Miami knocks off Hawaii in first round of Diamond Head Classic
HONOLULU (AP) — Miami turned up the pressure in the second half to turn away Hawaii and remain unbeaten.
Ja’Quan Newton and Dewan Huell scored 16 points apiece and the No. 6 Hurricanes pulled away for a 75-57 victory Friday night in a first-round game of the Diamond Head Classic.
Anthony Lawrence II added 11 for the Hurricanes (10-0), who outscored the Rainbow Warriors (7-3) 42-24 in the second half.
Miami shot 69.6 percent from the field in the second half. It took the lead for good on Newton’s fall-away 10-footer that put his team ahead 40-38 with 16:40 to play.
The Hurricanes went on an 11-1 run to take a 48-39 lead following Bruce Brown Jr.’s straightaway 3-pointer and capped a 9-0 run a few minutes later with Lonnie Walker IV’s layup off an assist from Brown that stretched their lead to 57-44.
“I thought our defense created that. We got some stops and then got some baskets in the open court,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said of his team’s second-half runs.
Miami, one of four remaining undefeated teams in the country, led by as many as 20 points late in the second half.
“Give them credit. They showed why they’re a good team,” Hawaii coach Eran Ganot said. “I’m disappointed in our defensive effort in the second half. I think they made some changes to take us out of our offensive rhythm, which kind of carried over into our defensive half . They dictated the game in the second half. It wasn’t even close.”
Sheriff Drammeh had 17 points and Leland Green added 10 for the Rainbow Warriors, who committed 16 turnovers — eight in each half.
The score was tied at 33 at halftime. There were eight ties and 12 lead changes.
Miami: After allowing the Rainbow Warriors to shoot 45.8 percent from the field in the first half, the Hurricanes clamped down on the defensive end after intermission. Hawaii was just 10 of 26 on field goals (38.5 percent) in the second half and finished with at 42 percent for the game.
Hawaii: The Rainbow Warriors fell to 19-105 against ranked opponents, including a 3-42 mark against top-10 teams. They are 10-12 in Diamond Head Classic games and 3-6 in tournament openers. Their seventh-place finish last year was their lowest in the nine-year history of the eight-team tournament.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
The Hurricanes dominated the interior, outscoring the Rainbow Warriors 44-20 in the paint. Huell, a 6-foot-11 sophomore forward, shot 7 of 10 from the field and grabbed a team-high six rebounds.
“For sure, we were just trying to get it down low to the big men, so they could work on the blocks and score in the post,” Newton said.
Hawaii took its first lead with 11:53 left in the first half in wild fashion. Brocke Stepteau nearly lost the dribble a few times while dribbling across the lane, but managed to get off a pass to Jack Purchase, who, in one motion, caught and redirected a one-handed, behind-the-back pass to Drew Buggs on the left wing. Buggs then lined up and hit a 3-pointer to put Hawaii ahead, 13-12.
Miami: The Hurricanes have eclipsed the 70-point plateau in seven of their 10 games and have held opponents to fewer than 60 points eight times this season. They improved to 76-9 when holding teams under the threshold under Larranaga.
Hawaii: Purchase, a 6-foot-9 junior forward, came off the bench and made an instant impact in the first half, when he hit a pair of 3-pointers and grabbed eight rebounds. However, he added just three points and four rebounds after halftime.
LATE START TIME
The game, the last of four quarterfinals Friday, tipped off at approximately 1:25 a.m. Eastern time, but Newton said it wasn’t an issue.
“I don’t think so because we’re the type of guys that are up all times of the night sometimes, so sometimes though we’d die to play in games like this,” Newtown said.
It was a different story for his coach, however.
“I don’t think it affected our players, but it sure affected me. I’m exhausted right now. I’d like to be in bed and asleep,” Larranaga said.
Miami will play New Mexico State in a championship semifinal Saturday.
Hawaii, which had its three-game win streak snapped, will meet Davidson in a consolation semifinal Saturday.
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