The men’s basketball team’s struggles continue, as they lost 81-70 to the University of Virginia on Saturday night. The loss was the sixth straight for the Hurricanes (9-14, 2-7 ACC), who have only won once in the past month.
The Virginia Cavaliers (15-6, 7-2 ACC) took an early lead, hitting three consecutive three-point baskets to take an 18-8 lead with 13:46 left in the first half. After Miami got within three points, Virginia went on a 20-7 run to end the first half.
At halftime, with the score 41-25, the Cavs were already shooting 8-of-16 from behind the three-point arc.
Both teams traded baskets for most of the second half, with Miami posing little threat of a comeback. The Hurricanes were unable to come up with key defensive stops down the stretch, and never got closer than within 11 points.
Virginia was led by guard Sean Singletary, who finished with 22 points on 5-of-8 shooting, while shooting 4-of-6 from three-point territory. Virginia guard J.R. Reynolds chipped in with 18 points, seven rebounds, and five assists.
The Cavaliers shot 47 percent from the field, while connecting on 11-of-27 three-point field goals. Miami’s leader was Jack McClinton, who had 18 points, despite only shooting 4-for-13. The ‘Canes struggled to find points in Charlottesville, shooting only 36 percent collectively.
Perhaps the biggest problem for Miami during this six-game losing streak has been their three-point defense. Over their past six losses, the Hurricanes have allowed their opponents to shoot a combined 48 percent from the three-point line, while giving up an average of 9.5 three-pointers per game.
Meanwhile, Miami has shot a dismal 31 percent from behind the three-point arc.
Although the injuries of Miami’s big men have been a well-documented detriment for majority of this season, a major issue for the ‘Canes has been their inability to contain the stellar guard play from their adversaries.
Five of their past six opponents featured leading scorers from the backcourt, with four of them scoring 20 points or more.
Another problem has been the Hurricanes’ rebounding woes. Over their past six losses, the ‘Canes have been outrebounded by an average of 9.7 rebounds.
Although McClinton seems to have bounced back from his scoring slump, he has received little help from his fellow backcourt members. Denis Clemente, who scored a career-high 24 points in Miami’s loss to Virginia Tech, has scored just five points in each of their last two losses. Senior point guard Anthony Harris has struggled, with 13 assists and 17 turnovers over the past six games.
Miami will look to find their first February victory on Wednesday night against Boston College, who has won three of their last four contests. The game will be Miami’s first home game since their loss to Virginia Tech on Jan. 23.
Joel Brown may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.