Austin, TX – Durand Scott led the way with 21 points and Shane Larkin chipped in 10 with nine assists, as the Miami Hurricanes breezed through the Pacific Tigers, 78-49, in their opening contest of the NCAA Tournament.
After surprising many by capturing the ACC regular season and tournament crowns, Miami (28-6) looked ready and raring to go in its first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2008. The Hurricanes converted 12-of-22 attempts from 3- point range and held Pacific to just 33.3 percent shooting from the field.
"Everybody shot the ball pretty well," said Larkin. "We rebounded, we defended, and we just stuck to the game plan. Coach told us what we had to do before the game started and we went out there and executed it."
Trey McKinney Jones added eight points and eight boards for the Hurricanes, who will take on Illinois in an East Region third round matchup on Sunday.
Pacific (22-13) couldn't keep up and prolong the career of longtime head coach Bob Thomason, who is stepping down after finishing his 25th year at the helm.
"So sometimes you meet those moments where you just don't perform very well, and that was us tonight," said Thomason. "So if I had to take a bad game in the last four, I would take tonight over the last three, because we got here and I'm really proud of that for the kids."
Travis Fulton had a team-high 18 points and Khalil Kelly finished with 11 and nine rebounds in defeat.
Fresh off their victory over North Carolina in the ACC title game, the Hurricanes came out ready to play on both sides of the ball and seemed to have little problem opening up a 22-7 spread following the completion of a 14-0 run at the 7 1/2 minute mark.
The Tigers went without a single point for seven minutes, and to make matters worse, entered the foul penalty near the 11-minute mark, which helped the Hurricanes to 11-for-13 from the free throw line in the half.
Kelly ended the scoring drought with a dunk, however Miami's lead would only expand, as Tonye Jekiri capped an ensuing 11-4 burst with two scores from inside to open up a 20-point lead with 2:19 left in the half.
Pacific, just 7-for-24 through the initial 20 minutes, got 3-pointers from Fulton and Markus Duran just before halftime, but continued to suffer through uphill battle after the break.
Nearly all by himself, Scott grew Miami's 40-19 halftime lead to 30 points just over eight minutes in by draining four 3-pointers and scoring 16 of Hurricanes' first 19 points of the second half.
Pacific never came closer than 24 points the rest of the way.
Miami has won five games in a row, but have never advanced past the Sweet 16 in the history of the program ... Pacific was making it fifth tournament appearance under Thomason, who compiled a 436-231 record while at the school ... The Hurricanes made 46.2 percent of their shots from the field and were 18-for-21 from the free throw line.