Canes looking for turnaround

Looking ahead to two road games after the win at home over Virginia Tech, Miami coach Frank Haith expressed confidence that he had a team that is capable of winning on the road.


It won twice on an opponent's court and three times at a neutral site in nonconference play.

But the Hurricanes have yet to back up Haith's faith now that ACC play has begun.

The Hurricanes remained winless in five conference games on the road after their loss at Wake Forest, and the bad news is they have yet another road test coming up before getting back to Coral Gables.

They are at Florida State on Feb. 6 for their sixth road game in their first nine league outings.

They have fallen to 2-6 in conference play, which, Haith is quick to point out, is the same record they had two years ago at this point of their conference schedule.

The 2007-08 Miami team recovered to win six of its last eight games plus one in the ACC Tournament to gain the school's first NCAA bid in six years.

But that team at least was competitive away from home with one of its early league losses coming in overtime and another by only two points. It then won two in a row on the road to get its late surge going.

The current Hurricanes simply don't look ready for a similar turnaround at this point.

They haven't led at any time in their last four road losses and have trailed by double-digits in all four contests, including an embarrassing 35-point margin at Virginia Tech.

The Hurricanes lost by only a point at Boston College back in December, but a nine-point setback at Wake Forest is the closest they have come to a road win in January.

In addition to the game at Tallahassee in their next outing, the Hurricanes are back on the road again at Clemson on Feb. 13 after playing host to Georgia Tech on Feb. 10.

They finish with four of their last five games at home, but by then they may have dug themselves too deep of a hole to climb out of.

WAKE FOREST 62, MIAMI 53: Once again the Hurricanes were slow out of the gate and trailed the entire game, thanks to poor shooting (16 of 54) and careless turnovers (18 total).

But unlike in their previous road losses, they managed to make a game of it when Wake Forest struggled with poor shooting (40.9 percent) and turnovers (16) as well.

The Hurricanes recovered from a 17-point deficit late in the first half to move within nine points at the halftime break and eventually worked their way to within three points at 55-52 on a 3-pointer by freshman Garrius Adams late in the game.

But Durand Scott's free throw, which made it 57-53 with just over four minutes left, was their final point of the night. The Hurricanes missed their final eight field-goal attempts.

The Deacons weren't exactly pulling away at the end but did manage to put the game away with five free throws over the last two minutes.

--Miami shot a season-high 63.2 percent from the field against Virginia Tech, opening by going 14 of 20 (70 percent) in the first half. "If we didn't turn the ball over, we had a nice rhythm going offensively," coach Frank Haith said. "We shared the ball very well -- 17 assists. We'll take that any night."

--F Dwayne Collins has been bothered by a sore back recently, but the main thing for him is learning how to deal with the double- and triple-teams he likely will be facing from here on out. Collins had only seven points and four rebounds and turned the ball over four times against Virginia Tech on Jan. 31. He played 28 minutes but wasn't on the floor from the final 6:28 of the game.

ON THE SPOT: Miami's shooting on the road remains a major problem. The Hurricanes shot a season-low 29.6 percent at Wake Forest after shooting a season-high 63.2 percent in their previous game, a win over Virginia Tech at home.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "I really believe this team is very capable to win basketball games on the road in this league." -- Coach Frank Haith, whose Hurricanes are winless on the road in league play, with their next two games (Wake Forest and Florida State) away from home.

SEASON RECAP: Miami snapped a four-game losing streak with its victory over Virginia Tech, improving to 2-5 in the ACC and 16-5 overall. Coach Frank Haith notes that two years ago the Hurricanes started out 2-6 in league play but finished strong and made the NCAA Tournament.

PLAYER ROTATION: Usual Starters -- F Dwayne Collins, F Adrian Thomas, C Reggie Johnson, G Durand Scott, G James Dews. G Key Subs -- F Cyrus McGown, F DeQuan Jones, G Garrius Adams, G Malcolm Grant.

Boston College 79, Miami 75 Maryland 81, Miami 59 Miami 82, Virginia Tech 75 Wake Forest 62, Miami 53

at Florida State, Saturday, Feb. 6
vs. Georgia Tech, Wednesday, Feb. 10
at Clemson, Saturday, Feb. 13
vs. Duke, Wednesday, Feb. 17

IN FOCUS: The Hurricanes remained winless in five conference games on the road after their loss at Wake Forest. The bad news is they are at Florida State on Feb. 6 for their sixth road game in their first nine league outings.

--Freshman G Garrius Adams had his biggest game to date, scoring a game-high 13 points on four of eight shooting from the field against Wake Forest. He was 3-for-5 on 3-pointers, made both of his free-throw attempts, and had a steal in 25 minutes, his longest stint to date. It was his first time in double figures since getting 10 points against Nova Southeastern in the second game of the season.
--F Dwayne Collins, who had 23 points and 11 rebounds when the Hurricanes beat the Deacons at home, had only five points and two rebounds in the rematch. He also had five turnovers, giving him nine in the last two games.
--G James Dews was the only starter in double figures against Wake, but he didn't exactly light it up. He was only 3-for-10 from the field on his way to 10 points.

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