Is the University of Miami a basketball school now? At least this year it certainly seems like it. The undefeated and 15th ranked Miami Hurricanes topped number 24 Illinois 70-61 in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.
In all, 2,003 students packed in the Bank United Center's student section to watch the game, breaking the school's student attendance record at a men's basketball game.
— Christina De Nicola (@CDeNicola13) December 3, 2014
To put that in prospective, student home attendance during the school's ACC title winning run during 2012-13 season never peaked above 1,300. The school claims that the record last night was broken by about 300 students. Though, it seems likely that the school opened up more seats for students last night as student tickets are usually limited.
Still it's an impressive notch for a non-conference game so early in the season. Though, the Canes have never been ranked so high so early in the season before.
The Canes improved to a 8-0 record and now have two victories over ranked teams after having earlier surprised Florida.
Last night's game also proved the Canes have a solid lineup. Deandre Burnett came off the bench to lead the team in scoring with 19 points. He's the fourth player in eight games to lead the team in scoring. While Sheldon McClellan notched 14 points and Manu Lecomte was responsible for 15.
"It definitely felt like a basketball school," McClellan told ESPN afterwards. "The students came out and supported us and we thank them for that. We'd like to have them come out every game like that. That was a big boost for us. It gave us energy and positive things to feed off."
Even zen-master coach Jim Larranaga couldn't hold back his excitement.
Traditionally a football school, the record breaking crowd assembled while rumors swirled that football coach Al Golden may be on the hot seat after completing a 6-6 season. It seems students were definitely eager to keep that out of their minds last night.
Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.