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Friday, January 27, 2023



Nov. 20, 2001 – The Miami Hurricanes got tried and tested by the University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers but held on to claim the victory 81-79 Monday night, securing a berth in the men's division championship of Paradise Jam 2001 at the University of the Virgin Islands.
The NCAA action in the Sports and Fitness Center was intense, and the fans got their money's worth and more. The game was a contrast of styles. The Blazers used their quickness to break down Miami's defense, which led to getting easy scores. The Hurricanes utilized their size to control the half-court game.
The Hurricanes controlled the first half from the jump ball and led the entire game. However, the Blazers were never out of the contest, closing in a few scoring bursts to within two points of Miami in the first half.
The second half saw UAB come back with a blaze of fire power. With six minutes remaining, they trailed by one point, 67-66. However, the Hurricanes built their lead back up to seven before the Blazers would come to within one point again with 35 seconds remaining in the game.
The Blazers fouled Hurricanes guard John Salmons with 10 seconds left. Salmons missed the first free throw but hit the second one to give Miami a two-point lead. "We knew that whether I made them both or missed them, would have to rely on our defense down the stretch," Salmons said after the game.
UAB was unable get a final shot off before the buzzer and the Hurricanes squeaked away with the victory. "We had the ball with a chance to win. We could not ask for more," Blazers head coach Murry Bartow said. "We'll rebound from this loss."
Hurricanes head coach Perry Clark conceded, "This is the first time anyone has been this competitive with us. This was a real test."
The Miami players themselves were more self-critical after the game. "This was a poor performance for us," Salmons said. "We will learn from this experience." Forward Darius Rice said, "We lost our fire down the stretch. After our blowout game [trouncing Eastern Michigan 93-56 in their opener Sunday night], we got a little cocky."
Rice led the Hurricanes Monday night with 23 points, adding seven rebounds. Salmons and Marcus Barnes had 20 and 19 points, respectively.
Morris Finley led the Blazers with 17 points. Teammate Myron Ransom contributed 16 points. Will Campbell grabbed 11 rebounds.
The Hurricanes go into the championship with a 2-0 record. They'll face the Clemson Tigers Tuesday night. The Blazers dropped to 1-1 and will face LaSalle in the other men's division game.
On Saturday, eight NCAA women's teams will face off for another three-day contest. For the full tournament schedule, see "NCAA basketball tourney set for November".

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