Georgia Southern (1-0) at Miami-Florida (0-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Monday, November 11, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: BankUnited Center (7,000) -- Coral Gables, Florida. Television: ESPN3.com. Home Record: GSU 1-0, Miami 0-1 . Away Record: GSU 0-0, Miami 0-0. Neutral Record: GSU 0-0, Miami 0-0. Conference Record: GSU 0-0, Miami 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Hurricanes of Miami-Florida try to bounce back from a stunning loss in the season opener on Friday, as they host the Georgia Southern Eagles in non-conference action tonight at BankUnited Center in Coral Gables.
Miami is a team that reached new heights last season under head coach Jim Larranaga, posting a record of 29-7 overall and losing just three times in 18 chances in ACC play. The squad won the ACC Tournament title and then picked up a couple of victories in the NCAA Tournament over Pacific and Illinois, before bowing to Marquette (71-61).
The Hurricanes lost a lot of talent from the 2012-13 squad and figured to have some trouble with the tougher opponents on the schedule this time around, but few imagined Miami would actually lose to St. Francis Brooklyn, 66-62, in overtime in the opener on Friday.
As for the Eagles, they too began their campaign on the first day of the regular season, but unlike the Hurricanes, GSU was able to easily notch a 110-74 victory at home, albeit against Columbia International. Before Georgia Southern can get too excited about that first victory, they should keep in mind that CIU is a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA).
This game marks the first-ever meeting between these two schools on the basketball court.
The Eagles scored the first points of the game against Columbia International and never looked back, shooting close to 60 percent from the floor in the first half and 56.7 percent for the game, all while limiting the visitors to just 36.5 percent from the floor. Jelani Hewitt scored a game-high 25 points, leading six players in double figures for Miami, as he converted 9-of-16 from the field.
Tre Bussey accounted for 20 points, Marvin Baynham and Curtis Diamond 16 points apiece and Kyle Doyle a solid double-double off the bench with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Also posting double digits in both scoring and rebounding was Angel Matias with 10 and 12, respectively. As a team, the Eagles crushed CIU on the glass, 50-35, held the visitors to just 11-of-38 shooting beyond the arc, and forced 17 turnovers.
In a game that featured seven ties and just as many lead changes, the Hurricanes trailed by as many as seven in the second half before forcing overtime, thanks to a late layup by Garrius Adams that knotted the score at 56-56. However, in the bonus session, Miami never led and scored a mere six points in those five minutes.
Donnavan Kirk stepped up with a double-double consisting of 16 points and 10 rebounds, adding a couple of blocked shots, but at the same time he also turned the ball over four times without benefit of a single assists. Adams tallied 15 points, but in his case he shot a mere 4-of-18 from the floor and missed all eight chances beyond the arc. The team as a whole came up empty on 15 3-point tries. Rion Brown tacked on 11 points and seven boards.
The return of Kirk to the Hurricanes is a huge benefit for the squad, but he'll need his teammates to contribute more and suffer fewer mistakes if this team is going to be successful tonight and moving forward.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Miami-Florida 68, Georgia Southern 64
11/11 10:36:49 ET