Harris Scores 33, Miami Defeats UMass

Playing the best game of his life senior point guard Anthony Harris scored a career high 33 points as the University of Miami pulled off a much needed upset road win 72-71 over UMass in Amherst, Massachusetts, Tuesday night.

The win broke Miami's three-game losing streak and improved the Hurricanes to 8-7 on the season while UMass fell to 10-4.

Rejoining the lineup after missing a game with a bum knee, Jack McClinton added 15 points, but it was Harris, who had struggled all season long who came up with the marquee performance.

His three-point shot which had been missing much of the year came back as he nailed four three-pointer en route to a 13 of 19 night from the field as the ‘Canes controlled the game.

Leading by as many as eight points with just under seven minutes to play, the Minutemen cut the ‘Canes lead to two at 70-68, but could get not closer than the final score on a three-pointer at the buzzer.

Denis Clemente pitched in with 11 points, but Harris stole the show.

However, unlike previous games when Miami fell behind only to put to sleep, the ‘Canes battled. Although jumping out to an early 8-3 lead, the ‘Canes were outscored 21-6 over the next nine minutes when Gary Forbes hit a lay up giving UMass a 23-14 lead with 7:34 to play in the first half.

Forbes and Rashaun Freeman led UMass both had 16 points for the Minutemen.

The ‘Canes responded with a 16-6 run of their own and took a 30-29 lead with 3:01 to play in the first half before heading into the break trailing 34-32.

With the game going back and forth in early minutes of the second half, the ‘Canes made their charge midway through the second half.

Locked in a 56-56 tie with 10:47 to play, Harris scored five of the ‘Canes next nine points as Miami went on a 9-1 run giving it a 65-57 lead with 6:45 to play.

UMass' James Life cut the lead to 70-68 with 1:21 to play, but Dwayne Collins and Brian Asbury both knocked down free throws giving the ‘Canes a four point lead.

Miami (8-7) – Harris 33, McClinton 15, Clemente 11, Copeland 5, Collins 5, Hicks 2, Asbury 1.

New and Notes – Clearly trying something new, Frank Haith inserted seldom used walk-on reserve Keaton Copeland in the starting line up. Copeland played a career high 19 minutes and scored 5 points, grabbed 3 rebounds and had 2 blocks before fouling out.

Jimmy Graham played only 6 minutes and didn't score or grab a rebound while Fabio Nass played only 3 minutes grabbing one rebound.

Brian Asbury played his worst game of the season going 0 for 5 from the field, scoring only one point and grabbing 2 rebounds.

It was the Anthony Harris party though. His 33 points were easily a career high and he showed the confidence he possessed as a sophomore. With Anthony King out of the line up indefinitely, Harris' production is essential and would prove vital as Miami enters its ACC schedule with a home game against Wake Forest Saturday.

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

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