Hurricane guard Jack McClinton had his most defining moment of the season Wednesday, knocking down two three pointers in the final two minuets to help Miami upset 24th ranked Virginia, 68-60, at the Bank United Center.
In a spirited second-half comeback, Miami erased a nine point halftime deficit to improve their record to 11-16 (4-9 ACC) while Virginia dropped to 18-8 (9-4).
Miami held Virginia without a field goal in the final four minuets and hit timely shots down the stretch to pull off the upset.
Guard Denis Clemente’s three pointer with 4:30 remaining tied the score at 58-58. After both teams struggled to score offensively, McClinton stepped up, hitting a fade away three pointer with 1:06 remaining to put Miami up 61-58.
After the Hurricanes called a timeout with 25.7 seconds left, Head Coach Frank Haith called up a play that worked to perfection. McClinton, who curled around a screen on the baseline, hit a wide open tray from the right corner to put the Hurricanes up for good, 64-60.
“The play was executed perfectly,” Haith said. “Jack came clean and was wide open. Those two threes late were big.”
Miami’s defensive effort in the second-half was a main reason why the Hurricanes were able to complete the comeback. The Hurricanes shut down the Cavaliers’ backcourt duo of Sean Singletary and J.R. Reynolds late in the game and drew multiple charges in the latter part of the contest.
“We played outstanding defense in the second half,” Haith said. “We changed defenses well from zone to man-to-man. We were able to limit [Virginia’s] shot attempts and that was a key.”
Singletary and Reynolds came into the contest both averaging 18.4 points per game and combined for 40 points in an 81-70 victory over Miami earlier this season. Singletary, who scored 17 points, was limited to just six second half points while Reynolds only hit two field goals, scoring most of his 13 points from the free throw line.
Singletary was hurting Miami in transition for most of the first half as well as powering his way into the paint for baskets. But, the Hurricanes’ transition defense after the break was much improved and Singletary did not have his stroke from the perimeter, finishing one of six from beyond the arc.
Virginia, who shot 50 percent in the first half, only shot 27.3 percent
from the floor after the break.
Miami outplayed Virginia, committing four fewer turnovers, winning the edge in rebounding by a total of 41-32 and taking thirteen more shots from the field.
Miami had more second-chance opportunities because of the strong effort from center Dwayne Collins. The Miami native had 11 points and 14 rebounds, including eight offensive rebounds.
Collins and forwards Jimmy Graham and Keaton Copeland played effectively after halftime.
Graham and Copeland stepped up defensively, taking important charges and pulling down rebounds, while Collins became more aggressive offensively and created his shot.
“We played a hard-fought game and I am proud of the team that they kept working and have handled that type of adversity,” Haith said.
Alex Kushel may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.