Miami surges late to cruise past Penn
CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Ja’Quan Newton shook off his first half shooting woes and helped lead Miami to another early-season win.
Newton scored 16 of his game-high 18 points in the second half as the Hurricanes defeated Penn, 74-62, on Saturday afternoon.
"My approach was the same way as the first half," Newton said. "Unfortunately, I wasn’t making any shots in the first half. I just wanted to take better shots in the second half, open shots to get me going."
After shooting 1 of 8 from the field in the first half, Newton converted five of his eight attempts and five-of-six free throws in the second half.
The Hurricanes (3-0) were never threatened after a 16-3 run midway through the second half. Consecutive 3-pointers from D.J. Valsijevic and Bruce Brown capped the surge and increased Miami’s lead to 59-38 with 10:28 remaining in the half.
"That was definitely the tale of two halves," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. "In the first half we were challenging the defense rather than attacking and sharing the ball. I tried to explain to the team at halftime we weren’t finding the open man."
Brown finished with 15 points and Davon Reed, Valsijevic and Dewan Huell scored 11 points each for the Hurricanes, who experienced their first deficit of the season when the Quakers ran off eight unanswered points for an 8-4 lead early in the game. Miami opened the season with lopsided victories over Western Carolina and North Florida.
"It was good for us," Larranaga said of Penn’s early lead. "It was a good challenge – a very different kind of team. You can see how they move on offense. They really share the ball.
"Playing a team like that is very different than playing the teams we’ve played so far and even some of the team’s we’re going to play a little later on in the season."
A.J. Brodeur scored 16 points to lead the Quakers (1-1). Caleb Wood shot 4-of-5 from the field and was Penn’s second double figure scorer with 11 points.
"I liked how we competed, particularly in the first half," Penn coach Steve Donahue said. "We got very casual during that stretch with the ball that they made that big run put it up by 20. But besides that I thought we competed."
STARTER SIDELINED: Miami sophomore center Ebuka Izundu sat out Saturday’s game because of a sprain to his lower left extremity he suffered in Miami’s victory over North Florida on Wednesday. Larranaga said he will know better on Izundu’s status Monday.
ROOKIE CONTRIBUTIONS: Huell and Valsijevic continue to contribute offensively. The freshmen have scored in double figures in Miami’s first three games.
Miami: junior guard Rashad Muhammad served the final game of his three-game suspension because of a violation of team rules. Muhammad played his first two seasons at San Jose State and sat out the 2015-16 season in compliance with transfer rules.
Penn: the Quakers are 65-95 all-time against ACC schools. Saturday’s game was Penn’s first against a school from the conference since its 85-55 loss against Duke on January 1, 2012. The Quakers’ last victory against an ACC opponent was their 79-74 victory over Georgia Tech November 19, 2001.
Miami: the Hurricanes will face Stanford in the first round of the AdvoCare Invitational Thanksgiving Day in Orlando. Tip-off is at 2:30 p.m. Miami and Stanford previously met in the 2015 NIT Championship, which the Cardinal won, 66-64, in overtime.
Penn: the Quakers continue their heavy early-season road schedule against Central Connecticut State Tuesday night. Penn’s first four games are on the road before their home opener against defending national champion Villanova Nov. 29 at the Palestra.
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- Ja'Quan Newton
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