Miami downs Providence, 78-66, in NIT opener
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP)—Jack McClinton made seven 3-pointers and scored 25 points lead Miami to a 78-66 victory over Providence in the first round of the NIT Wednesday.
Dwayne Collins had 12 rebounds and Lance Hurdle added 12 points for the Hurricanes (19-12), who outrebounded the Friars 44-35.
Though Miami never trailed, the game stayed tight in the second half, and both teams had trouble scoring as the game grew increasingly chippy down the stretch.
Adrian Thomas’ jumper with 3:22 to go broke a stretch of 6:05 without a field goal by either team.
Providence got within four with just 3:08 to play, but McClinton—who made 7 of his 14 3-point shots—responded with two of them in a row to keep the game out of reach.
Weyinmi Efejuku led Providence with 16 points, and Jonathan Kale added 11 points and nine rebounds for the Friars.
Miami will play Florida in the second round.
Both teams found themselves in the NIT after finishing tied for seventh in their conferences. Providence was bounced from the Big East tournament by Louisville in the quarterfinals, while Miami dropped its ACC tournament opener to Virginia Tech.
Efejuku made four free throws in the first 31 seconds of the second half, pulling the Friars within a possession at 35-32. But McClinton responded quickly with a fast-break layup, and Providence never got closer than four the rest of the way.
Miami, which struggled at times during the first half against Providence’s pressure, looked much more comfortable bringing the ball up the court early in the second half.
Back-to-back 3s by Brian McKenzie made it 60-55 with 9:27 to play, but both offenses sputtered. Neither team managed to score for nearly three minutes until Jimmy Graham sunk two free throws with 6:52 to play.
Providence didn’t manage another basket until just 1:39 remained. By that point, McClinton had scored back-to-back threes to put Miami up 70-60.