The Hurricanes will be without their point guard for part of the stretch run.
Junior Ja’Quan Newton was suspended three games for a violation of team rules, the school announced 20 minutes before Wednesday’s 8 p.m. tip-off against Georgia Tech.
He will also miss Saturday’s game against Clemson and Monday’s game at Virginia. Freshman Bruce Brown will take over the point in his absence.
He is eligible to play in the Hurricanes’ final three games of the regular season: Feb. 25 against Duke, Feb. 27 at Virginia Tech and March 4 at Florida State.
Newton, who was elected one of three captains this year, started all 24 games before his suspension and was second in scoring (15.0 points). However, he struggled with turnovers, dishing out 87 assists to 84 turnovers.
He was suspended for three games last February for the same reason. As a sophomore, he averaged 10.5 points off the bench. That suspension all but removed him from contention for the ACC’s sixth man of the year award.
This suspension leaves Miami without one of its key veterans. Miami will play the next three games with eight scholarship players, two of them seniors (co-captains Davon Reed and Kamari Murphy), two of them sophomores and four of them freshmen — and one of them, forward Dewan Huell, who has struggled with a leg injury of late.
Miami (16-8, 6-6 ACC) is chasing an NCAA tournament berth. CBS Sports bracketologist Jerry Palm noted that the Hurricanes, who are is 2-6 against the RPI top 50, have two wins over teams likely to make the tournament (Virginia Tech, North Carolina). Both of those wins came at home.
“They need to continue to avoid bad losses and pick up another good win or two, ideally away from home. They missed a chance at Louisville,” Palm wrote, referring to Miami’s second-half collapse last Saturday against the No. 4 Cardinals.