Canes Hoops: Miami Pulls Away From Lehigh Late Without Hernandez in Season Opener

The Miami Hurricanes opened the 2018-19 season with a 83-62 win over the Lehigh Mountain Hawks on Friday night.

But the season took a curveball before the very first tip.

Due to involvement in the Adidas Scandal, Hernandez will sit out indefinitely while UM Compliance and the NCAA look to resolve the issue.

“It changes the preparation,” said coach Jim Larranaga, who had just one day to prepare for the game without Hernandez. “Without Dewan [Hernandez] tonight, Ebuka [Izundu] moved into the starting lineup and Deng [Gak] became the sub…he subbed for Sam Waardenburg and Izundu.”

Larranaga is unaware how long Hernandez will be sidelined, but fellow forward Rodney Miller will almost certainly still keep his redshirt.

The Hurricanes used the three point shot to their advantage Friday night. Larranaga plans on using the shot as a key tool for the team this season, more so than in the past.

“It’s a trend,” said Larranaga after the game. “It’s the way the game is being played. I told the team afterwords, normally I would say [32 three-point attempts] is too many, but the way we’re playing right now…we’re shooting a lot of threes.”

Chris Lykes will be a key figure in the Hurricane offense this year. Tonight, he led all scorers with 22 points. “Chris is going to be a high octane scorer,” said Larranaga.

Lance Tejada—a Miramar, FL native—played very well against his hometown Hurricanes. The transfer from East Carolina averaged 31 points-per-game last year in his first year with the Mountain Hawks. Although he struggled in his team’s opener on Tuesday with just four points, the guard caught fire in the second half Friday, scoring 19 to get Lehigh back in the game. 16 of those points came after halftime.

Stats

C. Lykes: 22 points, five rebounds, four assists

D. Vasiljevic: 16 points, 4-7 3FG

A. Lawrence: 19 points, 12 rebounds, 4-7 3FG

S. Waardenburg: 11 points, five rebounds

E. Izundu: 10 points, nine rebounds

L. Tejada (Lehigh): Team high 19 points

The floodgates appeared to open up early for the Canes, hitting five three-pointers in the first six minutes to take an early 19-5 lead.

Miami didn’t score in the last 3:24 of the first half, going to the half up 38-26.

A mid-second half 12-2 run from Lehigh cut Miami’s lead to six, 53-47 with twelve and a half minutes left in the game.

That would be the closest the Hawks would come, as the Hurricane defense held Lehigh to just 15 points in the de facto ‘fourth quarter.’

Miami stays home and will host the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks on Tuesday, November 13th at 7PM. For those who cannot make it to the Watsco Center, ACC Network Extra will broadcast the game on the WatchESPN app.

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