CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) — Although their scoring performances topped the stat sheet, Zach Johnson and Chris Lykes earned rave reviews for helping contain the nation’s leading scorer.
Johnson and Lykes scored 22 and 21 points, respectively, to lead Miami to a 73-62 victory over Campbell on Saturday afternoon. The Hurricanes guards also were responsible for guarding Chris Clemons, who entered the game with a 30.5 scoring average.
Clemons finished with a season-low 19 points on 7-of-21 shooting. The senior guard scored 12 of his points in the final three minutes, when the Hurricanes maintained a double-digit advantage.
“I always like the challenge and basketball has been pretty much a challenge for me my whole life,” said the 5-foot-7 Lykes. “I just felt like to helping my team win the game. It wasn’t really too much me versus him going on because that’s not good for the team.”
The Hurricanes (8-4) were never threatened after building a 23-9 lead 10:35 into the first half. Johnson hit two 3-pointers that keyed Miami’s early run. Johnson shot 5 of 6 from behind the arc. The Camels (6-7) got no closer than 30-24 on a Clemons layup with 4:24 remaining in the first half.
“I was very pleased with the defensive effort by Chris Lykes and Zach Johnson throughout the game,” Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. “Chris enjoys a good challenge, but Zach Johnson was highly motivated to guard him as well.”
Clemons missed his first six shots and was held scoreless in the first 16 minutes of the second half.
“I thought they did a real good job on making it hard on Chris,” Campbell coach Kevin McGeehan said. “He probably got a little bit sped up and anxious to do too much early.”
Anthony Lawrence II finished with 11 points and Dejan Vasiljevic scored 10 for Miami, which won its third straight after a four-game losing streak. Larranaga used a seven-player rotation as the Hurricanes again played without junior forward Dewan Hernandez, who remains sidelined as the NCAA and the school continue to review his eligibility. Miami also lost center Dang Gek to a season-ending knee injury Dec. 1.
“We are happy with where we are right now,” Larranaga said. “We obviously are very short-handed. We’ve got some issues that we’re dealing with and hopefully we can somehow manage to figure out a way to defend well enough to stay in the game and make enough shots to put some pressure on our opponents.”
Johnson, a senior graduate transfer, reached 1,500 career points. “It means everything, I’m blessed,” said Johnson, who played his first three seasons at Florida Gulf Coast. “A lot of players don’t get a chance to score 1,000. To sit here in front of you guys, it’s just a blessing. It brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it.”
Campbell: Clemons surpassed 2,600 career points with his first basket of the game, a 3-pointer with seven minutes remaining in the first half. Clemons’ free throw with 3:07 remaining in the second half extended his double-figure scoring streak to 95.
Miami: The Hurricanes completed their nonconference schedule with five players averaging double-figure scoring. Miami is the only ACC team accomplishing the feat.
Campbell: The Camels return home Wednesday for their final nonconference game against Allen.
Miami: The Hurricanes conclude a four-game homestand and open their ACC schedule against No. 20 North Carolina State on Thursday.