The non-conference portion of Miami’s schedule was a resounding success. Its performance during ACC play should be a better indicator as to how much it has improved from last season.
The 25th-ranked Hurricanes hope to remain perfect in ACC home openers when they meet Georgia Tech on Saturday afternoon at the BankUnited Center.
A 12-20 record in 2006-07 left Miami plenty of room for improvement this season. Opening with 12 straight wins - the second-best start in school history - was far more than could have been expected.
The perfect season ended Dec. 29 with a 76-70 loss to Winthrop, but the Hurricanes (13-1) rebounded with an 88-62 rout of Pennsylvania on Jan. 2.
Junior Brian Asbury scored a career-high 22 points, and Dwayne Collins added 18 points and 12 rebounds in his first start of the season.
Both Asbury and Collins bounced back after not doing much against Winthrop. Asbury was limited to only seven points and took only four shots in that game while Collins managed just three points and took three shots.
Inside scoring from the 6-foot-8 Collins is very important because Miami has the ACC’s most dangerous 3-point shooting duo in guards Jack McClinton and James Dews. McClinton leads the league in 3-point shooting percentage (.508) and in 3-pointers per game (2.7).
Dews, meanwhile, is second in both 3-point percentage (.467) and 3-pointers per game (2.5). He has shown dramatic improvement this season, averaging 11.4 points a game - an increase of 8.3 from his average as a freshman.
Miami has already surpassed its win total from last season, and is on pace for its first 20-win campaign since the 2001-02 team went 24-8.
The Hurricanes are 3-0 all-time in ACC home openers—all against ranked opponents. Included in that stretch is a 90-82 victory over then-No. 21 Georgia Tech on Dec. 3, 2006.
Georgia Tech (7-7, 0-1) opened conference play Dec. 30 with a 66-64 home loss to Florida State.
The Yellow Jackets got back into the win column against lowly Presbyterian on Sunday, but couldn’t overcome a 19-for-35 performance from the free-throw line in a 79-72 loss to rival Georgia on Wednesday.
Maurice Miller scored 15 points and Anthony Morrow had 11 for Georgia Tech, 0-3 this season against teams currently ranked in the top 25.
Saturday’s contest continues a very difficult schedule for the Jackets, whose seven losses have come against teams with a combined record of 83-19. Their next two opponents—Miami and top-ranked North Carolina—are a combined 29-1.
“We are disappointed by our record, but I would not say that I am discouraged,” coach Paul Hewitt said. “We have played a very difficult schedule, probably not the smartest scheduling that could have been done for this basketball team, but I have no one to blame for that except myself.”
Morrow and junior guard Lewis Clinch are Tech’s leading scorers, averaging 14.9 and 12.9 points, respectively. Senior Jeremis Smith adds 9.0 points and a team-best 7.0 rebounds.
Georgia Tech leads the all-time series 4-3, but has lost the last two meetings.