Preview: Miami tries to run win streak vs. Boston College to 13 games
BOSTON — No. 25 Miami carries a three-game winning streak into Chestnut Hill for Saturday’s ACC game against Boston College.
And the Hurricanes, who have climbed back into the Top 25 after falling out of the rankings, have won all three of those games without important cog Bruce Brown Jr.
Brown, a Boston native who would have played in front of family and friends at BC, was expected to miss six weeks with a left foot injury. He was second on the team in scoring when he went down (he’s third now), averaging 11.4 points, 7.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.3 steals. He is averaging a team-high 33.7 minutes.
“When somebody goes down, I’m confident that my guys will step up,” senior guard Ja’Quan Newton said after the Canes (18-5, 7-4 ACC) defeated Wake Forest on Wednesday night — their fifth win in the last six games.
Miami went 9 of 22 from 3-point range in their most recent step toward the NCAA Tournament. Freshman Lonnie Walker IV scored 19 points, Newton chipped in with 16 in 28 minutes off the bench and freshman point guard Chris Lykes, in his third college start, posting 13 points and five assists.
“Chris gave us a huge, huge lift, pressuring the ball,” associate head coach said Chris Caputo told the Miami Herald. “The biggest thing we’ve told him is ‘Continue to be a pest.’ A lot of times guys with that size, they’re either a tremendous pest or a liability. He’s been a pest for us, sometimes throughout the game, and it’s been a big thing for us.”
Boston College (14-10, 4-7) got 46 points from Jerome Robinson but lost at Notre Dame on Tuesday night. The Eagles have lost four of their last five games but they defeated then-No. 1 Duke back on Dec. 9.
Miami comes into this game with 12 straight wins over BC, with the Eagles’ last home victory coming in 2009. The teams meet again, at Miami on Feb. 24.
Robinson tied the second-highest point total in school history, matching the 46 scored by Tyrese Rice in March 2008 — also in a loss. The 46 points set a record for an opponent at Purcell Pavilion, beating the 40 scored by West Virginia’s Lowes Moore in 1978.
“He was unbelievable,” Notre Dame coach Mike Brey said of Robinson, the ACC’s top scorer in league play. “Rex (Pflueger) is our best defender, and then we also had T.J. on him and we tried to double every ball screen, and then he posted us, but how do you escape that? Just score (96 points).”
The four league wins are two more than BC recorded last season — and four more than the winless year before that.
“We played well enough in November, December and January to make these games important,” Eagles coach Jim Christian said. “This is what the season is all about. This is what you play for.”
Newton has adjusted to coming off Miami’s bench and said he “kind of likes it.”
“I was struggling early in the year, but good players don’t stay in slumps for long,” he said. “I’ve been putting in extra work in the gym, before and after practice, and it’s paying off. Coaches told me to just enjoy myself, cheer for everyone off the bench, and just do the extra stuff. … I’m being more aggressive, looking in the mirror and getting back to what I’ve done my whole life.”