Miami started the game off with an alley-oop from Angel Rodriguez to Sheldon McClellan, but fell behind early thanks to hot three-point shooting from Buffalo. The Bulls hit their first four shots, all from three-point range, before adding another three points the old fashioned way (foul and-1).
Buffalo led by as many as nine in the first half before Miami began staging their comeback.
The ‘Canes were led by seniors Rodriguez with 24 points and McClellan with 20 points. Rodriguez was also a defensive stalwart for Miami, stealing the ball away from the Bulls three times.
Games in the NCAA tournament are so often decided by the team with the best individual player or players. It was a good sign for the ‘Canes to see their two best and most consistent players come out hot in the first game.
It’s a good first step in making a tournament run.
Forward Kamari Murphyput together one of his best performances of the year. The forward pitched in 11 points, but made his presence felt on the defensive end with four blocks and 13 rebounds, both game-highs.
Of course, solid performances by role players help in the tournament as well.
Murphy and guard Davon Reed were the two ‘Canes to record double-doubles. Reed scored 10 points and brought in 12 rebounds.
Miami went up by as many as 12 in the second half before Buffalo brought the score within four late. It would be as close as they would get as the ‘Canes hit their foul shots down the stretch to close out the game.
Miami will play 11th-seeded Wichita St. (26-8) Saturday 12:10 p.m. on CBS.
Alex Goldman is a senior majoring in journalism with a minor in political science. He is currently the Sports Editor of distractionmagazine.com. He’s a Northern California native and loves snowboarding, writing, and above all the Green Bay Packers.