PITTSBURGH – Anthony Lawrence II doesn’t get homesick much. The way the athletic and versatile Miami forward figures it, the schedule makers can send the 15th-ranked Hurricanes wherever they please. The more nights in a hotel, the better.
“I love to play on the road because it’s a better crowd and the crowd’s against us,” Lawrence said. “We play better.”
Looks like it.
Lawrence finished with a team-high 12 points and Miami smothered Pittsburgh when it mattered in a 67-53 victory on Saturday in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both schools.
Five days and five time zones from a third-place finish at the Diamondhead Invitational in Hawaii, the Hurricanes (12-1, 1-0) used their suffocating man-to-man defense and their significant size and talent advantage to end Pitt’s modest three-game winning streak.
Ja’Quan Newton and Bruce Brown Jr. chipped in 11 points each for the Hurricanes and Chris Lykes added 10 points off the bench for Miami, which has spent most of the last six weeks traveling the country far afield from Coral Gables. The Hurricanes have played at Watsco Arena just once since Thanksgiving while visiting Minnesota, Washington D.C., Hawaii and Pennsylvania in that stretch.
“We feel like we’ve challenged ourselves,” Miami head coach Jim Larranaga said.
One the Hurricanes passed with relative ease against the undermanned and inexperienced Panthers. Miami held Pitt (8-6, 0-1) to 40 percent shooting, outrebounded the Panthers 31-23 and forced 19 turnovers.
– Associated Press