UM Basketball Team Looks Good in 73-50 Win

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - There were no fights like the football teams had a month ago when Miami met FIU in the Orange Bowl, but the result was the same on the final scoreboard. A Miami victory and in convincing fashion once again as the Hurricanes routed the Golden Panthers in both teams season opener 73-50 at the BankUnited Center in front of a good opening night crowd of 3,501.

The promise of a strong inside game though can leave ‘Canes fans feeling confident as they dominated the interior with Anthony King, Jimmy Graham and Dwayne Collins easily handling the FIU post players.

"I thought our post guys were outstanding. As we talked about in the preseason, that would be the strength of our team," Miami coach Frank Haith said. "They played well. They played confident."

Especially confident was King. As has been demanded of him this season, he needs to score in the post. He did exactly that leading the ‘Canes with 19 points on 9 of 12 shooting, and dominated the boards grabbing 15 rebounds, including five offensive rebounds. He also blocked four shots.

Joining King on the action were shooting guard Jack McClinton, Graham and Collins who combined for 34 points.

Graham also added three big blocked shots, including a major swat of FIU's Dejon Prejean with about 13 minutes to play when he rejected what appeared to be a wide open lay up that resulted in a fast break lay up by McClinton that pushed Miami's lead to 52-32.

Collins also grabbed 12 rebounds (6 offensive) and had an emphatic put back dunk in the final minute of the game that didn't count, but gives rise to the belief that Collins is a special player who will be dominating once he matures physically and mentally and becomes more experienced.

"I think he's special, he's got some things he's got to work out, but when he does, he's going to be a pretty darn good player," Haith said.

A three-pointer by McClinton with 4:51 to play gave Miami its biggest lead at 69-43. McClinton had 14 points, including three triples and three assists.

But it was the post play that was clearly the difference as the ‘Canes out rebounded FIU 46 to 30 and dominated in the paint throughout.

"They were a little too strong for us around the basket, they pushed us around and got put backs. I thought we could at least compete a little better in the post, but we didn't," FIU coach Sergio Rouco said.

In the early going, FIU did a good job of competing with the bigger and stronger ‘Canes. The Golden Panthers trailed only 28-22 following a three-pointer by FIU guard Elvis Lora. Lora led FIU with 15 points, all coming off of three-pointers.

But Miami dominated the rest of first half, going on a 14-2 run to finish the half and take a 42-24 lead into the break.

King and Graham led the run combing for 11 of the 14 points during the run. Graham's dunk on an assist from Anthony Harris finished the half off.

The Golden Panthers opened the second half on an 8-2 run to cut the lead to 46-32, but that was as close as it would get as Miami responded immediately with a 6-0 run that Collins keyed with a thunderous put back dunk and was finished off by Graham's block that ended up with McClinton's lay up.

"Rebounding was the key to the game. We really dominated the backboards, 17 offensive rebounds. That's good to see, but when you do that you are usually going to win the ball game," Haith said.

Miami returns to the court Tuesday when they host Alcorn State at 7:30 p.m. at the BankUnited Center.

Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat can be reached at rudy@canestime.com

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