Miami, Wake Forest trying to find winning lineups

·2 min read

Miami and Wake Forest both seem willing to try new combinations when they face off Saturday afternoon in an Atlantic Coast Conference game in Winston-Salem, N.C.

Those approaches come with good reason, as the teams are struggling to stay out of the ACC cellar.

Miami (6-9, 2-8) has lost three in a row by double-digit margins.

This is the third road game in a four-game stretch for the Hurricanes, who haven't won away from home since Jan. 9 at NC State. Since beating then-No. 16 Louisville on Jan. 16, Miami has lost its last three by a combined margin of 62 points.

In Wednesday night's loss at Florida State, Miami used a starting lineup of Kameron McGusty, Anthony Walker, Isaiah Wong, Harlond Beverly and Nysier Brooks. It was the team's seventh different starting lineup of the season.

Wong put up 21 points against the Seminoles, though the 81-59 outcome wasn't what the Hurricanes were looking for.

Three straight foes have shot better than 50 percent from the field after none did it in Miami's first 12 games.

The Hurricanes' efforts to improve defensively have meant sacrificing some scoring chances in the process.

"We elected to tell everybody to try to get back and do a great job on the defensive backboards," coach Jim Larranaga said.

Wake Forest (4-7, 1-7) failed to follow up its first ACC victory under new coach Steve Forbes with another solid outing, instead falling into a big hole in an eventual 72-67 loss Wednesday night at NC State. Forbes indicated afterward that changes could be in the works.

"I'm just going to have to try to help them more, I've got to do a better job," he said. "The scheme is the same I've been using for years, but it's obviously not working."

It's possible that the Demon Deacons could have guard Ian DuBose back for the first time since November. He has been sidelined for undisclosed medical reasons, but indicated his return was imminent with a brief post Thursday on Twitter a la Michael Jordan: "I'm back."

Wake Forest got 22 points from Daivien Williamson against the Wolfpack, with more than half of those coming via four 3-point baskets in the closing minutes.

The Demon Deacons have had turnover problems in many of their games. That surfaced in a big way against NC State's pressure with 20 turnovers, though Miami might not have the depth to apply too much full-court defense.

At this point, it might be worth trying it against Wake Forest's backcourt.

"I've got to figure out a way to help them against pressure when we're reluctant to handle (the ball) and we're reluctant to pass," Forbes said.

--Field Level Media