NEW YORK -- An accomplished local product could play a prominent role for the University of Miami when the Hurricanes meet Temple in Tuesday's 7 p.m. NIT semifinal at Madison Square Garden.
Freshman guard Ja'Quan Newton, who scored 1,972 career points for Neumann-Goretti, is likely to be pressed into more service due to the wrist injury to point guard Angel Rodriquez.
A junior transfer from Kansas State, Rodriquez re-injured his wrist during Miami's opening 75-71 NIT win over N.C. Central. He has not played the last two games and coach Jim Larranaga didn't offer much hope when asked about his status on Monday.
"He is not likely to even be in uniform," Larranaga said during Monday's NIT press conference at the Marriott Marquis. "He hasn't practiced."
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound Newton is coming off one of his best games during Miami's 63-61 quarterfinal win at Richmond.
He had 11 points, shooting 4 of 10 from the field and 3 of 4 from the foul line. Netwon also chipped in with five rebounds and two assists in 26 minutes.
"He had a great game against Richmond and we needed every bit of his points, rebounds and assists," Larranaga said.
That was the second highest scoring output for Newton this season. He had a season-high 16 points in a 75-70 loss at Notre Dame on Jan. 17. For the season Newton is averaging 3.6 points and 1.3 assists in 12.6 minutes.
"He has been terrific," Larranaga said of Newton. "One of the things we measure is attitude because to really improve, you have to have a great attitude and he has been absolutely sensational."
The Owls know all about Newton and the rest of the Hurricanes through some thorough film study.
"He's a good player," Cummings said of Newton. "Then again, they have a lot of good guards we will have to deal with."
Another key for Temple will be limiting the three-point shooting of Miami. The Canes are shooting 36.5 percent from beyond the arc (compared to 30.9 percent for Temple).
Ironically, Newton, hasn't been much of a factor in Miami's three-point brigade. He has attempted just eight all season, having made two.
Yet he can impact the game in other ways, especially driving to the basket, as Richmond discovered.