Opportunity lost against ‘Nova
Miami unable to score late, fall 72-67 to Wildcats
Youth and inexperience has continued to haunt the Hurricanes during close games all
season. In contests decided by five points or less, the ‘Canes have won only
three while coming up short on eight different occasions.
That troubling pattern continued Saturday night as the ‘Canes (9-10, 2-6 Big
East) lost in overtime, 72-67 to the Big East leading Villanova Wildcats
“This one just hurts,” head coach Perry Clark said. “It would have been a tremendous victory for us, but instead it’s a devastating loss.”
Miami fought back from a 38-26 half-time deficit to take a one-point lead with just over a
minute remaining. However, the ‘Canes let the game slip away by missing clutch free throws and getting the shaft on some controversial calls.
Darius Rice led the second half comeback with 19 of his 26 points there, including five three pointers. Rice scored 16 points during two separate 8-0 runs, the second of which tied the game at 50 points. But even with Rice providing some heroics, the ‘Canes still managed to make enough mistakes to let the Wildcats run back to Philadelphia with a win.
The Hurricanes had control of the ball with 18 seconds left when Allan Ray
fouled Miami’s freshman point guard Armondo Surratt. The freshman point guard, who came into the game shooting 52.4 percent from the foul line, missed both foul shots that would have put the ‘Canes up by three points.
The Wildcats proceeded to take the ball down court where James Jones got called
for his fifth foul. The foul allowed Derrick Snowden to tie the game with a free throw, and send the game to overtime
“If we made our foul shots, then it takes us out of harms way,” Clark said. “That was in our control, the other stuff was not and we didn’t do what we had control to do.”
The ‘Canes badly missed Jones’ presence in the paint in overtime as Villanova repeatedly made several lay-ups to take the lead. Ricky Wright sealed the victory for the Wildcats with four free throws in the last 18 seconds.
“It was just another one of those nights,” Rice said. “We had the game won and we didn’t pull it off. We had ourselves in a position to win the game and we shot ourselves in the foot again.”
The loss drops the ‘Canes below the .500 mark for the first time since the 1993-94
season. That year was also the last time the ‘Canes had two freshman starting for
them. Miami now sits in the cellar of the conference’s East Division and its record in overtime games this season stands at 1-4.
“It’s just very disappointing,” Clark said. “We have to find a way to bounce back and right the ship.”
-Nate Johnson can be reached at NPJ44@aol.com.