It’s been the same story for the Hurricanes basketball team the last three years, they have dominated nonconference play and struggled out of the gate in ACC play.
Just like the two previous seasons, the Hurricanes have started out strong as the Canes have a 15-4 overall and are 1-4 in the ACC riding a three game losing streak.
Last week the Hurricanes cracked the Top 25 for the third year in a row, a first in school history.
This season the Hurricanes have had two different winning streaks; one consisting of eight games and the other was seven games.
The Canes finished its non-conference slate with a perfect 14-0 record this season.
But after beating up on cupcake teams like Florida Gulf Coast, USC Upstate and Stetson, the Canes played three of their first four ACC games on the road.
After losing to Boston College in early December, the biggest win for Miami came in the Hurricanes home opener in the ACC on January 9th against Wake Forest. With an ACC loss already underneath their belt, UM came out determined to succeed. Miami pulled out a nail biter against the Demon Deacons, 67-66, and giving the Hurricanes two consecutive wins over Wake Forest the past two years.
Senior forward Dwayne Collins carried the Hurricanes with 23 points and 11 rebounds. With 30 seconds left, senior guard James Dews scored the winning shot – a put-back off a missed Collins layup.
The Canes then struggled getting off to hot starts against Virginia Tech and Virginia last week. They never led in either game and lost by an average of 16.5 points per game.
Facing an essential must win home game against Boston College Tuesday night, the Hurricanes responded by blowing a 10 point halftime lead to the Eagles in a crushing 79-75 loss. The Canes led by 17 at one point early in the second half but saw the lead evaporate with 2:50 left as junior Joe Trapani hit a reverse layup as the shot clock expired to give the Eagles their first lead of the ball game that they would not relinquish.
Trapani finished with 31 points. Redshirt freshman center Reggie Johnson finished with a career high 15 points and tallied nine rebounds. Despite the individual success, he was discouraged with the loss.
“It’s disappointing but we have to keep fighting. We have a week off to get ready now for our next game,” Johnson said.
The Hurricanes have three players averaging double-digits points. Collins leads the team in scoring while Dews and sophomore guard Malcolm Grant are right behind him. Collins also leads the team in rebounding averaging a shade under 10.
Haith believes Collins needs to be successful in conference play to carry the Canes.
“We need that consistently for us to be as good as we think we can be,” Haith said. “That’s something we talked about with Dwayne throughout his career, and he’s very capable of it. We’ve got to establish Dwayne first.”
Freshman guard Durand Scott has been impressive so far this season. Scott has earned ACC Rookie of the Week three times this season. Scott leads all ACC freshmen and averages 4.1 assists per game and is third in assist-to-turnover ratio behind two seniors.
“I believe we have a lot of really good teams in our league,” Haith said. “I don’t know that I can pinpoint teams in that upper division right now. There’s a great deal of balance in this conference.”
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Justin Antweil contributed to this story.