The Hurricanes had hoped to ride the wave of a three-game winning streak into Tallahassee.
However, the ride stopped there, as Florida State defeated Miami, 65-59.
The Seminoles lead throughout the game, often by double digits. They immediately jumped out to a 16-2 lead after six minutes of play time. The score at halftime was 22 points in favor of FSU, but Miami managed to mount a furious rally. With 4:06 left to play, they’d come within 11 points.
With about one minute remaining, Malcolm Grant hit a 3-point shot to bring the Hurricanes to within 62-59. But with 31 seconds on the clock, FSU’s Okaro White scored a jump shot to make the score 64-59 and effectively end Miami’s chances.
“They jumped out on us,” said Coach Haith. “We were fighting uphill for the rest of the game.”
UM’s meager 16 points scored in the first half is a season low for the team, besting a previous low of 20 against Virginia and Rutgers. Miami hit just 3 of its first 20 shots.
Grant scored four second-half three pointers for the Canes, extending his three-point streak to 16 games. This is the second longest active streak in the ACC. Grant’s total on the season is 78 three-pointers, which ties for seventh-most by a Hurricane in a single season.
Grant lead the team with 19 points. Reggie Johnson followed with 17 points and 12 rebounds.
“I give credit to our guys,” Grant said. “We kept fighting and stayed together, but we just couldn’t pull it out.”
Haith recognizes that the Seminoles have an extremely strong team defensively. Miami’s shooting percentage in the first half was a disappointing 17.2 percent. In two losses to FSU, the Hurricanes have managed to shoot only 32.7 percent.
“I thought out guys let them push us away,” Haith said. “They were way more aggressive with us.”
Unfortunately for the Canes, that aggressiveness was more than they could handle.
“It was tough fighting on those guys all night,” Johnson said. “But if you want to win, you have to do it. It was a challenge, but that’s the game of basketball.”
Darci Miller can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org