February 15, 2019

CBK Story
By Gethin Coolbaugh, The Sports Xchange
Publish Date: March 17, 2016 09:10:46 PM

Rodriguez, McClellan lift Hurricanes

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Jim Larranaga's leaders stepped up when Miami needed it most Thursday.
Angel Rodriguez tallied a season-high 24 points -- one off his career high -- and Sheldon McClellan added 20 to lead the third-seeded Hurricanes past 14th-seeded Buffalo 79-72 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
"I thought Angel and Sheldon were seniors leaders today that really dominated the game," the Miami coach said.
McClellan scored in double figures for the 21st consecutive game, finishing with 20 points. Kamari Murphy and Davon Reed each had double-doubles, Murphy with 11 points and 13 rebounds, Reed with 10 points and 12 boards.
Murphy set a Hurricanes program record for blocks in an NCAA Tournament game with four.
"I wasn't really thinking about numbers during the game," Murphy said. "I was just thinking about playing as hard as I can."
Buffalo forward Nick Perkins scored a career-high 20 points on 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range, also a personal best.
Perkins caused problems for a Hurricanes team that hadn't seen a player of his ilk; a center that can make the outside shot.
"I asked my players after the game, have we ever played a team this season that had a five man that shot threes, and the answer was no," Larranaga said. "So we really knew that Perkins could make the three. We were hoping he would miss early on. He didn't."
Lamonte Bearden added 19 points and Blake Hamilton contributed 12 points and nine rebounds for the Bulls, who ended the season with six wins in nine games.
"I couldn't be more proud of the kids I coached this year," Buffalo coach Nate Oats said. "It's pretty well-documented what we've been through as a program with everything, and they just played their tails off for us all year."
Oats was named Bulls coach April 13 after the departure of Bobby Hurley, but was dealt a setback when his wife Crystal was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lymphoma months later in November.
With the support of his wife, Oats decided to remain on the sidelines.
"Coach Oats, all the stuff we've been through this year. It really makes coming here better," Perkins said.
Miami trailed by nine early but fought back to lead 35-33 at halftime.
Reed's 3-pointer with 13:34 to go capped a 14-5 run and stretched the advantage to 11 points, and a Tonye Jekiri dunk gave the Hurricanes their largest edge at 63-51 with 6:11 left.
The Bulls (20-15) came within four on Bearden's layup with 1:56 remaining but got no closer.
Buffalo surged ahead on hot-handed 3-point shooting early in the first half.
Perkins made three consecutive treys, and the Bulls began the night 4 for 4 from beyond the arc, helping them claim a 15-6 lead with 12:47 left before intermission.
"Working on my three, being more consistent with it, I felt that prepared me well tonight," Perkins said.
The Hurricanes answered with a 23-10 run in a span of 8:40 during which they took their first lead on Reed's alley-oop dunk at the 4:13 mark.
Miami stretched its lead to five points before entering the break up by two.
McClellan led the Hurricanes with 12 first-half points, and Perkins scored 11 in the half for the Bulls.
Miami (26-7) faces 11th-seeded Wichita State in a South Region second-round game Saturday.
NOTES: Miami coach Jim Larranaga played college basketball at Providence College, graduating as the school's fifth all-time leading scorer with 1,258 points. ... The Hurricanes made their eighth appearance in the NCAA Tournament and were a No. 3 seed for the first time in school history. ... Miami improved to 3-1 against Buffalo. The Bulls beat Miami 60-57 in the previous meeting, Nov. 18, 2006, to earn their first victory over an ACC opponent. ... The Bulls are one of six repeat automatic qualifier in this year's NCAA Tournament after winning the Mid-American Conference tournament in back-to-back seasons. Buffalo were the first MAC team to accomplish the feat since Kent State in 2001-02. ... The Bulls made their NCAA Tournament debut last year, losing 68-62 to West Virginia

All Times Eastern