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Coleman's 30 keeps Rutgers in upset mode

2/17/2002

PISCATAWAY, N.J. (AP) -- If the a Rutgers opponent is ranked,
there's a good chance Jerome Coleman will help the Scarlet Knights
to a victory.

Coleman scored a career-high 30 points and Darius Rice missed a
potential game-tying 3-point shot at the buzzer as Rutgersearned a 64-61 win over Miami (No. 11 ESPN/USA Today, No. 13 AP) on Sunday.

In snapping a five-game losing streak to the Hurricanes (21-5,
8-5 Big East), Rutgers (17-8, 7-5) has defeated four ranked teams
in one season for the first time in school history.

The Scarlet Knights are 14-1 at the Louis Brown Athletic Center,
their best home start since 1981-82. It's the third straight time
Rutgers has won -- and Coleman has recorded a career-high -- against
a ranked team.

The junior college transfer had 26 against then-No. 17
Connecticut and 27 against then-No.24 Syracuse. The junior guard is
averaging 21.7 points in seven games against ranked foes and 16.7
points overall.

"I just like playing against the top competition," said
Coleman, who shot 9-for-17 overall and 8-for-16 from 3-point range.
"That's what makes you the person that you are, and I like to step
up big time against people who have so-called names and are the top
25 teams. I just thrive on things like that."

Rutgers coach Gary Waters said Coleman "shot the heck out it,
and when Jerome does that, we're as good as we want to be. When he
doesn't, we can have some problems, but he shot in the outer limits
today. He shot some long balls, but that's Jerome's range."

Miami, which trailed 61-52 with 54.5 seconds left, cut the
deficit to 64-61 on Rice's basket with 9.6 seconds left. Rutgers
then threw the ball out of bounds at the opposite end of the court.

Rice inbounded to John Salmons, who took the ball up the right
sideline into the forecourt. He then flipped a pass back to Rice,
who dribbled left to the top of the key and fired an off-balance
shot over Mike Sherrod and Rashod Kent. The ball bounced off the
back of the iron.

"When I let it go, it was lined up," said Rice, who had 21
points on 6-for-14 shooting. "It just was a little too long. I
have confidence in all my shots and I thought it would be wanting
to drop and send us into overtime. I guess it was just their
night."

With Rutgers leading 42-39 with 13:41 remaining, Miami shot just
2-for-14 over the next 13:04.

"They just pressured the ball and made perimeter players make
perimeter plays," said Salmons, who had 14 points, seven assists
and six rebounds but committed nine of Miami's 21 turnovers. "They
had tremendous pressure on the ball and we turned it over."

Waters praised Kent, who denied Elton Tyler the ball and held
the Hurricanes center to four points and five rebounds while
collecting nine points and 16 rebounds for himself.

"People tell me Elton Tyler is a pro, but Kent didn't let him
get close to the basket," Waters said.

Kent left immediately after the game because his mother, Brenda,
who came up from West Virginia to watch the game, was taken to a
nearby hospital late in the game.

Rutgers staff said she was taken to St. Peter's University
Hospital, but the hospital had no patient listed under her name.

Rutgers built a 61-52 lead during Miami's cold streak, as
Coleman hit three 3-pointers in a 19-13 run. James Jones stopped
the Miami dry spell and made it 61-57 with 25.7 remaining. Coleman
followed with two foul shots, Salmons answered with a driving layup
and Coleman made one of two from the line to give Rutgers a 64-59
lead with 17.5 seconds left.

Rice then scored on a drive and Rutgers turned it over to set up
the Hurricanes final attempt.

"We wanted John or Darius to take the shot," Miami coach Perry
Clark said. "We tried to run a circle play where a guy runs hard
and hands it off, and tries to suck up the defender so we can pitch
it out to get an open shot. But they really didn't come off any of
our guys."

Ricky Shields added 17 points and five assists for Rutgers,
which won its third straight and sixth in seven games despite
shooting 34.4 percent and committing 20 turnovers.

"The biggest part of the game was our turnovers," Clark said.
"We tried to get the ball to certain places and they did a very
good job of not allowing us to do that. Our inability to execute a
halfcourt offense hurt us."

Miami, which had come back from second-half deficits eight times
this season, shot 41.3 percent and was outrebounded 41-33 in losing
for the second time in three games.

Rutgers held Miami without a basket for the game's first six
minutes in taking a 12-3 lead, but the Hurricanes gradually battled
back and took their first lead at 22-21. The Knights went into
halftime with a 31-28 lead after Coleman hit a long three-pointer
as time ran out.