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VIDEO: Miami’s Lonnie Walker skies for ridiculous putback dunk

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Miami freshman guard Lonnie Walker timed this one perfectly.

The 6-foot-4 McDonald’s All-American came from across the floor to hammer home a left-handed putback on Saturday as Walker showed why many consider him to be a potential one-and-done prospect.

After a career-high 26 points in a win over Boston on Tuesday, it appears that Walker might be gaining confidence as ACC season approaches.

Walker scores 26 to lead No. 10 Miami past Boston U 69-54

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CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — A breakout performance by Miami Hurricanes freshman Lonnie Walker IV earned him a congratulatory chest bump from the teammate he replaced.

Bruce Brown Jr., sidelined by a left hand injury, came onto the court during a timeout to join the celebration after Walker sank four 3-pointers in a 4-minute span Tuesday night, helping No. 10 Miami pull away from Boston University, 69-54.

“Since Bruce is down, I had to understand that I had to up my game,” Walker said.

Making his first career start, Walker scored a season-high 26 points. He shot 9 for 15, went 5 for 7 from 3-point range and added seven rebounds in 28 minutes, also a season high.

He smiled when asked about his chest bump with Brown.

“It was definitely an ecstatic feeling,” Walker said. “I was waiting for him. I saw him coming. I saw him excited. He was telling me, ‘Stay aggressive, shoot the ball, attack the rim.’ I had to listen to my older brother.”

Brown is expected to miss one more game before returning.

Dejan Vasiljevic had 15 points for Miami (8-0), which remained unbeaten in non-conference home games since November 2015.

Boston U (3-4) still hasn’t beaten a ranked team since 1959, and coach Joe Jones was impressed by the Hurricanes.

“They are a terrific defensive team,” Jones said. “Offensively they’re still growing, because these guys are young. They’re just going to get better and better. They can be a factor in March.”

Boston U never led but was tied at 30 at halftime thanks to a tip-in by Max Mahoney at the buzzer. Walker scored 16 points during a 25-8 run to start the second half that helped the Hurricanes take charge.

“It was a bit of a groove,” Walker said. “Confidence exploded up to like 100 percent. The rim got huge. The ball got smaller. Everything was kind of going my way tonight.”

Walker is coach Jim Larranaga’s most highly touted recruit at Miami. His point total was the highest by a Miami player this season.

“He was certainly in the attack mode from the very beginning,” Larranaga said. “Honestly, he just looked like Lonnie Walker to me. I mean, he scored 26 points and played great, but I’ve seen him play great a lot. This is just the beginning.”

The Hurricanes shot 52 percent and went 11 for 21 from 3-point range. They rank fourth in nation in scoring defense and held an opponent under 60 points for the sixth time.

Mahoney had 12 points off the bench for Boston U.

INJURIES

Larranaga said Brown has been dealing with a sore hand for weeks and aggravated the injury recently. It will take two to four weeks to fully heal, Larranaga said.

BUGABOO

Miami came into the game shooting 58 percent at the free-throw line and went 8 for 15.

ROUGH HOMECOMING

Terriers guard Cedric Hankerson, a Miami native, went 4 for 17 and scored 10 points.

BIG PICTURE

The Hurricanes have yet to trail in the second half this season.

Jones fell to 0-5 against ranked teams with the Terriers.

UP NEXT

The Hurricanes play at George Washington on Dec. 16. Their next home game isn’t until Jan. 7.

“We’ve got to treat every single game like they’re No. 1 in the country,” Walker said.

Boston U plays at Bethune-Cookman on Friday.
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For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.organd http://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Miami SG Bruce Brown Jr. to miss next 2 games

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No. 10 Miami will be without a starter for at least the next two games, beginning with Tuesday’s home game against Boston University. The program announced that sophomore guard Bruce Brown Jr. will miss at least two games due to a left hand injury, with the expectation being that he will be able to play in the Diamond Head Classic later this month.

After Tuesday’s game the Hurricanes will be off until December 16, when they visit George Washington. Following that is the Diamond Head Classic, with Miami opening play against host Hawai’i on December 22.

The 6-foot-5 sophomore from Boston is averaging 11.7 points, 8.6 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 32.3 minutes per game this season. Brown’s shooting 46.5 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from three, with both percentages being improvements from his freshman season.

In averaging 11.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game last season, Brown shot 45.9 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from three.

With Brown out of the lineup, freshmen Lonnie Walker IV and Chris Lykes stand to get even more opportunities for the 7-0 Hurricanes. As reserves Walker and Lykes are averaging 7.6 and 7.0 points per game, respectively. Walker’s played an average of 21.0 minutes per game, with Lykes not far behind with an average of 16.1 minutes per game.

Walker was moved into the starting lineup for Tuesday’s game.

Four Takeaways from No. 10 Miami’s win at No. 12 Minnesota

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After beginning the season with five consecutive wins, the toughest of which coming against La Salle in Lonnie Walker IV’s “homecoming,” No. 10 Miami was going to answer some questions about itself one way or another in Wednesday’s game at No. 12 Minnesota. The Hurricanes passed that test, beating the Golden Gophers 86-81 behind a balanced offensive effort in which Jim Larrañaga’s team found its way into the paint for much of the night.

1. Miami’s perimeter options make the Hurricanes a nightmare to defend.

This group of Hurricanes isn’t as experienced across the board as Larrañaga’s best teams at Miami have been, but what they do share with those teams is having a host of options capable of breaking down defenses off the dribble. JaQuan Newton, Bruce Brown Jr., Chris Lykes and the aforementioned Walker are all capable of making plays, either for themselves or their teammates. Miami was able to break down the Minnesota defense on a consistent basis, either by using the dribble to beat a defender straight-up or in ball-screen actions.

The Hurricanes shot 50.7 percent from the field and 10-for-25 from three, with many of those looks coming by way of dribble penetration that opened up shooters such as Brown, Anthony Lawrence II and D.J. Vasiljevic. To make plays offensively against the teams Miami beat for its first five wins is one thing; to go on the road in a tough environment against a quality opponent and do it is another.

2. The value of Dupree McBrayer was evident in Minnesota’s first defeat of the year.

This was part of the reason why Miami was so successful with its dribble penetration. With McBrayer, who was sidelined with a right leg injury, out of the lineup Minnesota went up against a team loaded with quality ball-handlers without an athletic off-guard who at 6-foot-5 has some size to him as well. Isaiah Washington made his first collegiate start as a result, and while the focus of some may be the freshman’s off shooting night (6-for-17 FG, 14 points) what Minnesota lost defensively was of even greater importance.

McBrayer’s a solid defender, and his versatility offensively — as he can operate either with or without the ball in his hands — makes the junior a valuable member of Richard Pitino’s rotation. It was clear that Minnesota missed McBrayer’s presence, especially when Miami was able to get rolling offensively via dribble penetration.

3. Dewan Huell continues to build on his positive start to the season.

With his 23 points on 10-for-16 shooting Huell, a McDonald’s All-American out of high school, scored in double figures for the sixth consecutive game this season. By comparison, as a freshman the 6-foot-11 Miami native reached double figures six times the entire season. With his athleticism Huell was able to finish multiple pick and roll actions above the rim, and despite the low rebound total (two) he more than held his own against the Minnesota tandem of Jordan Murphy and Reggie Lynch.

Huell’s play throughout the night afforded Miami the luxury of being able to devote more defensive attention to Murphy, who still went off for 17 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks (he’s that damn good). Miami shaded its defense towards Murphy for much of the night, and while he still got his Minnesota’s experienced front court tandem was not able to dominate the game. Lynch added 12 points, ten rebounds and seven blocked shots in a solid effort.

4. The Big Ten really needed Minnesota to come through.

With its win at Providence and Saturday’s neutral site win over Alabama, Minnesota’s got some quality results on its early-season résumé. As for the rest of the Big Ten outside of Michigan State and Purdue? Not so much, with Maryland having two wins over KenPom Top 100 teams in Butler and Bucknell. And given how much the Big Ten has struggled in this edition of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge, Minnesota finding a way to come back and defend its home court would have provided a needed boost in what has been a rough week for the Big Ten.

Minnesota will be fine; Washington and Nate Mason should get more comfortable sharing the court as two primary ball-handlers and McBrayer’s eventual return will help as well. But a team that’s gotten off to a good start to the season could have given its slumping conference a much-needed boost by beating a Miami team that at minimum has the look of an ACC title contender.

Wild sequence caps 1st half of Miami-Minnesota game

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The Big Ten/ACC Challenge hasn’t been all that close, with the ACC holding a 9-1 lead going into the late games on Wednesday’s schedule. No. 10 Miami looked to extend the ACC’s lead with a win at No. 12 Minnesota, but the two ranked teams would play the first half to a tie.

Two highlight-worthy plays ended the half, the first being Miami’s Dewan Huell throwing down a powerful dunk on Minnesota big man Reggie Lynch.

Minnesota would strike back on the other end of the floor, with Amir Coffey pulling a Blake Hoffarber and making a basket while seated on the Williams Arena court. The teams would go into the half tied at 36.

Jim Larranaga believes he’s ‘Coach-3’ in FBI investigation

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Despite losing key contributors Davon Reed and Kamari Murphy from last season’s NCAA tournament team, the Miami Hurricanes are expected to be a player both within the ACC and nationally this season. But instead of having the focus solely on the likes of JaQuan Newton, Bruce Brown and Lonnie Walker, Jim Larrañaga’s program is also having to deal with the impact of the ongoing FBI investigation into corruption and fraud in college basketball.

While no one connected to the Miami men’s basketball program was arrested last month, the program is referenced in the FBI report. On Monday, Larrañaga stated during a press conference that he believes that he is “Coach-3” in the FBI report. Larrañaga also maintained his innocence, saying that he had done nothing wrong while also being thankful that none of his assistant coaches were involved.

“It’s been a strain, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually,” Larrañaga said according to the Palm Beach Post. “It’s something that’s there. I have to deal with it. I have the support of my wife and a wonderful family. I have the support of the university, my staff and players.”

According to the FBI report, “Coach-3” requested that payments totaling $150,000 be funneled to “Player-12” in order to ensure his commitment to their university. It has been reported that “Player-12” was 2018 five-star prospect Nassir Little, who has also stated that he had done nothing wrong. Two of the schools recruiting Little at the time, Arizona and Miami, have been entangled in the FBI investigation to varying degrees.

While Miami has not had anyone connected to its program arrested, Arizona assistant coach Emmanuel “Book” Richardson was one of the four Division I coaches were were indicted. As a result Little removed both Arizona and Miami from consideration before ultimately committing to North Carolina earlier this month.

There’s no telling what the FBI investigation will ultimately uncover, which for the schools involved could take a heavy toll not only for the 2017-18 season but for future years as well. The FBI case has been comparatively quiet since the first set of indictments, with future moves likely to be influenced by what authorities learn from the ten individuals named in the first announcement.