CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Kenny Kadji scored 30 points to lead Miami past North Carolina-Greensboro 99-89 Monday night.
The Hurricanes (9-4) withstood an upset bid by the Spartans, who have lost 10 straight and are 0-5 under interim coach Wes Miller.
UNC Greensboro (2-13) cut a 93-80 deficit with seven unanswered points late in the second half. David Williams’ layup with 1:36 remaining got the Spartans to within 93-87.
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Durand Scott secured the Miami win with four free throws, finishing with 17 points.
“This was one of those games that it was more of a shootout,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “We certainly want to play a lot better defense than we played this evening.”
Shane Larkin scored 12 consecutive points during a 1:27 span that helped the Hurricanes rally from a seven-point deficit early in the second half. Larkin hit three 3-pointers and converted three free throws after being fouled on an attempted 3-pointer with 13:54 remaining. Larkin’s free throws put Miami ahead for good at 68-67.
“My teammates did a great job of finding me open and I just hit my shots,” said Larkin, who finished 18 points, 14 in the second half. “I’ve always had the confidence in my game. I just have to be more aggressive for a full game.”
Trevis Simpson scored 36 points to lead UNC Greensboro. Simpson shot 12 of 20 from the field and made 7 of 11 3-pointers.
“I’m really proud that our guys came into their gym and competed,” Miller said. “I think for us moving forward is getting better on the defensive end of the floor.”
Rion Brown’s 3-pointer with 10:38 remaining increased Miami’s lead to 79-72. Trey McKinney Jones’ two free throws with 6:30 left gave the Hurricanes an 86-76 lead for their first double-digit advantage since midway through the first half.
The Spartans started the second half on a 7-0 run. Simpson’s 3-pointer 1:43 into the second half capped the run and gave UNC Greensboro a 56-49 lead.
Simpson scored 24 points in the first half and converted 5 of 7 shots from behind the arc. Simpson’s final 3-pointer of the half turned into a four-point play. McKinney Jones fouled him on the shot and Simpson converted the free throw to give the Spartans a 46-41 lead with 2:51 remaining.
Kadji scored Miami’s final 10 points of the half and his short jumper tied it at 49 with 26 seconds left.
“We just wanted to stay in the game and stay focused,” said Kadji, who scored 23 points in the first half. “You had to be mentally tough.”
Malcolm Grant, the Hurricanes’ leading scorer, returned after a two-game absence and scored eight points. Grant, who averages 15 points a game, left the team for two weeks because of a death in the family.