Scott leads Miami past Missouri St. in NIT
CORAL GABLES - Adrian Thomas was staring at the end of his Miami career - and not quite ready to say goodbye. Thomas, a sixth-year senior scored all 16 of his points in the second half to lead Miami to an 81-72 win against Missouri State on Monday night in the second round of the NIT. Second-seeded Miami (21-14) will visit Alabama Wednesday with a trip to New York for the NIT semifinals on the line. "I just wanted to win the game," Thomas said. "I don't want this season to end, because once it's over, it's official for me."Thomas said he focused on "staying calm" as Miami went into halftime trailing 32-26. Thomas scored 14 points - including four 3-pointers - in the first 4:15 of the second half. "A.T. was the reason we made that turnaround in the second half," said point guard Durand Scott, who led the Canes with 20 points. "We just came out aggressive and stayed together on the defensive side. And we let A.T. go to work on the offensive side." Added Thomas: "Once the first one went in, I just kept shooting." Hurricanes coach Frank Haith said Thomas helped revive his team, whose 21 wins this season are eighth-most in program history. "(Thomas) gave us a spark," Haith said. "In the first half, we were stagnant. They were switching on ball screens, and we did not have good movement." Missouri State (26-9) never fully recovered from Thomas' run, but managed to cut the deficit to 78-72 with 47.1 seconds left. The Bears fouled Scott, who made one of two free throws. Miami then sealed the game with a steal and two free throws by Rion Brown with 28.4 seconds remaining. Malcolm Grant had 10 points for Miami, and Reggie Johnson who had nine points and nine rebounds. Brown, who Haith said was suffering from strep throat, had seven points, all late. Missouri State was led by guard Adam Leonard, who was 7 for 8 from 3-point range and finished with 26 points. Kyle Weems, the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, shot 6 of 17 and was held to 18 points. Miami, which did not shoot a free throw in the first half, made 21 of 24 after the break. The Canes also scored 55 points in the second half. "Disaster," is how Weems termed his team's start to the second half. "(Thomas) got hot. He hit some shots with hands in his face, and we lost our composure. We got it back, but we dug ourselves too big a hole."