Better ball movement helps Hurricanes beat Wofford 74-57

MIAMI (AP) — Coach Jim Larranaga wanted more assists and fewer turnovers from his Miami Hurricanes, and they accomplished half of that assignment Saturday, which was enough to beat Wofford.

The Hurricanes tied their season high with 15 assists, which helped them overcome 16 turnovers and win 74-57 in the HoopHall Miami Invitational.

Those statistics have been substandard this season while the young Hurricanes develop cohension, Larranaga said.

“Almost every guy on the team has a new role from last year,” he said. “We wanted to create more assists with fewer turnovers. We got the assists; we still have too many turnovers.”

Junior Ja’Quan Newton totaled a career-high nine assists to go with 15 points for the Hurricanes (6-2). Senior forward Kamari Murphy had a career-high 14 points, often thanks to good passes from the perimeter.

“This last week coach L emphasized ball movement and everybody getting touches,” Murphy said. “We showed that today. My teammates did a great job finding me off the rolls on the baseline so I could finish.”

Davon Reed added 13 points for Miami, and freshman Bruce Brown had 12 points and three steals while playing 37 minutes.

“Another fine Hurricanes team,” Wofford coach Mike Young said. “We had our moments and made them work and made them guard some things that maybe they haven’t guarded this season. But coach Larranaga has another quality team.

“As so oftentimes happens in games like this, the bigger, stronger athletes ultimately get the best of you, and I thought that’s what happened. Just not enough good things to make it even more interesting.”

Cameron Jackson came off the bench and had 16 points and four steals in 15 minutes for Wofford (2-6).

Miami shot 50 percent from the field, including 7 for 15 from 3-point range, and went 19 for 21 from the free throw line.

“It’s still early in the season,” Murphy said. “Everybody’s learning each other, and we’re still learning what offense best fits us. We’ve always had the defensive intensity so we’re just finding our offense — where guys like it, where guys like to be on the court. When we have great ball movement and flow, this is the type of result you’re going to get.”

RUNS

The Hurricanes raced to leads of 17-4 and 24-6. The margin was 32-15 when Wofford mounted a comeback.

Miami went without a field goal for the first seven minutes of the second half, allowing Wofford to close to within five points. Dejan Vasiljevic and Brown then sank consecutive 3-pointers, and Miami was never again threatened.

“We came out a little flat the second half,” Newton said. “Coach L called a timeout and we had to regroup. Once we got ourselves together and got the defensive stops that we needed, we just started running our offense again.”

SMALL TURNOUT

The stands were mostly empty at the Miami Heat’s arena, but the crowd did include Heat president Pat Riley and owner Micky Arison. Announced attendance was 4,885.

Illinois beat VCU 64-46 in the opening game.

BIG PICTURE

Wofford: They Terriers have lost to Louisiana State, Colorado and Miami by a combined 54 points.

Miami: The Hurricanes count rebounding as a strength, and they outrebounded Wofford 35-24. Murphy had 10 and was chosen the game’s most valuable player.

UP NEXT

Wofford: The Terriers play host to Virginia Wise on Tuesday.

Miami: The Hurricanes, who play all six December games in South Florida, face South Carolina State on Tuesday.

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