The men’s basketball team fought valiantly to erase a seven-point halftime deficit on Saturday, but the Hurricanes fell to No. 21 Boston College 65-61 in front of a capacity crowd at the Bank United Center.
The Hurricanes (11-7, 3-2) had no answer for Eagles (14-4, 2-3) forward Craig Smith, who scored 18 points on an efficient six-for-eight shooting and nailed all six of his free throws, also dominating on the glass with 14 rebounds. B.C.’s second leading scorer, Jared Dudley, could only muster one point in the first half but broke loose for 14 points in the second.
Boston College snapped Miami’s four-game win streak and have defeated the Hurricanes in eight consecutive meetings.
Miami relied on its two backcourt leaders, Guillermo Diaz and Robert Hite, to give the Hurricanes a chance in the second half. Hite led all scorers with 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Diaz added 18.
UM Head Coach Frank Haith said he would have liked to see more offensive balance from his squad, especially down low, where the Eagles controlled.
“We need to get other guys involved,” Haith said. “There was too much pressure on [Hite and Diaz] to do so much tonight. The way they played, they kind of took our post guys out a little but. We would love to get more production out of our post players.”
With the outcome still in doubt, B.C. guard Tyrese Rice (nine points) hit an off-balance three-pointer while the shot clock expired to give the Eagles a 60-55 lead with 37 seconds left. The Hurricanes could only close within four points before the game ended.
“It was a deep three,” Haith said. “There were a couple of plays that were big, but that was the biggest. You have to give [Rice] credit.”
The Eagles put the clamps on the Hurricanes in the first half, as UM shot 7-for-32 from the field. Smith picked apart Miami’s interior defense, scoring eight quick points to help give B.C. a 19-11 lead. The Hurricanes went on an 8-0 run to tie the score, but the Eagles countered with seven straight points and closed the half with a 28-21 advantage.
Behind a raucous student section, Miami stormed back in the beginning of the second half with a 22-8 run in the first eight minutes, in which Hite and Diaz combined for 20 points. Haith said the fans deserve praise for maintaining their fervor throughout the evening.
“The atmosphere was great,” Haith said. “I want to thank all the fans because that was awesome. The atmosphere was as loud as it has ever been, and hopefully we won’t deter them from coming back with the loss.”
Ultimately, Boston College wore out Miami by constantly getting to the free throw line with Smith and Dudley.
“It was a hard fought game,” Haith said. “We just botched too many plays. B.C. is a really smart basketball team; they’re really experienced. They know how to play in tight situations.”
The Hurricanes return to action Tuesday night when they travel to Charlottesville to take on Virginia at 9 p.m.
Eric Kalis can be contacted at email@example.com.