Canes No Match for Duke

For a half with half a healthy roster, the University of Miami men's basketball team hung with No. 11 Duke at the BankUnited Center Sunday evening, but the depleted ‘Canes faded down the stretch as Miami lost to Duke 85-63 in front of a near capacity crowd.

The fact that Miami was even in the game was remarkable in itself as Duke shot 81% from the field in the first half missing only four of its 21 first half shots. The Blue Devils shot eight three pointers in the first half hitting six making the shooting percentage even more remarkable considering it's tough to shoot 81% in warm ups or against air.

Nonetheless, Miami trailed only 49-40 going into the break as the ‘Canes shot a blistering 56% from the field themselves. However, the ‘Canes simply couldn't sustain the pace, especially with starting shooting guard Jack McClinton continuing to struggle badly from the floor.

Clearly pressing, McClinton turned the ball over early an often, forced tough bad shots and simply was not in the flow of the game throughout. He finished the game 1 for 6 for five points and committed three turnovers.

"He (McClinton) has to be better at not forcing action and letting it come to him. I think he's dribbling a lot and trying to be too creative," UM coach Frank Haith said.

It certainly didn't help that now added to the out for the year list with an injury is Jimmy Graham who broke his hand against Maryland. He joins Anthony King and Adrian Thomas who were already lost for the season earlier this year.

The bad new just continues to get worse though as Haith announced that Anthony Harris might be out for a few games following a calf injury. At this point, the ‘Canes only have eight scholarship players healthy (Denis Clemente, Brian Asbury, Ray Hicks, James Dews, Fabio Nass, Dwayne Collins, Jack McClinton and Lawrence Gilbert). The remainder are walk-ons.

Duke, which entered the game as the ACC's lowest scoring team, found the basket easily knocking down 17 of 21 shots in the first half en route to the blistering pace. They shot 55% from the field in the second half and finished the game shooting a ridiculous 68% from the field.

"They made it difficult on us when they spread it out, put it in the post and the kicked out. Their guys were making shots," Haith said.

Down only nine at the break though, Duke blitzed the ‘Canes to start the second half as the Blue Devils went on a 17-4 run taking a 66-44 lead with 14:12 to play. Freshman Jon Scheyer led Duke with 25 points and was a perfect 11 of 11 from the free throw line.

The game never got closer than 15 the rest of the way when Denis Clemente's bucket cut the lead to 77-62 with 3:24 to play.

On a positive note, Brian Asbury played a very good game leading the team with 19 points on 6 of 10 shooting. Harris added 14 points, but that was about all Miami could smile about following the loss.

They were outrebounded 32-16 mostly because Duke shot the ball so well. There simply were rebounds to be had by the ‘Canes.

Miami (9-9, 2-2) – Asbury 19, Harris 14, Clemente 9, Copeland 8, Collins 6, McClinton 5, Nass 2.

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

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