Playing their first game without injured guard Bruce Brown, Miami struggled at times but pulled away over the last nine minutes for a 69-57 victory over hapless Pittsburgh on Wednesday in Atlantic Coast Conference action at Coral Gables, Fla.
Freshman guard Lonnie Walker scored 16 points, 11 of them in the second half and seven in a crucial second-half stretch, to lead the Hurricanes (16-5, 5-4 ACC). Guard/forward Anthony Lawrence had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds as Miami won the battle of the boards 39-24.
Guard/forward Jared Wilson-Frame led all scorers with 17 points for the Panthers (8-15, 0-10 ACC).
The Hurricanes increased a nine-point halftime lead to 13 points in the first two minutes of the second period, but the Panthers went on a 14-0 run and assumed their first lead of the game when Wilson-Frame’s 3-pointer put them up 44-43 at the 10:43 mark.
That was when Walker stepped up, scoring seven consecutive points to give the Hurricanes a 50-44 lead. Miami was back up by double digits, 57-46, with under five minutes left and rolled from there.
The defeat was the 10th in a row for the Panthers, matching the program’s longest losing streak.
Both teams started cold, combining for only five field goals in their first 19 attempts. The Hurricanes (3 of 10) came out of their funk first, pulling out to a 21-9 lead over the next four minutes.
They held a trio of 15-point cushions after that, the last at 34-19 on forward Dewan Huell’s jumper with 3:11 left in the period.
The Panthers closed the cap to 34-25 at the break. Miami finished the half 13 of 31 (41.9 percent) to Pitt’s 10 of 23 (43.5 percent) and owned a 20-11 rebounding advantage.
For the game, Miami shot 41.8 percent to Pitt’s 41.5 percent. However, the Hurricanes made 17 of 23 free throws, while the Panthers had only three foul shots, sinking all of them.
Brown, the team’s No. 2 scorer and leading rebounder, will miss about six weeks because of a foot injury.
—Field Level Media