Saturday, November 18, 2017
Sports

Miami boosts NCAA Tournament resume with 78-62 win over No. 15 FSU

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CORAL GABLES — Miami overcame the loss of a top player and enhanced its NCAA Tournament resume.

Durand Scott scored 17 and the Hurricanes beat No. 15 Florida State 78-62 on Sunday night, snapping a six-game losing streak to the Seminoles.

Miami had lost 11 of 12 against FSU.

"It's our rivalry game," Scott said. "To get a quality win like that, it's great. I'm sure the rest of the team feels the same way."

Kenny Kadji added 15 points for the shorthanded Hurricanes (17-10, 8-6 ACC), who tied Virginia for fourth place in the conference standings.

Miami starting center Reggie Johnson was declared ineligible by the school an hour before the game after an investigation revealed family members had received benefits not allowed under NCAA rules. According to a university statement, "Johnson was unaware of the benefits and his family was told they were permissible by a member of the former basketball coaching staff." The statement did not specify the coach or the benefits.

Former Miami coach Frank Haith, in his first season at Missouri, did not return a call.

Miami is seeking a quick resolution from the NCAA in an attempt to reinstate Johnson, who is averaging 10.6 points.

"It's my understanding that Reggie and his family didn't know of any impermissible benefit," coach Jim Larranaga said. "It was somebody else."

The Hurricanes used Johnson's absence as motivation.

"Just because one person goes down, you just can't quit," Scott said. "I'm pretty sure he wanted us to step up and do the things necessary that Coach wants us to win basketball games."

Michael Snaer scored 20 for FSU (19-9, 10-4), which is two games behind ACC co-leaders Duke and North Carolina.

FSU, trailing 59-42 with 5:07 left, got within 65-58 on Snaer's two free throws with 2:39 left.

"We just tried to put everything on the line and try to claw our way back," Snaer said. "They knew we were going to come back with that type of firepower and aggressiveness on defense."

Scott, Kadji and Shane Larkin each hit two free throws in the next 58 seconds as Miami increased the lead to 71-58.

The Hurricanes expanded a four-point halftime lead with a 14-8 run in the first 5:15 of the second half. Rion Brown hit the fourth 3-pointer of the spurt.

Snaer's three-point play with 10:48 left cut it to 44-35 before the Hurricanes got consecutive 3-pointers from Trey McKinney Jones and Malcolm Grant. Miami made 7 of 13 3-pointers in the second half.

"I thought in the second half, they got their momentum going with their 3s," FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. "That kind of gave them confidence and we couldn't get anything going offensively."

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