In a clash of ACC titans, the No. 12 Hurricanes avenged its Jan. 12 loss with a 64-61 victory over the No. 3 University of Virginia Cavaliers at the BankUnited Center Monday night.
The game came down to the final moments as UVA’s junior guard London Perrantes’ final three-point heave fell short as the final buzzers rang.
Miami is now 8-0 against ACC opponents at home this season.
The Canes were led early by junior guard Davon Reed, who hit two early triples to provide the Canes early offense.
Aside from Reed, both teams struggled to shoot from the field in the early going. At the 12-minute mark, the Canes had shot 3-of-10, and UVA was 3-of-11 from the field. The weak shooting was surprising, as both squads rank in the top 20 in the nation in adjusted offensive efficiency according to Kenpom.com.
With less the five seconds left in the half, redshirt senior guard Sheldon McClellan raced down the court and drilled an off-balance three to put the Canes up 30-25.
McClellan’s offensive production was below par to his standards, scoring only 11 points on 3-of-10 shooting. He came into the game nursing an ankle injury.
“It is getting to a 100 percent,” McClellan said.
The Canes came into the game the better rebounding team, outrebounding UVA 19-17 in the first half. They were led by redshirt junior forward Kamari Murphy, who had nine boards in the half.
Redshirt senior guard Malcolm Brogdon led the way for the Cavs with 11 first-half points.
The second half opened with apparent déjà vu, as Reed nailed two three-pointers to begin the second half as well. Reed finished the game 5-of-6 from deep with a team-high 21 points.
“What I liked about his game tonight was that he looked very calm,” Head Coach Jim Larrañaga said of Reed.
The score remained close as the teams traded buckets in the early part of the half.
Sophomore guard Ja’Quan Newton had an impressive series of plays, in which he blocked one of Perrantes’ jumpers, came up with the ball and went coast-to-coast, finishing at the rim to put the Canes up 45-41.
The Canes were leading 55-52 when UVA sophomore forward Isaiah Wilkins went down after appearing to hit his head on the court. He walked off the court with help from his Head Coach Tony Bennett.
Down only one point with 37 seconds left, Cavs’ senior center Mike Tobey missed a layup and fouled senior center Tonye Jekiri. Jekiri was again fouled on the ensuing inbounds play, and he headed to line where he converted one of the two free throws.
The Cavs came up empty on their following possession after a Brogdon three drew iron.
Newton extended the Canes’ lead to three points after he also sunk one of two shots at the charity stripe.
Perrantes raced down the court and dropped in a layup with only four second left, cutting the Miami lead back to one point.
UVA continued to implement the late-game intentional fouling technique, sending Reed to the line this time. Reed dropped in both free throws, re-upping the Miami lead to three. UVA’s aspirations to send the game into overtime fell short when Perrantes missed a potential game-tying three.
Despite scoring in double-digits in nine of the team’s last 10 games, redshirt senior guard Angel Rodriguez struggled, scoring only seven points on 3-of-10 shooting.
UVA is second in the nation in defense, allowing only 59.5 point per game. Their defensive helped them combat the rim rocking and crowd energizing dunks and alley-hoops that Miami likes to employ. In fact, the Canes only had five fast break points in the win.
Brogdon played well throughout the game, finishing with 28 points on only 18 shot attempts.
“Malcolm Brogdon showed what a great player he is,” Larrañaga said.
Monday night’s win came on the heels of the Canes being torn apart by UNC on Saturday afternoon.
“I thought our players showed what kind of winners they are by bouncing back and winning a heart felt contest,” Larrañaga said
The Canes will next be in action 2 p.m. Saturday Feb. 27 when the team takes on Louisville at the BankUnited Center.