Canes Fall to Temple, 73-56

The zone defense did the University of Miami men's basketball team in again. Two weeks after losing to Air Force, which employed a zone defense against Miami, Temple's zone defense was even more effective. The Owls defeated the ‘Canes 73-56 in Philadelphia Sunday afternoon.

But as much as the zone defense hurt the ‘Canes and had them jacking jump shots for much of the game rather than attacking the basket, the game plan was clearly flawed.

Rather than play its regular man-to-man defense that forced the tempo more in the second half, Miami opened up in a 2-3 zone that Temple practices against every day.

Big mistake.

Temple picked Miami's zone defense apart in first 12 minutes of the game as it built a 29-11 lead the ‘Canes before Miami coach Frank Haith finally changed defenses. But it was too late as the ‘Canes could never claw back out of the hole, although they did fight back valiantly in the second half.

The Owls hit six threes to build the lead and were sizzling in the first half as they shot a ridiculous 56 percent from the field while hitting 6-of-8 three-point attempts.

But as well as Temple played, the ‘Canes didn't help themselves early as they failed to attack the basket and did not get the ball into the post to Anthony King, something Haith has said he wanted to establish early in every game.

King did not score until he hit two free throws with 1:52 to in the first half. He only took two shots and hit his only basket at the buzzer to cut the Temple lead to 36-22 going into the break.

Freshman point guard Denis Clemente who spent more time at shooting guard while Guillermo Diaz played the point hit the only two shots Miami had in the paint in the first half on two driving floaters.

Every other shot Miami took was from the perimeter, including 14 three-point attempts. The ‘Canes only hit two.

The second half was a bit of a different story although the final score didn't indicate it, but the ‘Canes defensive intensity picked up and they finally forced the tempo more to their liking, but continued to take too many jump shots.

Down 14 entering the second half, Miami went on a 10-2 run to cut the lead to six behind the play of Robert Hite who drew an offensive foul and followed it up with a steal that led to a breakaway dunk.

But Temple responded with some more wide-open shots it seemed to have all day.

Hite led another surge though to cut the lead to four at 51-47 with 9:16 to play, but that would be as close as the ‘Canes got.

Down 48-37, Hite hit a free throw and then a deep three-pointer. Diaz followed it up with a free throw and Clemente hit a three from the win on an assist from Hite to close the run.

As he did all day though, Temple star Mardy Collins answered the bell with a three to push the lead back to 58-49.

A late Temple run pushed the lead up to 19 against a UM squad that simply had nothing left.

Clemente led Miami with 19 points on 7 of 18 shooting, but he was 3-for-12 from three-point range. Hite had 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting, but Diaz, who played point for much of the game and had six assists, had a miserable game offensively shooting 1-for-10 from the field. It was the first time Diaz had scored less than 12 points since his donut against South Carolina State last season, a span of 32 games.

The ‘Canes (4-2) will try to rebound on Tuesday in what is a huge road game at Ann Arbor against Michigan in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.

MIAMI (4-2) - Clemente 19, Hite 18, King 8, Diaz 6, Hicks 3, Graham 2

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat is a Staff Writer with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at rudy@canestime.com

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