December 21, 2014

Jim Larranaga is returning to New York with a sour taste in his mouth from Miami's last game.

The No. 18 Hurricanes look to recover from a 28-point defeat when they meet Larranaga's alma mater - Providence - on Monday night in Brooklyn.

Miami (9-2) had 10 days off between games, and it showed Friday in a 72-44 loss to unheralded Eastern Kentucky. The Hurricanes shot a season-low 29.3 percent and finished with their lowest point total while allowing the Colonels to make 14 3-pointers - a season high for an opponent.

''We were very bad from start to finish. They were very good,'' Larranaga said. ''Our lack of focus was very, very clear, whether it was because of the 10-day layoff or not respecting the opponent. Whatever the reason, there is no good reason not to play as hard as you can all the time.''

The Hurricanes have dropped two of their last three games. Their opponents have noticed as Providence (9-3) seeks a fourth straight victory.

"We're going to need to play well going into Monday night's game against Miami, who has struggled coming down the stretch here a little bit but we're going to get their best shot and hopefully they'll get our best shot," Friars coach Ed Cooley said.

Miami will seek better execution after averaging 9.7 assists in this 1-2 stretch. The Hurricanes averaged 15.6 during their 8-0 start.

''It's one thing if you miss shots, but we didn't share the ball very well,'' Larranaga said Friday. ''Because of that we didn't defend at all.''

Sheldon McClellan was the only Miami player to reach double digits with 14 points. Angel Rodriguez, second on the team at 13.0 points per game, went 0 for 6 from the field and scored one point.

Larranaga is a 1971 Providence graduate who finished his Friars career as the school's fifth-leading scorer with 1,258 points. His Miami staff also has two assistants from New York.

The Hurricanes will set their sights defensively on slowing down LaDontae Henton, the Big East's second-best scorer at 19.6 points per game.

Henton scored 27 points and Kris Dunn added 16 with 11 assists Saturday in an 85-65 rout of Massachusetts.

The Friars made a lineup change as freshman Ben Bentil made his first start with Tyler Harris coming off the bench. Harris scored 12 points in 16 minutes.

"As we get ready to get into Big East play, we have to continue to develop our young guys," Cooley said. "We need a little bit more offensive firepower coming off the bench."

Harris, a Long Island native, is the only Friars player from New York.

Providence is 2-1 against ACC teams, beating Florida State and Notre Dame and losing to Boston College. These former Big East rivals have split 30 matchups, with the Friars winning 78-66 in the last one in the 2009 postseason NIT.

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