Bell, Eagles hand UM first home loss

Just when their fan support was slowly increasing, the Hurricane men’s basketball team did something Tuesday night they had not done the entire season – lose at home.
Miami couldn’t match Boston College All-American guard Troy Bell and his seven points in the last two minutes, as the Hurricanes fell for the first time at Miami Arena this season, 70-65, in front of 5,174 fans.
Trailing 65-63 with less than two minutes remaining, Bell, who had been held scoreless for almost the entire second half, hit a three-pointer to give the Eagles (15-5, 4-3 in Big East) the lead. Miami (18-3, 5-3) missed its final six shots from the field, as Bell and forward Andrew Bryant each hit two free-throws in the final minute to seal the win.
Bell led all scorers with 25 points and guard Ryan Sidney scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Forward James Jones led the Canes with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Miami also connected on 25 of 26 shots from the free-throw line, but shot a poor 29.8 percent from the field.
“I think we tried doing the things we’re so used to doing like fast-break jump shots and trying to work the ball inside to guys like John Salmons,” UM head coach Perry Clark said. “They picked up on this and took that away. We just didn’t do a great job of recognizing what was available to us down the stretch.”
After trailing by as many as 10 points, the Canes used a 17-2 run to take a 56-51 lead with 9:49 remaining in the game. Down the stretch, Miami missed key three-point shots that would have put the game away and were held without a field goal for the final 6:16.
“I think we really didn’t have any flow or continuity at the end of the game,” UM forward James Jones said. “Everybody kept going for the dagger and we just let them back in it.”
Coming into the game, the Hurricanes had won four conference games and moved up to No. 15 in the Associated Press Poll. The Eagles had been ranked as high as No. 10 after a 12-1 start, but had dropped four of their last six games, including an 88-78 loss to top-ranked Duke.
“We can’t get caught up with how good our record is and how great our season’s gone so far,” Darius Rice said.
Rice epitomized the Hurricanes’ shooting woes, converting on only 1-of-9 three-point shots.
“We have to stay humble and go out and compete hard every night.”
Miami’s next competitor won’t be any easier as the ‘Canes will face No. 17 Connecticut tomorrow night at Miami Arena. Miami will try to avenge its 76-75 loss earlier this month at Storrs, Connecticut. After Tuesday’s defeat, the ‘Canes desperately need a victory if they want to maintain any chance of winning the Big East.
“We have to look forward to UConn now,” Rice said. “We have to try and knock them off and hope for two more losses to try and get back in this thing. We can’t dwell on it. We’re hurt now, but tomorrow’s a new day.”