Newton’s 18 helps No. 15 Miami beat Wake Forest 77-63

By STEVEN WINE
AP Sports Writer

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Miami Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga wanted his team to cheer up after a grueling stretch of three consecutive road games, so he played Pharrell Williams’ "Happy" for them before tipoff Saturday.

A couple of hours later, the 15th-ranked Hurricanes were indeed smiling after a late surge helped them beat Wake Forest 77-63.

Miami missed 11 layups and two dunks but pulled away by clamping down defensively and making 14 of 15 free throws in the final 10 minutes.

"You can’t control your makes or misses," guard Sheldon McClellan said. "You can control how you play defense. The momentum of stops helped us down the stretch."

The Hurricanes (15-3, 4-2 Atlantic Coast Conference) outscored the opposition by double figures for the 14th time. But they had lost two of three on their recent road stretch, so Larranaga tried to loosen up his team with music.

He played Bobby McFerrin’s "Don’t Worry, Be Happy" on Friday, and had his players laughing when he busted a move to "Happy" just before the game.

"We’re trying to encourage them," Larranaga said. "But they’re probably not happy until the game is over and they know they’ve won."

There were no postgame smiles for Wake Forest (10-9, 1-6), which shot 39 percent and lost its fourth straight.

"We have to be much better to win," coach Danny Manning said. "We know that the league that we play in, night in and night out, it’s going to be a beast."

Miami shot only 36 percent, way below its season average of 49, but went 24 for 28 (86 percent) from the free throw line, outscoring the Demon Deacons there by 13 points.

"The good news is we scored 77 points," Larranaga said of his team’s shooting woes. "We could have scored 90."

Ja’Quan Newton had 18 points to lead a strong effort by the Hurricanes’ bench. McClellan had 14 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals. Backcourt mate Angel Rodriguez added 14 points and five steals.

Newton played only 25 minutes, but his jumper with 9:36 left put the Hurricanes ahead to stay, 50-48. His three-point play during a 9-0 run helped Miami surge to a 65-51 lead.

"Miami stepped on the gas and created some separation from us, and we couldn’t keep up," Manning said.

Devin Thomas had 12 points and nine rebounds for Wake Forest. Bryant Crawford added 12 points and six assists, but also had six of the Deacons’ 16 turnovers.

The Hurricanes held their largest lead of the first half at 31-20 before Wake Forest outscored them 13-4 over the final 3 1/2 minutes to trail only 35-33 at halftime.

The Hurricanes didn’t panic. Maybe the music helped.

"It’s the mindset we need — be happy," Newton said.

DISAPPOINTING TURNOUT: Miami home games are sold out for the season, but there were plenty of empty seats for the noon start.

"Where were our students today? Sleeping in?" Larranaga asked.

TIP-INS

Wake Forest: The Deacons shot 6 for 18 from 3-point range. They had been 4 for 38 in the previous two games.

Miami: Newton shot 5 for 10 from the field and 7 for 9 from the line to help the Hurricanes’ bench outscored Wake Forest’s reserves 33-22.

UP NEXT

Wake Forest: hosts No. 13 Virginia on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The game had been scheduled for Monday but was postponed because of this weekend’s snowstorm. It will be Wake Forest’s third consecutive game against a ranked team.

Miami: hosts No. 20 Duke on Monday, but Larranaga wasn’t worried about his team looking past Wake Forest. "These guys know everybody in our league is good," he said.

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