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Miami blasts No. 16 Utah in Puerto Rico

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The Miami Hurricanes showed little respect for No. 16 Utah, rolling over the Utes, 90-66 in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The Hurricanes jumped out to a 46-32 halftime lead and never looked back in running their record to 4-0.

Sheldon McClellan led Miami with 27 points. He was 10 of 12 from the floor, including 3 for 5 from 3-point range. Tonye Jikiri had 20 points and 12 rebounds. Miami shot 53 percent from the field.

Utah was led by Jordan Loveridge with 18 points, while Jacob Poeltl had 16. The Utes shot 50 percent from the floor. Utah was out-rebounded 34-25.

After two Loveridge free throws, the Utes trailed only 39-32 with 1:26 remaining in the first half. The Hurricanes scored the final 7 points to build the lead to 14  at the intermission.

Midway through the second half, Utah had several opportunities to get the lead down to single digits, but were unable to make a key shot. Miami went on a 20-9 run to put the game out of reach.

The victory moves the Hurricanes into the championship game of the Tip-Off, where they will face the No. 22 Butler Bulldogs on Sunday. Butler edged Temple, 74-69 to earn their place against Miami. On Thursday, the Hurricanes routed the Mississippi State Bulldogs, 105-79.

Miami has won their four games by a combined total of 97 points. Though not ranked, Miami is projected to finish in the upper half of the ACC this season.

By their performance so far, respect given to the Hurricanes seems to be well placed.

Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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