With the season on the line, the Miami Hurricanes needed to do everything in their power to hold onto life.
And they did.
Trailing by five points with 39 seconds remaining, the Canes were on the verge of receiving another loss in the final minutes to Virginia.
But Miami dug deep as freshman guard Rion Brown scored the last six points for the Hurricanes, including a 3-pointer and three free throws after being fouled on a 3-point attempt, sending the game to overtime.
The Canes went on to defeat the Cavaliers in overtime, 70-68, after hitting free throws down the stretch and holding onto a lead Saturday afternoon at the BankUnited Center.
It was a game that head coach Frank Haith and his team desperately needed.
“Our free throw shooting late in the game was the difference,” said Haith, whose team went 17 of 22 from the charity stripe. “We made our free throws. We’ve been in a lot of late games here. Our execution was outstanding late in the game.”
The last time the Hurricanes (14-9, 3-6 ACC) went to overtime was at Duke exactly two years ago. This was Miami’s first overtime win since beating Florida State, 84-78, in 2006 and its first at home in six years.
The biggest shots came from the bench against the Cavaliers (12-11, 3-6 ACC).
Redshirt senior forward Adrian Thomas scored 20 points, collected 10 rebounds and made a career-high six of 12 3-point attempts. Brown finished with eight points, but had the biggest shots of the game.
“He rose right up, went to the line, made three free throws,” Haith said about Brown. “He’s an outstanding scorer, a really good defender. He’s scrappy, tough. He’s getting better and better.”
The past seven games have come down to the final 10 seconds.
Miami has won its past two games, with a victory over Georgia Tech on Thursday, 59-57.
This marks the Canes’ first consecutive wins since late December.
The Hurricanes were on the brink of blowing a 21-point lead against the Yellow Jackets because of a season-high 28 turnovers. However, they held on and ended their four-game losing streak.
Redshirt junior guard Malcolm Grant lead the Canes with 15 points.
Miami will look to break its ACC road losing streak as it travels to Winston-Salem, N.C. to play Wake Forest (8-15, 1-7 ACC) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at email@example.com.