Miami's offense couldn't connect at all, with Shane Larkin quiet and Reggie Johnson out, allowing Marquette to enter the half up 27-16.
Miami would shoot just 6-for-28 in the first, going 1-for-12 from three and registering their lowest first-half output of the season.
With Johnson out, Marquette's strategy was clear: they tried to trap Miami's ballhandlers hard when screens came, and dared Miami's non-Shane Larkin shooters to hit open looks. By and large, it worked. They forced some turnovers, and the Hurricanes would miss their first six three-point attempts. It might not be sustainable - Kenny Kadji and Trey McKinney Jones will hit those shots. More worrisome for the Hurricanes is their inability to hit contested shots around the basket without Johnson, as guys like Julian Gamble, Durand Scott and Kenny Kadji were simply not able to put the ball in the hole around the hoop.
And on offense, they made sure to get the ball into the post. One of the worst shooting teams in the tournament, moving the ball to the paint was already a part of their strategy, so this worked out.
Miami started out looking alright, with Kenny Kadji hitting two early buckets, and then things got ugly. Over the next eight minutes, they'd miss seven field goals and turn the ball over four times, while Marquette got out an 8-0 run. They'd push the lead to double digits when Jamil Wilson nailed two threes with a Trent Lockett tip slam mixed in between.
That lead would stay around 10, with two seperate sequeneces where Miami missed three shots on the same possession. A shot near the buzzer by Vander Blue gave Marquette the 13-point lead, their largest of the half.
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