Miami is off to its best start in four seasons under coach Frank Haith. Despite the success, he isn’t too happy with his unbeaten team’s latest performance.
The No. 22 Hurricanes look for some improvement Sunday when they continue a season-high six-game homestand against North Carolina A&T.
Miami (11-0) is coming off an 85-63 win over North Florida on Thursday, during which it was never threatened after building a 46-23 halftime lead. Haith, though, wasn’t pleased with the showing as the Hurricanes were outscored in the second half.
“I thought it was our worst performance of the year,” Haith said. “Our intensity level was not good the whole game.
“You just can’t turn it on.”
The Hurricanes, who are winning by an average of 17.1 points this season, look to move closer to their best start in team history, a 14-game run to open 2001-02. They host Winthrop and Pennsylvania before ending the homestand against Georgia Tech on Jan. 12 to open their ACC schedule.
Miami likes to rely on its stellar outside shooting. It has been outstanding from long range over the last two games, making 21 of 40 3-pointers (52.5 percent) to improve to a conference-best 45.8 percent on the season.
James Dews has been a major part of that success, going 7-of-13 from beyond the arc to total 25 points in the last two games. The sophomore guard, who is second on the team with 11.4 points per game, is shooting 50.9 percent from 3-point range (27-of-53) after only converting 27.6 percent of his attempts (16-for-58) last season.
Fellow guard Jack McClinton, the Hurricanes’ top scorer with an average of 14.1 points, has been shooting better of late, going 19-for-36 (52.8 percent) from the floor to average 18.0 points in the last three games after only making 9 of 29 shots (31.0 percent) for an 8.0 scoring average in his previous three. The junior had 13 points on 4-of-7 shooting Thursday.
Miami is holding opponents to an ACC-low 58.4 points per game and 36.3 percent shooting.
The Hurricanes are 2-0 against North Carolina A&T (5-6), winning the last meeting 87-62 on Nov. 22, 2005.
The Aggies, losers of four of their last five games, are looking to avoid dropping their third straight to start a four-game road stretch. They opened the stretch with a 94-66 loss at Missouri on Monday before losing 88-70 at Akron on Wednesday to fall to 1-5 overall on the road.
Steven Rush, North Carolina A&T’s top scorer with 16.8 points per game, has totaled 32 points on 11-of-31 shooting (35.5 percent) on the first two games of the road trip. Since the senior guard made 10 3-pointers in a 96-93 win at DePaul on Nov. 24, he’s just 5-of-27 (18.5 percent) on 3-pointers in his last four road games.
North Carolina A&T has lost all 12 games against ranked opponents since 1996 by an average of 33.6 points, including a 93-59 loss at then-No. 11 Tennessee on Nov. 27 and an 88-61 loss at then-No. 22 Pittsburgh on Nov. 10.