McClellan helps No. 12 Miami to win over Florida State
MIAMI (AP) Call it the debut of 7-foot point guard Tonye Jekiri.
Jekiri had eight points, 10 rebounds and perhaps the play of the game as No. 12 Miami beat Florida State 72-59 on Saturday night.
Sheldon McClellan scored 20 of his 21 points in the second half of the Hurricanes' seventh straight win. Ja'Quan Newton had 13 points for Miami (13-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), and Davon Reed added 12 points.
But Jekiri had the most memorable moment in the first half. The senior center grabbed a rebound and made like a guard, racing all the way down court for a dunk, turning the right corner and speeding past Florida State guard Devon Bookert for a two-handed slam.
''I was shocked,'' McClellan said. ''I've never seen him do anything like that ... and dunk it with a Euro step over two guards. It was an impressive play.''
McClellan and coach Jim Larranaga said Hurricanes power forwards and centers work on a drill in which they rip, take one dribble and finish at the rim. But take it coast to coast under pressure?
''I've never seen him do that, even in practice,'' Larranaga said. ''Usually, he gives it up right away. But when he saw the open court, he just kept going.''
Reed went 3 for 3 from 3-point range to help Miami to a 32-24 halftime lead. He went 0 for 8 from beyond the arc in his three previous games.
McClellan missed all four of his field-goal attempts in the first half. He went 7 for 7 in the second half, including two 3s.
Larranaga said McClellan had ''great looks'' in the first half, but the shots just did not fall. Then, with 18:10 left in the second half, McClellan made a layup and that was all he needed to get going.
''After I made that layup,'' McClellan said, ''I felt it was my time to take over the game.''
Florida State (10-5, 0-3) has lost three games in a row, all in the ACC.
The Seminoles entered with some impressive performers, including the top two freshmen scorers in the ACC, Dwayne Bacon (17.2) and Malik Beasley (17.0), and the league's assists leader, Xavier Rathan-Mayes (5.7).
But they were all held in check. Beasley had 13 points, Bacon finished with 10 points, and Rathan-Mayes had four assists.
Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton credited Miami more than he blamed his players.
''Miami has guys at every position who are capable of hurting you,'' Hamilton said.
''Some of our better teams at Florida State came when we had older, more mature players. This (Miami) team is similar. They have guys who have been through the wars. They're confident, and they don't get overly excited.''
Florida State: The Seminoles were coming off a 106-90 loss to North Carolina. ... Florida State went 2 for 19 from 3-point range.
Miami: The Hurricanes led by as many as 17 points. ... Starting point guard Angel Rodriguez fouled out and had just six points and two assists.
Florida State visits North Carolina State on Wednesday.
Miami opens a three-game ACC road trip on Tuesday at Virginia.