First they couldn’t win a game at home in the ACC.
Maybe now they won’t be able to stop.
It was Miami’s second straight ACC win at home and its most complete game of the season. The Hurricanes shot 47.3 percent from the field, including 7-of-14 from three, turned the ball over just three times, and held Boston College to a season-low in points on 32.6 percent shooting while also forcing the Eagles into 10 turnovers.
"I like that our defensive game plan has been very well executed,” Miami coach Jim Larrañaga said. “We've been really contesting things much better than any other time in the season. Offensively, when we do what we did today and keep attacking, guys can make those shots…today, we were very patient and I was very concerned, because yesterday in practice, we weren't. Yesterday, I thought we showed signs of fatigue and hurrying, which is what we did against Virginia Tech. So to play the way we did for 40 minutes, especially that second half scoring 42 points, shooting 59 percent from the field and 62 percent from three, you can't ask for any better than that.”
Senior guard Rion Brown led the way for the Hurricanes with a game-high 22 points on 8-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc, and his 3-pointer with 14:38 left in the first half were his 1,000th points in his career, becoming the 35th player in UM history to reach that milestone.
Erik Swoope was integral as well, tying a career-high with 14 points to go along with a career-high nine rebounds while Manu Lecomte (11) and Garrius Adams (10) also scored in double figures. Swoope made five of his eight shots and 4-of-6 from the free throw line while also playing a career-high 38 minutes.
“Since we switched the [starting] lineup to having our five seniors out there the guys have been really pushing me to try and grow offensively,” Swoope said. “We always felt that the five of us as a unit could be a force and get us off to the right start and one of the key things I know I put on myself personally was trying to help Rion and Garrius get better opportunities out there or get easier shots, maybe the pressure is taken off them just a little bit so I’ve been really trying to watch film and diagnose how I can help them.”
The starting seniors got Miami (14-13, 5-9) out to an early eight point lead before Boston College responded with an 11-4 run that included back-to back 3-pointers by Patrick Heckmann, six of his 13 first half points, that pulled the Eagles to within 18-17 but that was as close as Boston College would get the rest of the game. Miami answered right back with a 9-2 run to increase its lead back up to eight and led 27-22 at halftime thanks to 10 first half points by Brown and eight from Swoope.
The runs continued in the second half as well as Adams opened the second session with a 3-pointer to jumpstart a 14-6 surge that gave Miami its first double-digit lead of the game at 41-28. Ryan Anderson made a layup to pull Boston College back to within eight points at the 10:57 mark but Miami had an answer once again, coming right back at the Eagles with a 9-0 run.
Brown drilled a 3-pointer, Lecomte made back-to-back layups, and Swoope threw down a dunk on consecutive possessions in less than a minute and a half to blow the game open and give Miami a 53-36 lead.
It was a far cry from Boston College’s performance Wednesday night against Syracuse when the Eagles upset the No. 1 team in the country 62-59 in overtime, ending the Orange’s 25-game winning streak in the process.
“We felt like they were probably coming here thinking, ‘Hey, we just beat Syracuse. We can definitely beat Miami,’” Brown said. “We just wanted to come out and play our game, execute our game plan and not even really think about that. We respect Boston College as a basketball team. We know they're a good team. We knew we had to come in and play our best.”
Heckman scored just two points in the second half to finish with 15 for Boston College (7-20, 3-11). Miami’s defense also held leading scorer Olivier Hanlan in check. The sophomore guard, who entered Saturday’s contest averaging 18.2 points per game, was held to 11 points on 2-of-7 shooting.
Miami travels to Charlottesville next for a matchup with the No. 13 Virginia Cavaliers Wednesday night, the first of three straight on the road. Tip off is at 7 PM.