BROOKLYN, N.Y. – The University of Miami men’s basketball team picked up its fourth consecutive win by defeating Fordham, 72-66, in the Basketball Hall of Fame Invitational.
Sixth-year redshirt senior guard Charlie Moore scored a game-high 18 points for Miami (8-3, 1-0 ACC), which trailed at the break, but turned in a tremendous defensive performance in the second half to register the win at the Barclays Center.
“I thought the game was played exactly like we envisioned it. Our guys defended the three very well. We knew they would shoot 30-plus threes and they ended up shooting 38,” Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga said. “…You have to defend those well because they could catch fire and go on a run. Our guys never let them do that.”
After opening 4-of-16 from the floor, Miami made three shots in a row, including back-to-back 3-pointers by Moore to take a five-point lead, 20-15, with 7:24 on the clock. The Hurricanes, though, could not retain their lead for the remainder of the half.
Following a 0-of-9 start from 3-point range in the first 10 minutes, Fordham (7-5) went 4-of-8 the rest of the frame. The Rams hit consecutive shots from deep in the final 45 seconds, including a buzzer beater by junior guard Antonio Daye Jr., to take a 37-35 edge into the locker room.
A pair of Fordham graduate students, guard Darius Quisenberry (12) and forward Chuba Ohams (11), combined for 23 points in the first half, with the latter shooting 5-of-5 from the floor.
After the Rams scored the first basket coming out of the intermission, Miami answered with 16 straight points in just 5:38 to turn a game-high four-point deficit into a then-game-high 12-point lead, 51-39, with 12:58 to play. The Hurricanes held Fordham without a point for 6:43 and, even beyond that stretch, forced 10 consecutive missed shots.
The Hurricanes extended their surge to 20-2 and took a game-best 14-point edge, 55-41, with 11:52 left. The Rams, however, countered with a 12-2 burst of their own to make it 57-53 with 7:53 remaining.
Miami then held Fordham scoreless for 4:16 and went back up by 10, but junior guard Kam’Ron Cunningham hit a pair of 3-pointers to make it a four-point game, 63-59, with 2:08 to go. An old-fashioned three-point play at the other end by sixth-year redshirt senior guard Kameron McGusty 21 seconds later, though, all but iced the eventual six-point win.
“One of the things that they did in the first half is they kept switching ball screens and our guys took advantage,” Larrañaga said. “In the second half, they chose to go under ball screens and, I thought, our guys really read that well, ended up getting good shots and making those shots.”
Moore, who shot 7-of-13 from the field, grabbed a season-high seven rebounds, one shy of his career best. He also posted a season-high-tying three steals to pace all players, en route to claiming game MVP honors.
Third-year sophomore guard Isaiah Wong finished with 17 points and a season-best seven rebounds, while McGusty tallied 15 points on 6-of-12 shooting. Fourth-year junior guard Jordan Miller posted eight points and a season-best nine rebounds, the latter mark co-leading all players.
Ohams, who blocked three shots, led Fordham with 15 points on 6-of-6 shooting, but Miami held him to just one basket—on his lone attempt—in the second half. Daye scored 13 points and Quisenberry added 12, the latter shooting 0-of-8 after the break, including 0-of-7 from deep.
The Hurricanes’ strong defense held Fordham to just a 23-of-60 clip (38.3 percent) from the field, including an 8-of-38 mark (21.1 percent) ledger from deep. Miami, meanwhile, made three more field goals on one fewer attempt and hit just three fewer 3-pointers on 22 fewer tries.
Miami, which won for the second consecutive time when trailing at the break, also posted a 41-32 edge on the glass.
After a week without a game, Miami returns to action Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. against Stetson at the Watsco Center in Coral Gables, Fla., live on RSN.