Miami Hurricanes Basketball: Canes Snap Two-Game Losing Streak with 67-53 Win Over Boston College

Jan 20, 2016; Chestnut Hill, MA, USA; Miami Hurricanes guard Angel Rodriguez (13) drives past Boston College Eagles guard Jerome Robinson (1) during the first half at Silvio O. Conte Forum. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 20, 2016; Chestnut Hill, MA, USA; Miami Hurricanes guard Angel Rodriguez (13) drives past Boston College Eagles guard Jerome Robinson (1) during the first half at Silvio O. Conte Forum. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports /

Over the past month, not much has gone right for Angel Rodriguez on the basketball court. A struggling jump shot, a few too many turnovers and plenty of bad shot selections. In a matter of 20 minutes in frigid Chestnut Hill, Miami’s redshirt senior turned that all around.

Using 12 second half points from Rodriguez and another standout performance from Sheldon McClellan, the Miami Hurricanes outlasted Boston College 67-53 to improve to 14-3 overall and 3-2 in the ACC. It wasn’t pretty, but as we’ve seen throughout college basketball this season, you’ll take any win you can get.

Coming into the game, Miami and Coach Jim Larranaga were looking for a hot start to erase any thoughts that the Hurricanes two-game losing streak could stretch out to three. Unfortunately for the Miami coaching staff, they got one of the team’s sloppiest and sluggish first halves of the season and that’s saying something for this team.

The Canes shot just 40% from the field including 0-of-4 from three-point range and even on the foul line Miami couldn’t take advantage as they shot 5-of-10 from the charity stripe. On the defensive end the Hurricanes looked just alright as they forced 12 Boston College turnovers, but many were a product of some horrendous play from the Eagles. If you had watched this first half without knowing the records, you couldn’t imagine that one of the teams was ranked No. 15 in the country and one came into the game with a 7-10 record.

At the break, Miami led 29-28, but not in an impressive fashion. With Rodriguez shut out in the first half, the calls for Ja’Quan Newton to replace the Puerto Rico native’s minutes grew louder and louder. In a game where Miami needed someone to take over though, it was Angel Rodriguez that took the reins.

After scoring just 12 points combined against Syracuse, Florida St. and Clemson, Miami’s starting point guard looked like a new player in the second half. Instead of forcing long three pointers over taller defenders, Rodriguez made aggressive drives into the lane and finished with contact over and over. It was like watching a replay of his performance’s vs. Florida and Duke last season. All that we fell in love with the first few months of last season appeared once again in Chestnut Hill and Rodriguez’s 12 second half points led the Canes past what would have been a disastrous loss to a Boston College team ranked 239th in the KenPom.

Sheldon McClellan and Ja’Quan Newton were their usual selves as they finished with 19 and 12 points respectively, but they didn’t have to make every shot down the stretch as they actually got a bit of help from someone else on the team. Unlike the Virginia and Clemson games in which Miami let their opponents make late runs to snatch a victory, the Hurricanes had multiple legitimate threats to score the basketball and in the end, that was the cause for victory against the Eagles.

Now getting any win, or in this case avoiding defeat, is always important in college basketball, but Miami won’t get to play a sub-.500 team every night. As they move forward into the meat of their ACC slate, the Canes are going to have to figure out their three-point shooting woes that have become an issue for this team over the past few games. In ACC play, the Hurricanes have shot 24-of-95 (25.3%) from behind the three-point arc and for a team that bases a lot of its’ scoring off of three point shooting, that’s not good enough.

Again the bench besides Ja’Quan Newton struggled to make an impact tonight, but that’s just something this team is going to have to deal with this season. We thought coming into the year that the Hurricanes might have eight or nine reliable scorers, when at the most for the majority of this season it’s been just six. Saying that makes a renaissance from Angel Rodriguez the rest of the season to support McClellan and Newton even more crucial.

Who knows, maybe this is just a blip on the radar and Rodriguez will begin to struggle once again when the Canes tip-off against Wake Forest this Saturday at noon. If he does return to that Angel we saw in Gainesville or Cameron Indoor however, we know which 20 minutes to point to that turned his season and possibly the whole team’s season around.