Miami basketball wakes up beating North Texas 69-63 at ESPN Invitational

The Miami basketball team began the second half with a 24-8 run and held on late for a 69-63 victory over North Texas at the ESPN Invitational in Kissimmee, Florida. Miami trailed 40-28 at halftime before the needed run to begin the second half to seize the lead. The Hurricanes tighter up their defense in the second half.

North Texas shot 53.6 percent from the floor in the first half and made 9-18 three-point attempts to take the 12 point halftime lead. Miami held the Mean Green to 8-24 from the floor in the second half. North Texas did make 4-9 three-point attempts after halftime. Miami was consistently offensively throughout the game.

The Hurricanes shot 54.2 percent, made four of their 12 three-point attempts and were 13-16 from the free-throw line.  Miami outscored North Texas 40-23 in the second half. Isaiah Wong led Miami with 23, Kameron McGusty had 18 and Charlie Moore 16. McGusty led Miami with 12 rebounds and was 10-11 on free throws.

Miami played with far more urgency in the second half. McGusty put the Hurricanes ahead to stay with a layup with 2:35 remaining. Following an uninspiring loss to Dayton on Thursday, the Hurricanes victory over North Texas was needed. Three North Texas players finished in double figures led by Thomas Bell with 18.

Sam Waardenburg scored eight and Rodney Miller six for Miami. The Hurricanes starters played the majority of the minutes. Head coach Jim Larranaga utilized only 27 minutes off his bench in the victory. The Hurricanes received no points and only one assist and rebound off their bench. Miami has a day off before playing Sunday.

The Miami basketball team will play Alabama or Drake at 6:30 pm on Sunday night for fifth place. Tenth-ranked Alabama was upset 72-68 by Rick Pitino-led Iona on Thursday. Drake lost 74-69 to Belmont. After concluding play in Kississimee, Miami will play at Penn State on Wednesday night in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge.