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Undefeated 'Canes gear up for Big East

Compiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 31, 2001

MIAMI -- So far, this season couldn't be better for Miami.

The No. 24 Hurricanes have won their first 13 games, the first time they have gone through their nonconference schedule without a loss.

The latest victory came Sunday, 71-48 over St. Francis, Pa., behind 21 points by John Salmons.

"We're very, very pleased with the victory and anxious to move on," Miami coach Perry Clark said.

The Hurricanes are on the second-longest winning streak in school history. Miami opens its Big East schedule Wednesday at Georgetown. Then come games at Connecticut, St. John's and Virginia Tech.

"If we go out and play hard, Hurricane basketball, we can come out 4-0," Salmons said. "The strong start has given us the confidence to continue playing well when we go into the Big East."

The Hurricanes have defeated Indiana and UNC Charlotte, NCAA tournament qualifiers last season. There was also a victory over LSU on Thursday in the Sugar Bowl Classic in New Orleans.

"I had some concern because of where this game fell, between LSU and Georgetown," Clark said of a possible letdown against St. Francis.

But Clark's worries ended soon after tipoff. Miami moved ahead 14-2 in the first seven minutes and never was threatened. The Red Flash did not score a field goal in the game's final seven minutes.

For UM, Marcus Barnes finished with 12 points, including 3 of 7 3-pointers. Elton Tyler added 10 points and four of the team's season-best 10 blocks.

Reiner Mougnol led St. Francis (2-7) with 13 points and Steveroy Daley scored 12.

"We didn't expect to win this game," St. Francis coach Bobby Jones said. "This was more of a reward to get out of 20-degree weather and come to Miami."

ARK.-LITTLE ROCK 71, FIU 57: Mark Green led all scorers with 21 points and Nick Zachery added 17 as the visiting Trojans won the Sun Belt Conference opener for both teams. The win was the third straight for Arkansas-Little Rock (10-3). Carlos Morban led FIU (6-8) with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and 4 steals.

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