Miami defeats Maryland, 84-70

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The three amigos finally came back to life together. After leading the ‘Canes to a 16-13 record last season and having some incredible performances as a unit, Guillermo Diaz, Anthony Harris and Robert Hite combined for 65 points as Miami finally got a much needed win over a ranked team dominating No. 12 Maryland 84-70 at the BankUnited Center Saturday afternoon.

The missing ingredient had seemingly been Harris as he missed the first seven games with a broken foot and clearly had not been back at full speed.

He was difference Saturday as he exploded for 22 points, hitting 8 of 11 shots, including a perfect 4 for 4 from beyond the arc, and it started early for he and his teammates.

Although it seemed to be a pro-Maryland crowd, the ‘Canes attacked early and often behind the hot shooting of the trio and some beautiful passing by Diaz.

But it was the ‘Canes play down the stretch that proved to be the difference in the game. In Miami's losses, the ‘Canes have virtually disappeared in the final ten minutes of games.

After the Terrapins cut Miami's lead to 44-43 with 14:22 and the ‘Canes seemingly ready to fold over like they have so many other times this season when the game has gotten tight, Miami finally responded with a knockout punch.

Harris hit a three from the corner on a dish from Diaz and followed that up with a pull-up three from the top of the key to give Miami a 50-43 lead with 13:27 left. Maryland quickly called a timeout trying to keep the crowd from getting involved, but it didn't work as the ‘Canes kept on the onslaught.

"I thought Anthony Harris hit two big threes," UM coach Frank Haith said. "I didn't want us to become passive. In past games we've looked passive. We can't play that way. We have to continue to attack and keep playing aggressively."

And they did.

Diaz hit two free throws to give Miami a nine-point lead. After an exchange of hoops cut Miami's lead to 55-48, Hite received a quick pass from Harris on a ball reversal, took it on the baseline and skied for a two-handed tomahawk dunk that gave Miami a 57-48 lead with 12:08 to play.

And Maryland called another timeout.

"We wanted to be aggressive from the start," Hite said. "And that's what we did the whole game."

The time out didn't work. Miami kept coming never letting up on the gas.

A Gary Hamilton lay up followed by a three by back-to-back three-pointers by Hite gave Miami a 65-54 lead.

Lay ups by Harris and Diaz and another three by Hite pushed the lead to 16 points. The ‘Canes made it 75-58 with 5:31 and the lights were out for Maryland. Hite finished with 22 points and eight rebounds.

What surely didn't hurt was Miami's blazing start that saw them blast off to a 13-0 lead to start the game.

After Anthony King scored on a tip in to give Miami a 2-0 lead, Harris hit a three from the wing that was followed by a corner jumper by King. Hite drilled a three from the wing and Harris finished it off hitting another three from the wing to give Miami a 13-0 lead 2:19 seconds into the game.

"I thought we really got off to a great start," UM coach Frank Haith said. "We were really active, not just on offense, but defensively. When you have those three guys play the way they play, it gives us a boost."

Miami's hot shooting didn't stop as Diaz hit a three-pointer that gave Miami a 27-17 lead with 9:42 to play in the first half, but Maryland didn't go away. Diaz had 21 points, nine assists and three steals.

Behind the play of D.J. Strawberry and Nik Caner-Medley, the Terrapins crept back into the game to close the lead to 37-33 going into the half.

Maryland coach Gary Williams summed it up though for how he felt his team played against the ‘Canes.

"As a whole Miami beat us to a lot of balls," Williams said. "They were just more aggressive from the start than we were."

And that's why Miami collected its first conference win and a win that will hopefully give them the confidence to head to Chapel Hill to take on the defending National Champions next Saturday believing they can win.

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