Canes Fall to Gators, 77-67

CORAL GABLES, Fla. - The Miami Hurricanes had the upset within reach with the score tied 67-67 with two minutes left in the game, but could not get a basket as the #5 Florida Gators improved to 11-0 on the season with a 77-67 victory.

"It was a high-level ball game," said Miami head coach Frank Haith. "Obviously we were very disappointed in the outcome. I thought the Florida team really just wore us down at the end. Their guys physically just took over at the end of the game."

Florida was led by strong frontcourt play including an 18-point, 8-rebound effort from Joakim Noah.

Florida outscored Miami 34-8 in the post.

"I don't think there is a better four-man group of post players in the country," Haith said.

Miami (6-5) held the NCAA team leader in field goal percent to just 38.6 percent shooting as the Gators came into the game shooting 54.4 percent as a team.

It wasn't enough.

Guillermo Diaz led the Hurricanes in scoring with 25 points making 8-of-18 shots including 3-for-6 from behind the three-point line and 6-for-7 from the free-throw line.

Diaz did everything he could to carry the team. He made some nice individual plays including acrobatic layups and jump shots.

"Guillermo played great," Haith said. "There were some plays late in the game where he could have slowed down a bit."

Robert Hite, Miami's second leading scorer this season, was not able to get into a good rhythm as he dealt with foul trouble the entire night. Hite finished with 12 points in 17 minutes.

He picked up his fourth foul with 15:40 left in the second half on a double-foul call with Corey Brewer.

According to Hite, Brewer latched on to his arm and wouldn't let go. When Hite turned to the official to show him what was going on he deciced to give them both fouls.

Throughout the game the Florida guards, Taurean Green and Lee Humphrey, came up with key three-point shots. The starting backcourt combined for 8-of-13 from behind the three-point line.

Miami did get steady play from Anthony Harris who scored a season-high 16 points, but he would have liked to have had the last minute of halftime back. With the Hurricanes hanging on to a 33-30 lead Harris committed an offensive foul with 3 seconds left and fouled Corey Brewer with 1 second remaining on a three-point shot. Brewer made things worse for Harris and the 'Canes as he hit all three of his free-throws to go into halftime with a 33-33 tie game.

MIAMI (6-5) - Diaz 25, Harris 16, Hite 12, King 4, Clemente 3, Wilkins 3, Thomas 2, Graham 2

In attendance: Miami football head coach Larry Coker sat courtside along with Miami Heat guard Dorell Wright.

Next game: December 27 vs Stetson

Christopher Stock is a Senior Editor with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at stock@canestime.com

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