A shot at a second ACC Tournament championship was cut short in the quarterfinals as the ninth-seed Miami Hurricanes fell to one-seed North Carolina in blowout fashion, 78-53.
Although UNC came in as big favorites to win this game, Miami competed well in the first half, only trailing 34-29. Many people believed the Canes had a chance to pull off the upset.
The game was still in reach with 9:22 left in the second half, the Canes trailing 57-46. However, UNC would go on a 14-1 run for the next six minutes to put the game out of reach.
Freshman guard Bruce Brown, who had 30 points in the previous game against the Tarheels, was the only bright spot for the Canes. He scored 21 points, collected seven rebounds and went 9-13 from the floor.
Senior Isaiah Hicks was the star for UNC with 19 points on a perfect 9-9 from the free throw line.
Biggest difference in the game was that UNC shot 52.8 percent from the field while Miami was only at 35.8 percent. Although both teams had several fast-break buckets throughout the game, UNC appeared to have more opportunities in the second half off sloppy turnovers from the Canes.
The main concern for the Canes going into the NCAA tournament has been the team’s inconsistencies to play well in the second half, especially on defense, and it has shown in several games this season.
The road game at Duke earlier in the season saw the Canes up 36-25 at the half before being outscored 45-22 and losing 70-58.
Another game saw Miami up 33-26 at the half at Louisville but ended up falling in that one 71-66.
Even though the pressure of playing on the road in the ACC may have impacted the Canes, the team still has not shown the fight it should have at this point in the season.
The Canes have the Selection Sunday watch party at the Rathskeller coming up, and that should bring back the team’s excitement and motivation heading into March Madness.