Miami eases past Appalachian State 84-54

The Associated Press

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) Durand Scott scored 17 points to lead Miami to an 84-54 win over Appalachian State Friday night.

The Hurricanes (8-4) overcame a cold-shooting start, built a 39-24 lead at halftime and never allowed the Mountaineers to get within a single-digit margin in the second half.

''That was our most consistent defensive effort for 40 minutes - well maybe 35,'' Miami coach Jim Larranaga said, acknowledging a slow start. ''Once we kicked it to a high level of intensity we were able to maintain it the whole game.''

Rion Brown finished with 15 points for the Hurricanes. Shane Larkin, Reggie Johnson, Trey McKinney Jones and DeQuan Jones each scored 11 points for Miami.

''I'm just happy to be out there and being with my teammates and helping,'' said DeQuan Jones, who played in his second game since starting the season on suspension. ''I feel as a team we're going to get a lot better.''

Jones was initially suspended by the school for the entire season. At issue was his alleged involvement in his recruitment to Miami for a $10,000 fee through former Hurricanes assistant Jake Morton and ex-Miami booster Nevin Shapiro. He missed the season's first 10 games before Miami reversed course and cleared him to play. An NCAA investigation is still ongoing.

The Hurricanes missed eight of their first nine shots before Brown and Garrius Adams hit consecutive 3-pointers as part of a 13-3 Miami spurt midway through the first half. Scott's jumper with 8:47 left ended the surge and gave the Hurricanes a 17-10 lead.

''Coach let us know what was going on and that we needed to get to the foul line and put pressure on their defense,'' Scott said ''We did just that and the flow of the game came to us much easier.''

Scott shot 7 of 9 from the field and is 21 of 32 in his last three games.

Brown and Larkin hit back-to-back 3-pointers and increased the Miami lead to 25-16 with 6:33 remaining in the opening half. Larkin scored nine points in the first half. Larkin's three-point play with 3:30 left started a 10-0 run. DeQuan Jones' breakaway slam dunk with 45 seconds left ended the surge and gave Miami its largest lead of the first half, 39-22.

''When we started to play faster and Durand started to attack the rim, we became a better team,'' Larranaga said. ''We're very pleased to win by 30 tonight.''

Andre Williamson scored 19 points to lead the Mountaineers (5-7). Appalachian State has lost five of its last six.

''I thought at the start we were in good shape, then they kicked it up a notch,'' Mountaineers coach Jason Capel said. ''Their combination of speed, athleticism and sheer size caused us problems.''

The Hurricanes played their second game without leading scorer Malcolm Grant. The senior guard, who averages 15 points per game, left the team last week because of a death in the family but is expected to return to the lineup for Miami's final nonconference game of the season before ACC play, going against UNC Greensboro on Monday.

Appalachian State resumes Southern Conference play Jan. 5 at Samford.

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