ATLANTA, Ga. — Miami coach Jim Larranaga met with Malcolm Grant this week to make sure the senior guard understood the Hurricanes need his scoring more than his assists.
Grant, who had scored in double figures in only one of Miami's first four Atlantic Coast Conference games, made four 3-pointers and scored 16 points to help the Hurricanes beat Georgia Tech 64-49 on Tuesday night.
Kenny Kadji scored 21 points to lead Miami (11-7, 2-3), which has won two of three. The Hurricanes took only their second road win in seven tries.
Kadji scored in double figures for the 10th time in 11 games. The key for Miami was having Grant, who led the team with 14.8 points per game last season, join Kadji as a top scoring threat.
"We had a conversation with Malcolm yesterday to explain to him we don't expect him to get a lot of assists," Larranaga said, adding that effective passes from Grant are good, but his scoring is crucial to Miami's success.
"What we do expect from him is to shoot, and he's a great shooter and if the others guys are working to get him open and he gets open, he is to shoot the ball with confidence," Larranaga said.
Grant made 4 of 6 3-point shots.
"That's basically his job, to make 3s," Larranaga said.
Grant scored in double figures in eight of Miami's first nine games but he suffered a sharp decline in production after attending his older brother Yatti's funeral in New York and missing two games. He scored in double figures in only one of his first five games following his return, leading Miami with 16 points in the Hurricanes' first ACC win over Clemson last week.
Grant said "everything I do" is dedicated to his late brother, who was 36.
"On the court, off the court, everything I do is for him," Grant said. "We were so close."
Grant wouldn't say he has regained his shooting stroke.
"I don't want to jinx myself," he said. "I was able to play pretty well tonight. Hopefully, we can keep it going."
Grant led Miami with 11 points in the first half.
"Malcolm carried us in the first half, and we just followed his lead," Kadji said.
Kadji, who had 14 points in the second half, led Miami with eight rebounds.
Mfon Udofia had 14 points for Georgia Tech (8-12, 1-5). The Yellow Jackets, in last place in the ACC, have lost four straight and eight of nine.
Georgia Tech completed a stretch of three games in six days.
"We knew this stretch was going to be very difficult, the month of January," said Georgia Tech first-year coach Brian Gregory.
Gregory said his team improved by committing only eight turnovers but overall "didn't play well at all," especially on defense.
Georgia Tech had only eight assists, including five by Glen Rice Jr., who had 13 points and nine rebounds.
"We need to get better at making the extra pass, driving the ball and kicking it out," Gregory said.
"I think we scored on one true post move the whole night."
Georgia Tech trailed 49-39 after a free throw by Rice with 7:12 remaining. Back-to-back baskets by Kammeon Holsey cut Miami's lead to 54-45 with 4:26 remaining, but the Hurricanes answered with six straight points to push the lead to 15 points.
Grant had three 3-pointers in the first half. Freshman Shane Larkin's 3 gave Miami its big lead of the half at 31-17.
Rice made only 1 of 6 shots in the first half, and his frustrations were obvious when he missed two free throws with 18.9 seconds left before halftime.
Rice, who leads the Yellow Jackets with his average of 13.7 points, kept shooting after the break. Rice scored on a follow shot and then had a 3-pointer as Georgia Tech cut Miami's lead to double figures in the opening minutes of the second half.
"I guess I was just missing good looks," Rice said. "They played good defense, but I feel like normally I should make those."
Julian Royal had 11 points for Georgia Tech.
Attendance at Philips Arena, Georgia Tech's temporary home while its new campus facility is being built, was 5,009.