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Hot-shooting Miami aims to remain on target vs. Stonehill


Miami leads the Atlantic Coast Conference and rank in the top-15 nationally in 3-point percentage (41.2), field-goal percentage (50.8) and effective field-goal percentage (58.2).

On Thursday night, the Hurricanes (8-2) will look to build on those figures when they play host to Stonehill College (2-11).

Miami, coming off an 84-77 win over LaSalle on Saturday, doesn’t have a starter taller than 6-7. Only one Miami starter 6-7, 235-pound Norchad Omier, weighs more than 200, and Hurricanes coach Jim Larranaga knows it’s an issue.

“Expectations for us are high,” Larranaga said. “We’re a Power Five team trying to play Power Five basketball, but we’re undersized.”

Omier is averaging 16.4 points and a team-high 9.1 rebounds. Wooga Poplar leads Miami in scoring (16.8), foul shooting (87.1 percent) and 3-point percentage (51.0).

Matthew Cleveland (14.9 scoring average), Nijel Pack (12.6 points, team-high 4.2 assists) and Bensley Joseph (8.3 points, team-high 18 steals) round out Miami’s starting lineup.

“I wish all our players played defense like Bensley,” Larranaga said. “He can guard his man. He doesn’t need much help.”

The key to Miami’s bench is Kyshawn George, a 6-8 freshman guard from Switzerland who has NBA scouts drooling.

“When Kyshawn is tentative, he’s no good,” Larranaga said. “He’s a very good passer. I’m going to be encouraging him every day until this season is over. If he can be more aggressive consistently, he can really help us.”

As for the Skyhawks, they snapped a 10-game losing streak on Sunday with a 71-44 home win over Hartford.

The Skyhawks have three players scoring in double figures: Jackson Benigni (12.7), Maxwell Zegarowski (12.5) and Tony Felder (12.1).

Zegarowski made the All-Northeast Conference last season, averaging 12.6 points.

Felder, a transfer from VMI, had a game-high-tying 15 points against Hartford. He also had game-highs in assists (four) and steals (four).

“He played a tremendous floor game,” Stonehill coach Chris Krauss said.

Felder said that after he put his name in the transfer portal this past summer, he got a 2 a.m. call from Krauss. Felder asked for the No. 10 jersey, and when he got it, he told Krauss the following:

“I’m going to put it to good use.”

Still, the Skyhawks have struggled this season, and part of the problem is that they have played just four home games. They are 0-9 on the road.

Felder, though, said he “can’t wait” to play Miami.

“It will be a great experience,” Felder said

–Field Level Media

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