Miami basketball uses big runs to begin each half to defeat Pittsburgh

The Miami basketball team scored the first 16 points of the game and used a 13-2 run early in the second half to extend their lead to 20 before holding on late to defeat Pittsburgh 66-58 at the Watsco Center on Sunday night.

The Miami basketball team rode a game full of momentum changes on Sunday night before surviving Pittsburgh 66-58. The Hurricanes opened the game by scoring the first 16 points, extended the lead to 20 early second half after leading by nine at halftime and survived the Panthers in the final minutes to win.

The Hurricanes lost the 16 point lead after Pittsburgh went on an 18-2 run to tie the game in the first half. Miami used a 13-2 run early in the second half to extend the lead to 20 before another Panthers comeback. The Hurricanes closed the first half with a 13-4 to get more than half of the game-opening lead back by halftime.

Junior transfer Kameron McGusty carried the Miami offense in the first half with 15 points. Chris Lykes played only nine minutes because of foul trouble. The junior point guard went the intermission with three fouls. Lykes played another nine minutes in the second half before fouling out with 8:09 remaining.

Lykes finished with 12 points in 19 minutes of floor time. It was the fewest minutes for Lykes since a 77-74 victory by the Miami basketball team at Notre Dame in 2018, during his freshman season. McGusty and freshman Harlond Beverly picked up the slack with Lykes out for over the last fifth of the game.

Beverly scored six points and added five assists and two blocks while helping with the point guard duties. McGusty finished with 19 points and senior guard Dejan Vasiljevic had 13 as the Hurricanes guard trio led Miami as they have all season. Center Rodney Miller finished with seven points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots.

Miller played a season-high 36 minutes. The 7’0 junior center played exceptional defense and was a presence in the middle according to Hurricanes’ assistant coach Chris Caputo after the game. Miami shot 53 percent and held their own on the boards with each team recording 34 rebounds.

The Hurricanes made 6-24 three-point attempts. Trey McGowans the Panthers leading scorer finished with 18 points and seven assists. Miami held the other half of Pittsburgh’s outstanding backcourt, Xavier Johnson, to four points on 1-5 from the floor.

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Miami and Pittsburgh will meet again on Superbowl Sunday, February 2 in the Steel City. The Hurricanes play at NC State Wednesday. Miami returns home on Saturday to host Florida State at 1pm.

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