Savannah St.-Miami Preview

BY foxsports • December 7, 2014

Miami isn't likely to make the same mistake after some complacency may have taken hold during its best start in five years.

The 20th-ranked Hurricanes look to regain some swagger and bounce back from their first loss Monday night when they take on a Savannah State team trying to avoid its seventh straight road defeat.

Miami (8-1) cruised to eight consecutive victories by an average of 16 points - including a pair against ranked opponents - for its best start since 2009 heading into Saturday's matchup with Green Bay.

The Hurricanes, though, failed to extend the run with a 68-55 home loss that likely ruined the program's highest ranking this early in a season. They shot a season-worst 32.8 percent, were outrebounded 46-37 and scuffled late defensively.

"We didn't come out with a chip on our shoulder like we did coming into the season," leading scorer Sheldon McClellan said. "We're not the underdog anymore. Everybody wants to beat us. Everybody is going to bring their A game."

McClellan and reserve Deandre Burnett did their part Saturday with a combined 36 points. McClellan has averaged 19.5 while shooting 59.2 percent over his last four games, while Burnett has totaled 39 in his past two.

The other half of Miami's highly touted guard rotation didn't fare as well. Angel Rodriguez scored 12 on 2-of-15 shooting, while Manu Lecomte was held scoreless (0 for 2) after averaging 15.5 points over his previous four games.

Sophomore Davon Reed may be able to provide another threat in the backcourt after playing eight minutes in his first game since missing the first eight with a knee injury.

The Hurricanes have shot 35.3 percent over their last two games after hitting 50 percent or better in four straight. They've also gone 14 for 50 (28.0) from 3-point range in those two since hitting 47.0 percent over their previous six.

"We got complacent," Burnett said after Miami's fourth of five straight home games. "They just played harder."

After having some trouble with Green Bay's zone defense, the Hurricanes could be facing a similar look against Savannah State, which consistently fell back into a 2-3 zone in Saturday's 95-49 loss at Indiana.

The Tigers (3-6) didn't have much success with that approach, however, allowing a season-worst 57.4 field-goal percentage and 10-of-21 shooting from 3-point range.

They also own a minus-7.6 rebounding margin over their last five games after getting beaten 42-24 on the glass Saturday.

Savannah State has lost by an average of 28.9 points during its season-opening road skid, including an 87-26 rout at No. 5 Louisville on Nov. 24 in its only meeting with a ranked opponent this season.

The Tigers have shot 32.1 percent overall and 13 of 64 from 3-point range in their last four on the road. They're also averaging 20.7 turnovers on the season.

Terel Hall, Saadig Muhammad, Javaris Jenkins and Alante Fenner are scoring between 8.9 and 9.4 points per game for Savannah State. Muhammad has totaled 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting in the last two.

"I just want these guys to get better," coach Horace Broadnax told the team's official website. "We just have to keep working and try to put a 40-minute game together against these type of (teams)."

Miami is 4-0 in the all-time series following a 68-51 road win in the most recent matchup Dec. 19, 2013.