Canes Lose To Mississippi State, 70-52

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - Call it exam fever, but whatever illness plagued the University of Miami men's basketball team Monday night at the BankUnited Center Monday made them look more than sick as they were trounced 70-52 by Mississippi State in front of a crowd of 2,889.



It marked the worst home loss since Frank Haith has been head coach at Miami.

"Mississippi State came in and whipped us," Haith said. "They whipped us in every phase of the game. They outplayed us, outworked us, they dominated the game."

The Bulldogs wasted no time jumping all over Miami taking a 22-9 lead with 10:34 to play in the first half behind five three-pointers as the ‘Canes simply looked to be stuck in cement defensively.

Miami never got on track in the first half falling behind by as many as 18 at 30-12 and trailed by 17 at the half 39-22.

While Jack McClinton led the team with seven points in the first half, the remaining four starters combined to score three points on 1 of 9 shooting. Starting point guard Anthony Harris' continued inconsistent play hit a miserable low Monday night as he took no shots in the first half and didn't score and had only one assist.

In fact, Harris finished the game with zero points on 0 of 3 shooting.

"We got one point between three starters," Haith said. "There will be changes."

Denis Clemente and Dwayne Collins could very well be those changes as they provided a bit of a spark off the bench both scoring six points on a combined 6 of 10 shooting. They both started in the second half with Jimmy Graham and Harris finding the bench.

But what continues to plague the ‘Canes is its rather shoddy defense, especially against teams that can shoot the ball from long range.

"We gotta force people to miss shots," Haith said. "They were very aggressive and demonstrative in how they played. It was like a backyard butt whipping there."

Hitting 7 of 16 from three-point range in the first half, the Bulldogs seemingly always found open shots while Hurricanes defenders watched them take shots.

Miami didn't just go away as they fought back going on a 16-3 run at the start of the second half to cut the lead to 44-38, but the Bulldogs drained a pair of three pointers to push the lead back to 52-38.

Collins and Clemente sparked the run pushing the ball up the court and McClinton scored seven points during the run, but the whole was simply too big for the ‘Canes to climb out of.

"Dwayne played great," Haith said. "He played 29 minutes tonight. We gotta play him and I am going to play him.

"Denis also played very well," Haith said. "He plays real hard. We just have to keep working with Denis."

Collins finished with 14 points, six rebounds and five blocks, and Clemente had six points and four assists. Brian Asbury also pitched in with 14 points, but he struggled from the field going 5 of 13 and 2 of 9 from three-point range.

McClinton also had one of the few off nights of this young season as he finished with only 16 points on 6 of 15 shooting.

"Jack had one of those off nights," Haith said. "But we gotta find other guys to go with him."

And it needs to happen soon or it could make for a long season.

Miami (6-4) – McClinton 16, Collins 14, Asbury 14, Clemente 6, Hicks 1, Nass 1.

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

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