It was a truly shocking showdown at the BankUnited Center Wednesday night: A Duke team angry after their first in-conference loss versus a hot-and-cold Miami Hurricanes squad who lost by double-digits on the road earlier in the month. It was clear from the get-go who would win. Only it wasn’t.
Miami’s stifling defense, another great game from Jack McClinton and the performance of a lifetime from new superstar Dwayne Collins gave Miami their first win over Duke since the Kennedy administration.
But the win could not have been without the crowd. As a longtime critic of the fan base in Miami, I must admit that the audience at the BUC on Wednesday was unprecedented. When Lance Hurdle buried his three-point attempt to give Miami a 50-39 lead, the building was as loud as I’ve ever heard it, and it stayed that way the rest of the game.
Even the general admission fans, who are typically a pox on the rooting faithful, were up on their feet. From my spot in the student section, only one disgruntled fan could be seen asking people to sit down in front of him, nearly causing a fight. It’s incidents like that which cause people to question Miami’s fandom.
Unfortunately, not everyone was in such a jubilant mood. Specifically, I’m talking about Andy Frain Services, the security provider for the BankUnited Center. Again, by preventing students from rushing the court to “keep them safe,” they unnecessarily put students in danger by causing a crushing effect in the middle of the crowd. Anyone familiar with the Hillsborough Disaster can attest to the fact that causing a human logjam like that is an easy way to get a lot of people killed. As mentioned more specifically in Zack Loss’ commentary, the security seemed to relish the opportunity to add misery to such a wonderful evening. The bodyslamming should have stopped at last weekend’s Kimbo Slice fight.
To this school’s administration: security must be seriously analyzed, and the possibility of rushing must not be dismissed out-of-hand. Something must be done about this before the injuries become more serious than my bloody toe and bruised legs.
But no matter, the team came up with its biggest assist of the night, when they came to the students when the students couldn’t come to them. The image of Brian Asbury, Jon Stratton and McClinton on top of the baseline table throwing up the U will be forever seared into the memory of any true Canes fan who was at the game.
Treasure these games, fans; they don’t come around too often. Miami’s only beaten a top-five team three times: Connecticut on the road in 1999, and Duke at home way back in 1962. While Miami seeks to find itself when it comes to basketball, any victory over a perennial powerhouse like Duke is to be held close, always remembered and passed down through the generations like a good story should. After wandering through sports purgatory for far too long now, we owe it to ourselves.
Matthew Bunch may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.