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Kelly's 18 leads Miami to 70-54 win at Charleston

AP - Sports

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- James Kelly scored 18 points to lead a hot-shooting Miami to a 70-54 win over the College of Charleston on Monday night.

The Hurricanes (3-1) led by 15 at halftime, but Charleston came out and hit the first two shots of the second half to cut Miami's lead to 40-29.

The Cougars (1-3) had the ball again, but came up empty on a 90-second possession. Kelly then hit a 3-pointer and Tonye Jekiri hit an uncontested layup that started a 15-6 run. By the time Donnavan Kirk hit a runner in the lane, the Hurricanes were up 55-35 with 10 minutes to go.

Charleston would cut the lead to nine with three minutes left, but Manu Lecomte hit a driving layup and the Cougars never got closer.

Miami shot 7-of-11 on 3-pointers after coming into the game making just 29 percent of its shots behind the arc, including an 0-for-15 night in the Hurricanes season-opening upset loss to St. Francis Brooklyn.

The defending Atlantic Coast Conference champions shot 51 percent (26-of-51) on the night and made 11 of their 12 free throws.

The Cougars shot 45 percent (19-of-42) for the game, but made just 11 of their 22 free throws.

Rion Brown scored 15 points and Lecomte added 14, while Kirk had nine points and nine rebounds for the Hurricanes.

Willis Hall and Joe Chealey added 12 points each for Charleston.

The evening seemed primed for an upset. It was Miami's first road game and the Hurricanes lost their top six players from last season's team who combined to score nearly 87 percent of their points.

The Cougars have knocked off ACC teams before, going 8-28 against the conference. That includes a win over then No. 9 North Carolina in 2010 and an NCAA tournament victory over Maryland in 1997. Charleston had a two-game winning streak over ACC teams beating Clemson in 2011 and Boston College in 2012.

And they started fast. Charleston hit its first three shots and took a 7-2 lead. But Miami changed defenses and a 3-pointer by Kirk and a dunk by Kelly tied the game at 7. Charleston led just once more at 10-9 on a Chealey 3-pointer.

Miami led 21-19 when Garrius Adams' 3-pointer started a 19-6 run to end the half. The Hurricanes made 6-of-9 3-pointers, completely negating Charleston's 56 percent shooting (9-of-16) first half.

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