The #3 Miami Hurricanes avoided an upset on a day full of them with a 79-72 win over the #14 Buffalo Bulls on Thursday.
Miami went into the locker room at the half with a slim two-point lead. The 35-33 score was an eye-opening moment for UM. Earlier in the day, two #5 seeds were knocked out by hungry #12 teams, and the Canes undoubtedly felt some heat from Buffalo.
Buffalo shot only 30% from the field in the first half, but it was enough because five of those makes were from three-point land. In comparison, Miami shot 44% in the first half but had only one trey. The Bulls were able to stay right in the game with their talent from deep, and their at-times reckless approach to attempting long-range shots.
To their credit, the Hurricanes came out of the back in the second half with a strong performance. Miami clearly tried to not underestimate the talent and desire of the Bulls in the second half of play, and the results show in the final score. The Hurricanes more closely resembled the team that was seen all year long during the second half.
While Buffalo continued to throw up numerous three-pointers, Miami waited for defensive rebounds and ran plays down the court. By the time, the game reached the mark of ten minutes remaining, UM held a seven-point lead.
Angel Rodriguez made it clear that he didn't want his career at UM to come to an end. The senior had 24 points, seven rebounds and three steals. Rodriguez would make multiple big shots down the stretch to help Miami extend its lead.
Sheldon McClellan also showed that he wanted his work at UM to continue. McClellan who is also a senior led Miami in scoring in the first half and ended up with 20 points overall.
Miami will next face the winner of Thursday evening's late game between Arizona (6) and Wichita State (11).