Miami will remember its first ACC showdown with Maryland for a long time.
Will Frisby hit two free throws with 0.8 seconds left in overtime to give the Hurricanes a 75-73 victory in front of 7,000 fans at the Convocation Center Saturday.
Guillermo Diaz led all scorers with 27 points and appeared to win the game at the end of regulation with a three-pointer from just inside half court, but the shot came after the buzzer. Robert Hite had 17 points and Frisby added 15.
The Hurricanes (14-7, 5-5) held the No. 22 Terrapins’ (13-7, 4-5) top two scorers, Nik Caner-Medley and John Gilchrist, to 16 combined points. Junior guard Chris McCray picked up the scoring burden with 23 points and reserve guard Mike Jones contributed 14.
Miami Head Coach Frank Haith said containment of Caner-Medley and Gilchrist was vital to the Hurricanes’ victory.
“I thought our defense was the key to the game,” Haith said. “Going into the game, Caner-Medley and Gilchrist were a focus of ours. We did a pretty good job of holding those guys under their average.”
The first half was regrettable for both teams, with Miami shooting 21 percent from the field and Maryland 31 percent. The Hurricanes did most of their early damage from the foul line, hitting 12 of 15 free throws. UM had a 29-26 lead at halftime.
The second half heated up quickly, with Maryland outscoring Miami 41-38. A Gilchrist three-pointer with 1:44 left gave the Terrapins a 65-64 lead, but Diaz responded with a nifty reverse lay-up to put the ‘Canes back on top.
Anthony King made one of two free throws with 15.3 seconds left to push Miami’s lead to 67-65. Travis Garrison rebounded Gilchrist’s miss and was fouled with 3.9 seconds left. He calmly sank both to send the game to overtime.
The Hurricanes started out strong in OT, but a McCray three-pointer with 1:14 tied the game at 73. A Caner-Medley lay-up with 14 seconds left was waived off for an offensive foul. Hite missed a jumper with three seconds left but Frisby got the rebound and was fouled. Frisby made both foul shots, and a last-second heave by McCray was off target.
Haith said the win should put the Hurricanes back in contention for an NCAA Tournament bid.
“I think it puts us right back in the middle of things in terms of the race,” he said. “I mean, we’re 5-5 in the league…that’s where you want to be.”
Eric Kalis can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.