Big Win on Big Monday

Big Win on Big Monday

Aaron Brecheisen
SOUTH BEND, IND. -- Miami (19-8, 8-7 ACC) breaks a three-game losing streak with a big win on the road against Notre Dame (16-12, 6-9 ACC), 77-74, at the Purcell Pavilion on Monday. Freshman guard Lonnie Walker IV led all scorers with 19 points (5/7 3FG).

After averaging 83.0 points per game in winning five of six games, Miami had struggled offensively, scoring 58.3 points per game and shooting 38 percent during its three-game losing streak. Due to the team’s struggles, head coach Jim Larrañaga switched up the starting lineup tonight. Sophomore guard DJ Vasiljevic and freshman Chris Lykes had started the past six games, but Larrañaga decided to go with a different look against the Irish. Senior guard Ja’Quan Newton entered the starting lineup for the first time since Bruce Brown’s injury on January 27, and junior center Ebuka Izundu got his first start of the season. The move for Larrañaga paid dividends.

Izundu made the most of his opportunity by having his best game of the season with a career-high 26 minutes played, 14 points (12 in the second half), eight rebounds, three steals and two blocks, including the biggest play of the game where he grabbed a huge offensive rebound on a miss by Newton, got fouled and made the put back to extend the Canes lead to five with nine seconds left. “My mind was set to just come out and execute,” Izundu said after the game.

Newton was brought back into the starting lineup to help lockdown Notre Dame’s perimeter offense. The Irish had made 10+ three-point field goals in its past four games, but was held to only seven-made three-pointers tonight. More specifically he was able contain senior guard Matt Farrell, the ACC leader in 3FGM per game, to 16 points. Farrell was coming off a 37-point effort on Saturday against Boston College, where he shot 10-for-12 from behind the arc. Newton was also able to pitch in a dozen points of his own on the offensive end.

The Hurricanes got off to a quick start with Walker IV making his first three shots from the field. After a 9-0 run early in the first half, Miami’s offensively hit a wall, going 6:48 without a field goal leading to a Notre Dame 12-1 run of their own. Lykes then entered the game for the first time off the bench and was able to spark a rally to help lead the Canes to a 21-9 run to end the half, capped by a Walker IV 3-pointer from the corner at the buzzer, giving Miami a nine point halftime lead, 38-29.

After having the momentum heading into halftime, Miami came out in the second half sluggish on the defensive end. Notre Dame had tied their first half point total (29) with 9:31 left to play in the game, making 14 of their first 19 shots, but then the Canes’ defense got back to their first half ways. They were able to hold the Irish to only 14 points the rest of the game, which included a 5:20 streak where ND was held without a field goal.

Near the end of the game, the Irish were able to cut the lead to just two, 72-70, on a Farrell 3-pointer with 1:09 remaining, but in the following possession, Newton split a trap at half court and found junior guard Anthony Lawrence II for a layup and a foul with 47.4 seconds left. Lawrence II hit the free throw and gave the Canes a 75-70 lead. After a pair of Notre Dame free throws, Miami ran the shot clock down before Newton’s missed jumper that led to Izundu’s rebound and put back to seal the game.

Lawrence II finished the game with a seven points, six rebounds and dished out six assists.

Both teams shot the ball well. Miami hit 31-of-58 (53.4%) from the field, while Notre Dame shot 28-of-53 (52.8%), including 60.7 percent in the second half.

Miami entered the game as an 8-seed for the NCAA Tournament according to ESPN’s Bracketology expert Joe Lunardi and is expected to stay in that spot after the win. With three games remaining (vs. Boston College, at No. 14 North Carolina, vs. Virginia Tech) and an opportunity for more marquee wins in the ACC Tournament, the Hurricanes are back to being in a solid spot to make the tournament as long as they can avoid any hiccups.

The Hurricanes are back in action on Saturday as they host Boston College at the Watsco Center for a 2 p.m. tip.

Comments (10)

For those wondering, Aaron is one of our new hires on the CIS writing staff and will be covering basketball. He wrote up the game preview for the Syracuse game this past weekend too. Way to hop right in, Aaron!
Good write up very positive. This team still has issues. Point guard play is awful fouling with 3 seconds left by Newton a horrific mistake. The team just can't seem to put a team away. This team just seems to lack chemistry
Huge win. A loss last night and we'd suddenly be in bubble trouble.
For those wondering, Aaron is one of our new hires on the CIS writing staff and will be covering basketball. He wrote up the game preview for the Syracuse game this past weekend too. Way to hop right in, Aaron!

Good to see. Any chance baseball gets some coverage over here?

Good stuff. Appreciate it. When Walker is the alpha on the court we win games. It's that simple.