In the regular season finale, the Miami Hurricanes caught the turnover bug and had a woeful second half against Georgia Tech.
Committing 21 turnovers, the Canes blew a halftime lead and dropped down by as many as 14-points to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, ultimately losing, 66-57.
The lost drops Miami to 18-13, 6-10 in the ACC.
In the final game being played at Alexander Memorial Coliseum, Georgia Tech (13-17,5-11) made sure they went out on a high note.
The Yellow Jackets press defense suffocated the Canes and erased the Hurricanes 10-point lead in the first half.
Georgia Tech, who leads ACC in steals and turnover margin, forced Miami into 14 turnovers in the second half and made the Hurricanes shoot 33 percent in the half.
“Obviously our inability to handle the ball was the difference in the game,” head coach Frank Haith said. “Georgia Tech pressures good, but I thought our guard play was not very good and particularly there in the second half. It’s as simple as that.”
Four of Miami’s five starters each had four turnovers apiece and were outscored 39-22 in the final half. The Yellow Jackets scored 23 points off Hurricanes’ turnovers. Over an eight-minute span in the second half, the Canes didn’t score a point on the Yellow Jackets.
Durand Scott finished with 13 points and Adrian Thomas added 14 points. Georgia Tech had 12 3-pointers, one shy of their season high.
“Our guard play, our point guard play wasn’t very good,” Haith said. “You’ve got to control the game. We had the lead, we never got into the offense like we did in the first half and they turned the heat up. I thought our cuts in pressure were slow, we were not cutting hard and it made it very difficult to get the ball inbounds. We weren’t decisive when in our attack, we were too tentative.”
Earlier this season the Hurricanes defeated the Yellow Jackets, 59-57, despite almost blowing a 21-point lead. In that game, Georgia Tech’s defensive pressure forced Miami into 28 turnovers.
Now, the Hurricanes will set their sights on the ACC Championship Tournament. The Tournament starts Thursday in Greensboro, N.C. The Canes already played on this court this season when Miami beat North Carolina-Greensboro last month, 78-58. Four players scored double-digits points and Miami finished with 12 3-pointers.
Last season the Canes got hot in the ACC Tournament when Miami went to the semifinals and lost to the ACC Champions and National Champion the Duke Blue Devils, 77-74. The Hurricanes lead at halftime and Scott finished with 21 points in that game. This year the Hurricanes will need to do even more this year to get to the NCAA Tournament. In order for the Hurricanes to make the NCAA Tournament, Miami has to win the ACC Championship Tournament.
If the Hurricanes don’t win the ACC Tournament then, they will have to wait on a NIT Tournament bid. Last year, the Hurricanes didn’t receive a bid.
Lelan LeDoux may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.