It was only fitting for the men’s basketball team to lose their 10th game in a row by 10 points.
Miami dropped Tuesday night’s game to Seton Hall 76-66 at the Convocation Center.
The ‘Canes are now 13-15 with a 3-11 record in the Big East. They can just as much kiss a berth into the Big East Tournament goodbye. It seems like a long time ago that the Hurricanes had just won two in a row on the road over St. John’s and Virginia Tech and were sitting pretty near the top of the Big East standings. But the 10 losses have put them near the cellar and in danger of missing their own conference tournament.
This has been Miami’s worst season since 1993-1994 when they lost all 18 Big East games and were 7-20 overall. Every night during their current losing streak, there has been one opposing player who the Hurricanes have had absolutely no answer for. Tuesday night he came in the form of 5’10” senior point guard Andre Barrett, who poured in a game-high 23 points. Barrett hit his first eight shots on the night with his first miss coming midway through the second half. He had 12 points in the first 10 minutes of the game.
“The story of this game was our inability to contain Andre Barrett,” Head Coach Perry Clark said. “He really set the stage for a lot of the stuff that they did.”
The Hurricanes’ transition and interior defense left much to be desired as the Pirates scored at ease, hitting 54.9 percent of their shots. Darius Rice had a team-high 19 points in the losing effort, as he shot 5 for 11 from the field. Robert Hite added 18 points on 6 of 17 shooting.
Miami started the game on fire, building an 11-5 lead, but quickly gave it all back as Seton Hall went on a 14-5 run to grab the lead and never let Miami get within five points the rest of the night.
With a 32-25 advantage at the half, Seton Hall continued to pound the ball inside throughout the second half as it built a 14-point lead. The ‘Canes used a 7-0 run to cut the lead to seven with 10:20 to play.
Miami cut the Seton Hall lead to five at 66-61 after two Rice free throws, but the offense went cold with less than three minutes left. Barrett and second leading scorer Kelly Whitney (20 points) proved to be too much for whomever Clark threw
With less than 30 seconds to play, the crowd of 2,401 began to realize the dubious streak would extend to 10 games and showed their frustrations with a chant towards Clark. Seton Hall Head Coach Louis Orr spoke very highly of the Hurricanes after his team improved to 18-7 on the year, however.
“Miami’s a tough team, a dangerous team,” Orr said. “They’ve had so many close games and come from behind games; they are in every game they play. Those guys play hard, but sometimes it is tough to get over that hump”
The loss left the Hurricanes even further behind Virginia Tech in the Big East standings for the last spot for the trip to New York. All Miami can do now is take care of business in its final two games of the season, while hoping the Hokies lose out.
UM returns to action on Tuesday as they travel to Pennsylvania to take on Villanova in their final road contest of the year. The final home game will be Saturday March 6 against West Virginia.
“We have to go into the next two games relaxed,” Rice said. “We still have a chance and we can’t pressure ourselves into thinking we have to win. We know what we have to do and we have to stay lose and do it.”
Douglas Kroll can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.