Miami vs Stephen F. Austin Game Preview

Miami vs Stephen F. Austin Game Preview

CORAL GABLES, FL -- The Miami Hurricanes (1-0) welcome the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks (2-0) to the Watsco Center Tuesday for a nonconference showdown.

Miami opened their season Friday night with a relatively drama free 83-62 victory over the Lehigh Mountain Hawks, and will now turn their attention to the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks, who needed a last second free throw to knock off the NAIA’s Southwest Assemblies of God.

While the Lumberjacks have been less than convincing in their two wins over NAIA competition this season, they can still be dangerous, as they return senior Shannon Bogues and junior Kevon Harris, the two leading scorers from a team that took Texas Tech to the wire in the first round of the NCAA Tournament last year. In two games this season, Bogues is averaging 15.5 points per game, while Harris is averaging 14.

While the strength of the Lumberjacks rests in their guard play, so does the strength of the Hurricanes. In Friday’s victory over Lehigh, Chris Lykes, Dejan Vasiljevic, and Anthony Lawrence combined for 57 of the Canes 83 points. With Dewan Hernandez expected to be sidelined yet again while the school and the NCAA review his eligibility, it will fall to the guards and big man Ebuka Izundu to lead the charge for the Canes.

While Bogues and Harris could cause some problems on the perimeter, the Lumberjacks don’t have an inside presence that can contend with Izundu’s size. Izundu, and the rest of the Canes, will still need to be better on the glass than they were on Friday to ensure some confidence moving forward. Against an undersized Lehigh team, the Canes gave up an inexcusable 13 offensive boards.

The Canes will also expect a much better performance from senior transfer Zach Johnson, who looked sloppy in his first game for the Canes. Johnson comes over from an FGCU team that averaged 81 points per game last season, and it was clear from the start that it was going to take him some time to adjust to Larranaga’s preferred pace of play. Johnson recorded 5 points and 3 assists, but also turned the ball over 4 times. Now that the first game jitters are behind him, Miami hopes that he can settle in and become a major contributor moving forward.

Unfortunately, the Canes once again find themselves with an investigative distraction and playing without one of their best players, something that has become far too common for this program. But with an easy early season schedule, the Canes shouldn’t have any trouble navigating a few games without Hernandez. Of course, they would still like to see him on the court sooner rather than later.

Expect the Lumberjacks to give the Canes everything they have, but for the Canes to pull away in the 2nd half and win big in this one.

The tip is set for 7:00pm and will be televised on ESPNU.

Comments (2)

Unfortunately, we have 3 players out with injuries and they were crucial to our defense.
Unfortunately, we have 3 players out with injuries and they were crucial to our defense.
No doubt, this is not the SFA team we're going to see come March. Just happy to see Miami do what they were supposed to against a shorthanded tourney team.