Miami makes quick work of Pacific
by David Jones, USA TODAY Sports
AUSTIN, Texas — Second-seeded Miami didn’t waste any time getting rid of its opening round opponent, taking a 22-7 lead to open the game and rolling past 15th-seeded Pacific 78-49 on Friday.
The Hurricanes (28-6) extended their winning streak to five, got their first NCAA tourney win since 2008 and will meet the Colorado-Illinois winner on Sunday with a trip to the Sweet 16 on the line.
Nine different players scored for Miami in a display of shooting, strength and depth.
Miami has never advanced past the Sweet 16, but this could be the year, looking impressive against an almost helpless opponent as the onslaught started right away. Tigers (22-13) shot 29.2% in the first half. Miami led 40-19 at the half, hitting five threes and scoring 12 points off turnovers.
“In the tournament, we believe that you have to play well to advance and we did that today,” said Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga.
Shane Larkin was just 2-of-6 from the field, but had all of his 10 points in the opening 20 minutes with five assists and three steals while the Tigers had no one who could even slow him down. Despite sitting much of the second half, he still tied a career best with nine assists.
“I didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, but I just wanted to impact the game in other ways,” Larkin said. “You’ve not going to go out and shoot well every single night.”
But Durand Scott, who tied his career high for three-point field goals (5-of-8), took care of that part of the game. He heated up in the second half, scoring 18 to finish with a game-high 21 points.
“I just wanted to do a good job of running the floor and finding open shots,” Scott said. “(Larkin) did a great job of finding me.”
The Hurricanes had 12 three-pointers (22 attempts) to come up one shy of the season’s best. Miami just missed its best defensive effort of the year, holding Clemson to 45 points on Jan. 17, and was two points shy of matching its season best offensively when scoring 80 against Wake Forest.
Leading 8-7, Miami went on a … [For more on Miami makes quick work of Pacific in NCAA tournament return, click here.]