenkins in check in the second half after he dropped 14 points in the first half, 12 from behind the arc.

"Jenkins got loose behind the three-point line when we were playing our man-to-man," UM coach Frank Haith said. "We were able to stay attached to him a little better when we were in our zone. That's a tough match up for our post guys. He's a perimeter player playing in the post."

After taking a 36-29 lead just two minutes into the second half, the Golden Eagles wouldn't let the ‘Canes get out of striking distance as Jenkins hit another three to cut the lead to four and Milone Clark hit a three to cut the lead to three at 38-35, but that was as close at Tennessee Tech would get the rest of the way.

Point guard Anthony Harris took the game under control scoring 12 of the next 15 points for Miami as it opened a 53-42 lead with seven minutes to play, the largest lead of the game until the final score. Harris finished with 14 points, all of them coming in the second half.

After having a rough first half, Harris became more assertive and took the ball to the rim that also sent him to the free throw in the second half where he went 6-for-6 from the line.

"Back home we have a three-strike rule," Harris said. "Once you miss three jumpers, you have to find another way to score. I tried to play off my teammates. We knew coming into the second half that we had to pick it up more."

But once again the Golden Eagles came back cutting the lead to six at 56-50 on a basket by Jenkins, but Robert Hite drilled a three from the corner to push the lead back to nine, and Will Frisby hit a three from the wing to push the lead to 10 with just over three minutes to play.

The Golden Eagles cut the lead once more to eight with 2:52 left, but Guillermo Diaz ended the conversation with a three-point play to push the lead back to 11 at 65-54 with 2:10 to play.

"They have as good a trio of guards as any team in the country," Jenkins said of Diaz, Harris and Hite. "UNC has Raymond Felton and Rashad McCants and some other teams have two guards who can really play, but Miami has three that can do it from anywhere on the court."

Hite led Miami with 19 points. Frisby added 15 and Diaz had 14 for the ‘Canes who also out rebounded Tennessee Tech 45-34.

"It got down to a six-point lead and we made some big plays," Haith said. "That growth is what we need to see as we progress on into the year. This is a real young team. We only have one senior. Getting that W is the most important thing."

Miami plays Appalachian State next Thursday at 7:30pm and then faces Norfolk State on January 2 before entering the ACC schedule.

NOTES: Miami is averaging 2,130 in attendance in six home games...Robert Hite leads the team in scoring averaging 20.0 ppg and is shooting 48% from behind the three-point line...Anthony King is averaging 3.6 bpg, which ranks him sixth in the country and first in the ACC

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