You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks


Welcome to

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on

After quick start, Hurricanes fall apart, are bounced from NCAAs

The most succinct description of what happened in Tulsa on Friday night came from Michigan State coach Tom Izzo.

“They took it to us,” he said. “And after that first seven or eight minutes, we played some of the best basketball we’ve played not only this year but in a couple of years.”

That was more than enough to put Miami on the mat.

The Hurricanes had a rollicking start, looking at good as they have all season. At that point Izzo referenced, they began a stunning, dizzying descent.

The final result — a 78-58 loss to the Spartans in the first round of the NCAA Tournament — seemed like a given by halftime.

Miami, the No. 8 seed in the East region, ended its season with one-quarter of an outstanding game, and three-quarters of one of its worst games of the year. It was a wild swing in momentum, from all Canes to all Spartans.

From the opening tip — when Miami players excitedly clapped after drawing a foul in the first two seconds of the game — to the 12:16 mark, the Hurricanes did nearly everything right.

UM (21-12) scored the game’s first 10 points and went up 17-5 in the first 6:48, capped by a thunderous slam on the break by freshman Bruce Brown. Off a steal, he cocked his right arm behind his head and threw it down. With 12:16 left in the half, Michigan State had nearly as many turnovers (seven) as points (eight). The Hurricanes scored 10 of their first 17 points off Spartans miscues. The Canes had quick feet in their zone defense, leading to Sparty’s 5-for-17 shooting start.

“We were turning them over, getting out in transition and scoring easy buckets,” Brown said.

Jim Larranaga’s theory on the reversal was twofold.

After the first seven or eight minutes, Larranaga saw the Spartans attacking the zone, so he switched to man-to-man — and “they really carved us.” Freshman stars Nick Ward (19 points) and Miles Bridges (18) barrelled into the paint. The Spartans, who had 18 assists, kept finding the open man.

Larranaga switched back to zone in the second half, but it was too late. He admitted if he could have done it over, he would have stuck with the zone.

The other problem: Miami couldn’t score.

Miami’s ball-screen offense worked so well in the first 10 minutes, but Brown and Ja’Quan Newton and found it increasingly tough to enter the lane. That meant shooters Davon Reed (12 points), D.J. Vasiljevic (2) and Anthony Lawrence Jr. (3) couldn’t get open looks. UM was 4-of-16 from beyond the arc.

Miami lost the rebounding battle 36-23. No Hurricanes player finished with more than three. Kamari Murphy, UM’s leading rebounder who was playing the best ball over the last month, finished with two rebounds and missed all six shots he took.

“I just wasn’t there tonight,” Murphy said. “We’re all human. We’re all going to have those games. Kind of sad it happened the last game of my career.”

The Spartans (20-14), who will play top-seeded Kansas on Sunday, went on a 30-8 run to end the first half and led by as many as 23 in the second half. Their dominance can be explained in many ways, including this: The Hurricanes went up 19-8, and by the time Miami scored its next 19 points, the Spartans had scored 50.

“They killed us on the offensive backboards [17-6 second chance] and points in the paint [40-28],” Reed said.

“They were doing whatever they wanted and we were playing catch-up,” Murphy said.

“We got in one of those stretches we’ve had all year, where we struggle to score,” associate head coach Chris Caputo said.

“I thought we prepared very well,” Larranaga said. “It’s one thing to know what they’re going to do. It’s another thing to stop it.”

They tried. About five minutes into the second half with Miami down 19, Brown brought the ball up the floor, advancing toward referee Rick Crawford. As he dribbled, he repeated “timeout” four times. Crawford continued to stare. Frustrated, Brown then yelled it, which caused Crawford to whip his head around and realize someone was talking.

It was the quietest of endings, after the loudest of starts.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

Serena Williams responds to Ilie Nastase's comments on her unborn child
Serena Williams responds to Ilie Nastase's comments on her unborn child

Serena Williams has responded to comments about her unborn child that were made by retired tennis pro Ilie Nastase on Saturday at a news conference ahead of  the Romania Fed Cup playoff against Great Britain, according to ESPN. Nastase, who is the captain of the Romania team, reportedly made a comment in Romanian that was clearly audible to other...
Local baseball fans should enjoy Marlins’ good start, hope it continues
Local baseball fans should enjoy Marlins’ good start, hope it continues

It’s been a while since the Miami Marlins got out of the gate this well. What, you don’t think 10-8 is great? Well, the last five Marlins seasons started slower, and one of them, 2013, barely started at all. That was one of those give-up years, with Mike Redmond installed as a rookie manager and charged with getting whatever he could from...
Competitor helps fellow runner complete London Marathon
Competitor helps fellow runner complete London Marathon

LONDON -- A competitor at the London Marathon exhibited some fine sportsmanship Sunday by helping a fellow runner cross the finish line, the BBC reported. >> Read more trending news  Matthew Rees put his arm around David Wyeth, who was struggling to reach the finish line, and guided him the final 150 yards to finish the race. The pair...
Pick 6: Toughest nonconference schedules in Power 5 in 2017
Pick 6: Toughest nonconference schedules in Power 5 in 2017

September could get very ugly for Fresno State.  On consecutive September Saturdays, the Bulldogs play at Alabama and at Washington.  Mercifully, Fresno State has the next week off before starting Mountain West play. The Bulldogs' final nonconference game comes in November when BYU comes to the San Joaquin Valley.  The Bulldogs, coming...
NFL draft: Evaluating ex-top recruits who didn't match hype
NFL draft: Evaluating ex-top recruits who didn't match hype

Receivers Malachi Dupre of LSU and Travis Rudolph of Florida State are prime examples of pro prospects who left high school as five-star recruits and now enter the NFL draft trying to overcome perceptions that they never fulfilled their promise in college.  For NFL teams, the challenge is figuring out why such players haven't met expectations...
More Stories