CORAL GABLES, Fla. — The attendance-challenged Miami Hurricanes drew a sizable, boisterous crowd for Wednesday night’s game against No. 13 Michigan State. And when it ended, many of the fans stormed the court in celebration.
Senior Trey McKinney Jones scored a career-high 18 points and Miami held Michigan State without a field goal for a pivotal 5-minute stretch in the second half in a 67-59 victory.
Miami (4-1) held the ball in the final seconds to run out the clock, and students in the crowd of 5,791 then swarmed around their team at midcourt.
“I was thinking, ‘This is what college basketball is all about,’” coach Jim Larranaga said. “In fact, what I was really thinking was, ‘This is what being a college student is all about.’ Your greatest memories don’t come in the classroom. They come at events like this that you’ll remember years down the road.”
The Hurricanes’ second-year coach has worked hard to boost attendance, dispatching his players to dormitories to distribute pizza and chicken wings.
But Larranaga knows winning is the best way to create a bandwagon.
“This was November’s highlight,” he said. “Now we need to get some December highlights.”
McKinney Jones went 5 for 7 from 3-point range, including a basket that capped a 14-2 run to start the second half that put the Hurricanes ahead 41-33. The lead grew to 57-45, and they went 8 for 8 from the free throw line over the final 2:11 to seal the victory.
In the postgame frenzy, fans hoisted the team mascot and guard Durand Scott on their shoulders and chanted, “A-C-C.” The game was part of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
“Kudos to our fans, man,” center Reggie Johnson said. “They really helped us come out on top. They were rocking.”
Keith Appling had 15 points for the Spartans (5-2), who lost for the first time since the season opener against Connecticut.
Two Michigan State players — Gary Harris and Travis Trice — returned from injuries, and while coach Tom Izzo was glad to have them back, he was unsure how to tweak his substitution pattern.
“That was a hard game to coach,” he said. “I didn’t know how to approach it, and I probably didn’t do a great job. It’s going to get better once we get our rotation down. I still like where I think we’ve got a chance to go, but I sure don’t like it right now.”
The Spartans cut down on their turnovers — they had 12 after totaling 20 in each of the past two games. Even so, they struggled with their half-court offense, and stayed in the game only because they had 16 offensive rebounds.
Michigan State trailed 48-42 with 10 minutes left, then went without a basket until Branden Dawson scored to cut the deficit to 57-47 with 4:55 left.
“We’ve got to get a get a couple of guys playing harder, and we’ve got to get a couple of guys playing better,” Izzo said.
Michigan State’s point total was a season low. Izzo’s team was outscored 40-28 in the second half, when it went 11 for 30 from the field.
Scott and Shane Larkin scored 15 points apiece for the Hurricanes, who went 9 for 16 from 3-point range and had only nine turnovers. Johnson had 10 points and 11 rebounds.
Harris had 12 points for the Spartans, and Dawson added 11.
Scott penetrated easily at the outset and scored nine consecutive points to help Miami take the lead. Trice and Harris hit 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to give the Spartans their biggest lead, 28-23, and they were up 31-27 at halftime.
“We took a few punches from Michigan State,” Larranaga said. “We needed to fight back, and we did.”
McKinney Jones hit from 3-point range for a 51-42 Miami lead, and made another 3 to beat the shot clock and make it 55-45.
“Every one of my 3s came from a pass,” he said. “My teammates were just finding me in the right spot.”
Scott’s two free throws gave the Hurricanes their biggest lead at 57-45, and thereafter Michigan State got no closer than eight points.
“It’s not the highlight of our season,” Johnson said. “It was a heck of a game, but we have to continue to get better.”
No. 9 ARIZONA 93, NORTHERN ARIZONA 50
TUCSON, Ariz. — Mark Lyons scored 18 points and Nick Johnson had 10 points and seven assists for Arizona.
The Wildcats (4-0) overwhelmed the Lumberjacks from the get-go, showing no signs of rust after an eight-day break.
The Wildcats built an 18-point lead in the first half and shut down Northern Arizona in the second for their 29th straight win over the Lumberjacks (2-4).
Arizona shot 58 percent, made 12 of 21 from 3-point range and had 22 assists on 30 field goals to kick off a stretch of four games in 11 days.
Solomon Hill had 17 points, Brandon Ashley grabbed 11 rebounds and Johnson added four steals for the Wildcats.
Dewayne Russell had 13 points and Blake Hamilton 11 for Northern Arizona, winless in 24 all-time games against ranked opponents.
BOISE ST. 83, No. 11 CREIGHTON 70
OMAHA, Neb. — Derrick Marks scored a career-high 35 points, including 18 straight in the second half, to lead Boise State to the upset.
The Broncos (5-1) beat a ranked opponent for the first time in four seasons and beat one on the road for the first time since March 2005.
Creighton (6-1) hadn’t lost a regular-season November home game since 1989.
Anthony Drmic had 17 points and Jeff Elorriaga added 12 for the Broncos.
Doug McDermott led Creighton with 21 points.
Creighton got within five points in the last 3 minutes of the game, but Drmic scored twice and Marks made four free throws to seal the Broncos’ first win over a ranked opponent since they beat Utah State in February 2009.
The Broncos had come into the game having lost 18 of 19 on the road against ranked teams, with the lone win against Nevada in March 2005.
Marks scored 28 points in the second half.
No. 22 ILLINOIS 75, GEORGIA TECH 62
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Joseph Bertrand made 3-pointers on consecutive possessions and scored every point in a 10-0 run for Illinois in the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.
Illinois (8-0) took charge behind Bertrand, who also scored on a drives in the decisive surge to lift the Illini from a 58-54 deficit late in the second half.
The Illini finished the game on a 21-4 run.
Bertrand, a redshirt junior, scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half. Brandon Paul also scored 15 points for the Illini while forward Tyler Griffey and guard D.J. Richardson had 14 points apiece.
Kammeon Holsey led Georgia Tech (4-2) with 14 points while Jason Morris and Mfon Udofia scored 10 points apiece.
No. 24 UNLV 85, UC IRVINE 57
LAS VEGAS — Freshman Anthony Bennett and junior Mike Moser scored 19 points apiece to lead UNLV.
Using tenacious defense, the Rebels held UC Irvine scoreless during a crucial 5 minutes of the second half, long enough to widen their lead to 20 points and take the Anteaters out of the game. UNLV outscored UC Irvine 51-31 in the second half to pull away for the easy win.
Katin Reinhardt added 13 points for the Rebels (4-1).
UC Irvine (3-4) scored just 21 points over the final 14:59 of the game — nine of which came from the free throw line.
Daman Starring had 18 points and Adam Folker added 12 for the Anteaters.
No. 25 NEW MEXICO 76, MERCER 58
ALBUQUERQUE — Alex Kirk had 16 points and 13 rebounds and Cameron Bairstow added a career-high 16 points for New Mexico.
It was Kirk’s second straight double-double for the Lobos (7-0).
Travis Smith scored 16 points to lead the Bears (3-4).
Bairstow and Tony Snell combined for 14 points in a 17-2 New Mexico run that put the Lobos up 19-5.
Mercer was never able to get closer than eight points the rest of the wa