After losing 80-63 in Raleigh earlier last month the Miami basketball team hopes to split the season series when the Hurricanes host North Carolina State at the Watsco Center Wednesday night.
The Miami basketball team hosts North Carolina State on Wednesday night with losses in five of their last six games and seven of their last nine. After beginning the season 9-3, the Hurricanes are now 11-10. A once-promising season has been derailed by injuries and a familiar lack of depth.
North Carolina State travels South 14-8 overall and 5-6 in the ACC. The Wolfpack has lost three straight games. NC State was pounded 77-57 by Louisville on Sunday at PNC Arena. The game at Miami is the first of three straight games on the road for the Wolfpack. NC State will also travel to Syracuse and Boston College.
The Miami basketball team is coming off a 62-57 loss at Pittsburgh on Sunday. Missed free throws and too many missed shots down the stretch did the Hurricanes in. Miami played without junior point guard Chris Lykes for the third straight game. Junior guard Kam McGusty was out for the second time in three games against Pitt.
The reports about Lykes’ availability against North Carolina State on Wednesday night have been from probable to a game-time decision. Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports via Miami head coach Jim Larranaga reported Lykes as a game-time decision. Michelle Kaufman of the Miami Herald quoted Lykes and McGusty as questionable.
Miami’s Chris Lykes (groin) will be a game-time decision for tonight’s game against NC State, per Jim Larranaga.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) February 5, 2020
During a conference call on Monday, Miami basketball head coach Jim Larranaga discussed the availability of two of his three leading scorers and the impact their absence has had on the Hurricanes.
“In February, you want to be at your best and right now we’re just undermanned…We’re basically playing three freshmen and three upperclassmen. We’re very short-handed and playing without our two leading scorers. He hasn’t been the same for a couple of weeks.
Our trainers have kept a close eye on him. After the Virginia Tech game, he clearly was hobbled. I don’t know when we’ll get him or Chris back. Against Pitt, our three guards played 38-plus minutes. Two of them are freshmen. We have no subs for them, and we’re going to be pressured by NC State.
If we don’t have Chris or Kam, we have to figure out how do we get those guards some needed rest. [Sunday] against Pitt we played well, put ourselves in position to win the game, but Pittsburgh did a great job of making a couple of clutch free throws and closing us out.”
The Miami basketball program was depleted two years ago when they did not sign any players out of high school due to the Adidas bribery scandal. As a result, Miami does not have any sophomores on its roster. With Lykes and McGusty out, freshman Harlond Beverly and Isaiah Wong have had to log heavy minutes.
There is no depth behind the true freshmen at guard. Wong and senior D.J. Vasiljevic played 39 minutes against Pittsburgh. Freshman Harlond Beverly played 35. Wong has blossomed in Lykes’ absence. Over the last three games, the New Jersey native is averaging 14.7 points per game and shooting 58.3 percent from the floor.
GAME 22 | FEB. 5, 2020 • 8:30 P.M. ET • CORAL GABLES, FLA.
NC State Wolfpack (14-8, 5-6 ACC)
Head Coach: Kevin Keatts (Marshall, 2011)
Record at ST: 59-32 (third season), Career Record: 131-60 (sixth season)
Miami Hurricanes (11-10, 3-8 ACC)
Head Coach: Jim Larrañaga (Providence, 1971)
Record at UM: 186-107 (ninth season), Career Record: 656-441 (36th season)
Courtesy of HurricaneSports.Com
A little Wednesday night hoops goin’ down at Watsco. pic.twitter.com/8vVloQ4Md1
— Canes Hoops (@CanesHoops) February 5, 2020
Beverly has taken over at point guard with Lykes out. Over the last three games, Beverly is averaging 11.0 PPG 3.7 RPG, 3.0 APG and one steal. Beverly is shooting 39.7 percent from the floor over the last three games but made nine of his 10 free throws. The return of forward Keith Stone has added depth up front.
Stone missed three and a half weeks in January after reaggravating a knee injury that ended his season at Florida in 2018-19 and cost him the first few weeks with Miami this year. The Hurricanes have played a small portion of this season with a completely healthy team. Miami won three road games when healthy.
All-Time: 11-14 (11-13 since rebirth) | Home: 5-5 | Away: 4-8 | Neutral: 2-1 | Coach L: 7-8 (7-7 at Miami)
Streak: Lost 2 | Last Meeting: 80-63 road loss (1/15/20) | First Meeting: 46-35 road loss (1939-40 season)
ACC Network • Play-by-Play: Chris Cotter • Color: Chris Spatola | Streaming: WatchESPN
WQAM 560 AM • Joe Zagacki • Danny Rabinowitz | WQAM.Radio.com
WMYM 990 AM • Broderick Zerpa • Jose Martinez • Lorenzo Berry • Daniel Ramirez | Unaimo Deportes | WVUM 90.5 FM • Philip Capuzzi • Josh White | WVUM.org
Miami needs to be at full strength on Saturday when they travel to Florida State. The Seminoles are 19-3 overall, 9-2 in the ACC tied with Duke one game behind Louisville in the standings. FSU defeated Miami 83-79 in OT in Coral Gables last month. The Hurricanes relinquished a nine-point lead with three minutes left in regulation.